What if #2 doesn’t happen as easily or quickly as #1 did?
You would think it would be easier to deal with the struggles of infertility if you already have a child. Like it would make you think “well at least I have one.” But often times it’s quite the opposite. The idea that your body was once responsive and working the way you wanted it to and now it’s left you struggling can actually be more frustrating than if it never functioned naturally in the first place. It leaves you wondering what changed in your body post-baby, what YOU did to make it change. It can take over the mental/emotional space in your mind and in your heart meant to be expended on parenting.
And don’t forget the judgement from others who can’t seem to understand why you can’t just be happy with the child that you have, that it could be worse, that you should be grateful because there are people who can’t and don’t have children. But you don’t have to accept this line of insensitive thinking, much less digest it. Despite how lucky you are to have a child and how much you love him/her, you shouldn’t have to feel ashamed about being discouraged, sad or even angry when it comes to secondary infertility. You shouldn’t feel guilty or greedy. Nobody is in your head or your heart with you where you daydream about growing your family and watching your children together. You’re the one that has to field questions from your child about when they will have a brother or sister – or as the daughter of one of my patients requested, “a girl brother.” So don’t let the constant outside criticism seep inside, whether it be from your own mother or a complete stranger.
Secondary infertility is a lot more common than you think. Statistics in the US show it to be almost as common as primary infertility but you probably don’t hear about it as much because once someone has a baby it’s assumed that they’re “fertile.” Age, complications in pregnancy, unpredictable issues that arise during labor and delivery and a new partner’s sperm conditions can all stand in the way.
As women we hate to talk about it but when it comes to fertility age is a huge factor. Egg quality can start to decline as early as 28 and on average around 35. Of course there are always exceptions – for example, women with premature menopause at 27 or women with great egg quality over 40. But if you’re trying for another child at an older age your egg quality may be to blame and for this there isn’t much to do. It becomes a lottery, so-to-speak, as to whether you will get an egg from the cohort of low quality eggs which is at a much higher percentage or one from the cohort of good quality eggs which is at a much lower percentage.
Complications in pregnancy/labor and delivery
Scarring, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and/or polyps, diabetes and thyroid disease are all complications that can rear their ugly heads after pregnancy. I will post on each of these topics individually over the next few weeks.
If you have secondary infertility with a new partner, it may be necessary to have his sperm tested, specifically if he has never fathered a child before. This is another topic that I will post on individually, as sperm deserves its own platform!