To conclude our series on Infertility for National Infertility Awareness Week, we are talking about Secondary Infertility. Did you miss the other posts in the series? You can find them here and here. If you have been able to conceive one child without the use of fertility treatments than it should be possible to again, right? Just the fact that you have had one biological proves that you are fertile.
The heartbreaking reality is, this is not always the case. Resolve defines Secondary Infertility as “the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. The birth of the first child does not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.” Just like with Infertility, you struggle in silence. Everyone just assumes that since you got pregnant once, it can happen again. All of a sudden you are being a selfish parent by not giving you child a brother or sister. But what they fail to see is the broken heart beating inside you because you can't give your child a brother or sister. They can't see the inner struggle and the same emotional rollercoaster ride that couples dealing with Infertility are riding on. Because while those couples struggling with Secondary Infertility do have one child, the pain of not being able to conceive again is real. Helane S. Rosenberg and Yakov M. Epstein, authors of Getting Pregnant When You Thought You Couldn't, put it this way: “You have lost your membership in the primary infertility group by attaining the dream (they) still long for. … Yet you feel you do not really belong to the world of the fertile.” They call secondary infertility the “loneliest kind,” a depressingly apt description.
What causes Secondary Infertility? As with Infertility, there is no one direct cause. It could be poor nutrition, stress, weight gain. Egg and sperm quality may have gone down since you last conceived. There could be ovulation problems. Especially if your periods have always been irregular. Other possible causes are endometriosis, pelvic adhesions, uterine fibroids or polyps, dysfunctional thyroid. This is when you need to consult with your OB-Gyn and don't let them brush you off by telling you to just keep trying.
As you can see, although rarely talked about, the pain of infertility and secondary infertility are real. But you're not alone. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you as you wait on Him. Take His hand, trust Him. He will direct your path.