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Secondary Infertility: The Invisible Disease
a blog by Deborah Moore, March 4, 2010
I'm lucky. I have a gorgeous, perfect daughter who will turn 4 later this year. She is a shining light in my life, bringing my husband and me more joy than I knew possible. And yet, during this time of TTC for a second child, I find myself melancholy, unfulfilled and despairing.
I know that many of you are struggling to conceive your first child and my state doesn't make you feel sympathetic. I wholeheartedly acknowledge that we are luckier than many. However, the topic of secondary infertility rarely gets discussed and its emotional impact can be strong.
According to RESOLVE, secondary infertility affects more than three million American women. And it has a higher prevalence rate than primary infertility.
My experience sees me grappling with aging, fertility treatments, agonizing over how much exercise I should or shouldn’t do, or wondering if I should try acupuncture or those questionable fertility diets. Everything I worry about now didn’t even register during my first efforts to conceive. Maybe it’s because I was only 34 then, or that I never imagined I would have trouble conceiving, but now that I am having trouble, I obsess over all the same things those trying for their first do.
The hardest part for me is when acquaintances from my “mum” network (those who don’t know we are infertile) continue to ask me when we are going to have a second. Or when well-meaning acquaintances state that it’s “time” to have another. If only it were so easy!
In our society, only children are seen as a bit of an oddity. People cannot accept that families will sometimes have only one child, through choice or circumstance. I suppose this is human nature and the curiosity (some say nosiness) that comes with it.
Secondary infertility is just as real as the infertility experienced with trying to conceive the first time around. I wish it would be less invisible.