Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive after giving birth. Infertility affects about one in six couples in Canada. Yet, a 2012 study found that nine to twelve percent of couples experience secondary infertility. The experience of secondary infertility is complex and painful. Whether you conceived your first child on your own or with treatment, the pain and frustration that comes with secondary infertility can be an overwhelming and lonely road.
"But you already have a child…" The pain people feel when they're experiencing secondary infertility can be misunderstood or dismissed by those around them. Having an idea of what your family will look like and then navigating the disappointment and pain that comes from being unable to conceive again is very complex. It’s quite difficult to deal with people’s assumption that you'll have more children. The questions that come after, "is she you're only one?" or "when is the next one on the way" can knock the wind out of you. You can also end up feeling left out and disconnected when your group of friends is going on to have more children. Your best friend's birth announcements feel heavy, and the pain of hearing your child asking why all her friends get to be big sisters and she doesn't create so many moments of grief.
A challenging reality is that you can have two distinct feelings at the same time. You can be thankful for your beautiful family and at the same time devastated that you cannot grow your family as you had hoped and dreamed. You can invest in your growth, supports and family and decide what's best for you. You can also find support and understanding from a whole community of others who are facing or have faced secondary infertility.
Often secondary infertility also comes with other fertility complications such as miscarriage, failed fertility treatments and struggles in your relationship. All of these situations create a lot of difficult feelings and everyone handles them in different ways.
Although it can sometimes feel like you may not belong in the (in)fertility community because you have achieved having a child, your pain and experiences are valid, and you belong here. Your story is your own. Many others have walked this path and are currently on this path with you. And we are all in this together.
Moonstone is here to help you thrive through the hardship of the (In)fertility journey to feel like yourself again. Join us to gain education, find empowerment, community and hope & healing while you journey through (in)fertility.