In my experience, the best word I can use to describe primary infertility is desperation. I felt like pregnant women were always in my face, and they all seemed so happy. Whereas I was oddly barren and ashamed. I desperately wanted to be a mom, and I felt angry and bitter when I saw other women getting pregnant so easily. Nothing short of a baby was going to make my world livable again. And now that we have our son, the best word I can use to describe secondary infertility is trepidation. The frenzied desperation of wanting a first baby is gone, but it has been replaced with nervous dread. We now know exactly what we will be missing if we can’t have a second baby, and the heartache of not being able to conceive still hangs heavy over our heads. The horrible truth is that infertility sucks – no matter if it is your first time or your second time around.
I didn’t really think about the difference between primary and secondary infertility until recently. I don’t normally take my son to my fertility appointments if I can help it, but a week ago he had to go with me. We walked into the office and there were already a couple of patients waiting. We quickly sat down, but it didn’t take long before my son started roaming around, checking out the room. I noticed that some of the other couples would steal glances at him from time to time, and I didn’t really think much about it until another woman walked in with her three kids in tow. And then I found myself stealing glances at her children. Why did she need treatment if she already had three beautiful daughters? Wasn’t three children enough? Did she really need one more? And it wasn’t until I got home that I realized just how trivial my thoughts were. Does it really matter how many children she had? Just because I believe that two children is the perfect number for my family, does not mean that two is the perfect number for everyone’s family. Plus, the heartache of wanting more children doesn’t go away just because you already have a child. I should know. And who’s to say those other couples in the room weren’t thinking the same thing when they looked at my son? Isn’t one child enough? Everyone in that office was suffering on some level due to infertility. The agonizing reality is that infertility is adaptable. It doesn’t matter whether it is your first child, second, or maybe your fourth – we’re all hurting.