A few weeks ago I viewed a short but impactful video, a talk claiming that those experiencing secondary infertility don’t have a place at fertility events. So powerful was the effect of this talk that it silenced me. For three whole weeks.
So powerful was the effect of this talk that it silenced me. For three whole weeks.
Am I not worthy of growing my family? Am I selfish for trying to grow it because I have a daughter? Am I less important because I’m coping with secondary infertility? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself whilst simultaneously trying to find the courage to embark on a sixth pregnancy.
Throughout May I’ve ummed and ahhed about discontinuing my Instagram account and this blog because, initially, I created it so I could be part of the trying to conceive community. I wanted to share my experiences and safely open up about my thoughts and feelings, which I often harbour for fear of upsetting others. This talk I watched, this misinformed diatribe, confirmed those fears.
Why is this so important to me?
I wanted to write about this weeks ago but I simply couldn’t find the words. I didn’t know quite how to respond and emotions were running high. What’s brought me to write about it now is going back through my Instagram messages and emails.
Since its launch in February, this blog has encouraged women to reach out to me. And it feels good to be able to answer their questions. Yes, it feels positive to have opened up about my losses, my recurrent miscarriage tests and my treatment plan for a future pregnancy. But more than that, it feels powerful to be connecting with those experiencing the same thoughts and feelings and making similar decisions. Some are coping with baby loss, others are trying to conceive for the first time, many are exploring testing and treatment options, and some are going through IVF. While I would never be foolish enough to compare my fertility journey to that of a couple trying for their first child, does my fertility status mean I can’t be there for them? Does it mean they can’t be there for me?
I refuse to let a misguided talk reduce the pain I’ve felt while trying to grow my family. Hope and fear, love and pain, happiness and sadness. The ups and downs of this journey are what unites us. They help us to start conversations. They help us to give people a voice. They help us to build a community.
Hope and fear, love and pain, happiness and sadness. The ups and downs of this journey are what unites us.
So let’s not tear that community down because some of us happen to have had one or more successful pregnancies. Behind those pregnancies are couples that may have experienced extreme heartache to get there and may be in a position to support those on the journey to parenthood for the first time.
Does secondary infertility matter?
Do I think it matters? Should there be a label? In my view, yes and yes. It’s a term that I’ve come to embrace because at the end of 2016, after coping with recurrent loss, I felt like I had nowhere to turn. Then in discussing my losses online, I came across the words ‘secondary infertility’. And those words helped me find a space where I felt safe enough to open up and eventually connect with women and men experiencing all kinds of fertility struggles. This label was part of a journey that brought us to clinics, that helped us arrange tests and finally make plans for a future pregnancy.
As I approach Harris’s second birthday I’m feeling raw and emotional. I want to honour that emotion. I wish to honour his memory. At the same time, I feel more grateful for my daughter than I can explain. And yet I still want to grow my family. I still want to give Cora a baby brother or sister. It’s a mixed bag of emotions and there’s no shame in that. There’s no shame in secondary infertility.
So I’m waving goodbye to the guilt that I’ve already worked so hard to relieve myself of, and I’ll continue to be there for others, just as I hope they can be there for me.