“Mommy, I want a new baby too.” These words were spoken by my youngest child after I told her that her cousin would be getting a new baby brother or sister this summer. This wasn’t the first time she or her two siblings had asked about a new baby.
Of course, none of them could possibly know the pain and sadness that their questions were causing for me.
Our party of 5 just felt incomplete
Despite the fact that I was beyond fortunate to have three heathy, beautiful children, our family just didn’t feel complete. My husband and I felt like our home and our hearts had room for one more.
Yet, for whatever reason, it just wasn’t happening. We had a relatively easy time getting pregnant for our other three children, so we were at a loss as to why this was happening now. We were stuck in this gray area of complete uncertainty about what our future would look like.
So many feelings
Along with many questions came the grief, what ifs, and shame. Grief that my body wasn’t cooperating. Grief for my future family plans that might not come true. What if I had starting trying sooner, maybe this wouldn’t be happening. Shame about feeling upset when I already have three wonderful children.
What is Secondary Infertility?
Secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth. Just because someone already has children at home, their struggle to conceive shouldn’t be viewed as easier or not as bad. It doesn’t take away the longing for a child that might never arrive.
People may wonder why you are so sad when you already have children, or that you should be grateful that you were able to have even one. Sadly, the struggle is ignored or downplayed for those of us dealing with secondary infertility. It caused me to question if I was really just being selfish.
Maybe I am being selfish?
Truth be told, my husband and I have kept our struggle a secret. I worry that I am being selfish for wanting another child. Is it silly that I’m grieving the fact that it hasn’t happened yet? I sometimes feel that it is socially acceptable to feel this way if you can’t have children, or even if you can’t have a second child, but not if you already have multiple children.
My pain is real
At the end of the day, I give myself the space to grieve the absence of a child I felt was meant to complete our family. No two journeys are the same, and everyone’s pain and heartache is valid.
For the family and friends that have been let in on our struggle, I appreciate you letting me be upset and recognizing that my pain and sadness are real. Thank you for not blowing my feelings off with the reminder that I already have three children. Thank you for helping me accept that the life I imagined may, unfairly, not happen.
If you are friends with someone going through this, let them know that you’re there for them and that their feelings are valid, regardless of how many children they already have.