When my husband and I were trying for a baby…way back in 2007…it took us two long years to conceive our daughter. Two long years marked by two miscarriages and a lot of heartache.
When we got pregnant with DD – and it became apparent that yes, this baby is healthy and will be born – it created a huge shift in my level of happiness.
Looking back, I know that in those two years of trying for a baby I was deeply depressed. It’s hard to find happiness when you want something so badly, and yet it remains out of reach.
It is for those reasons that when DD was conceived, I didn’t shout to the rooftops I was pregnant…miscarriages teach you that at any time, happiness can be wrenched from you.
I also didn’t like talking about our struggle. The pain of our loss and the monthly disappointment felt too private to share, even at times with close friends and family.
But…life goes on. And lucky for us, we are proud parents of a smart, loving little girl.
After DD was born – heck, even while I was pregnant with her – people would ask if we planned to have another child. I would always respond carefully. Usually with a, “We’ll see. We’d like too, but right now we’re just so happy to have this child.”
It was a hard road getting to DD’s birth, and I had a feeling the fourth time around would be just as hard as the first three.
I wasn’t wrong.
We’ve been trying to conceive another child for well over a year now. Several fertility tests later, we’ve been diagnosed with ‘secondary infertility‘ – a catchy phrase that means you are unable to conceive or carry a baby to term, after giving birth to at least one child.
I had the opportunity to share our struggle with secondary infertility in the January issue of Today’s Parent. Why did I share our struggle so publicly?
This time, I don’t feel I have to keep the struggle private. While extremely disappointing, this news doesn’t leave me feeling destroyed. When I think about it, the difference is that I already have a child. I feel so blessed to be a parent.
Perhaps if we were still childless my perspective would be different. Then again, maybe not. People grow. Experiences change them. Maybe I would have eventually become more vocal about our struggles with infertility. I can’t know for sure. I can’t live in hypotheticals.
The truth is, it is highly unlikely DH and I will conceive another child without fertility treatment. And even then, our chances are pretty low. All I know is I am not ashamed by this struggle. Nor am I too filled with sorrow to discuss it.
We’re doing okay, the three of us. If another little Gallant comes along – wonderful. If not…well…we’ll be okay.
More than okay.
30 Responses to “Infertility is a bitch”
I didn’t know about this Mel. I am so happy you had your little bean and she is soooo adorable!
Thanks Chantal. She is pretty darn cute, even during her worst tantrums. 😉
Firstly, I think it’s very brave of you to come forward and talk about this candidly. I think more people are going through this than we ever guess or know, and being open might help others feel not so alone in the struggle.
I haven’t gone through this personally, but have several close friends who have. It’s been a lesson to me-changing the unthinking “when are ya going to have another?” that used to slip easily from my lips.
I think your positive attitude is great, Mel, and your family is beautiful!
Also weird coincidence-my family are also featured in the January issue of Todays Parent! The family healthy eating profiles. 🙂
Tracey, so awesome that you were featured in that same issue. Now, why didn’t I notice that? LOL.
Thanks for your kind words. This road to parenthood has been tough but we are doing just fine. 🙂
I had no idea. It’s amazing how we change our perspectives on how to handle difficult times in our lives. You have a beautiful little family and I wish you all a life full of joy and happiness. xoxo
Thanks Krista. Your words mean a lot. We’ve been so fortunate – that’s how I’m taking this struggle. Fortunate to have the family we have now. 🙂
You have a beautiful family! 🙂
I think talking about things and sharing your story is brave and wonderful. People can get so much support from one another, and others need to realize just how hard a question “will you be having a baby/another” can be.
coffee with julie
Yes, we were constantly asked if we were going to have another baby. Even now, people often ask why there is such a large gap of years between the two children. These seemingly simple questions are sometimes difficult!
Thanks for your supportive words. It’s appreciated. In talking about it, I’ve learned it’s so much more common than I originally thought. It makes me know I’m not alone. 🙂
coffee with julie
We too went through an unexplained secondary infertility. I had no idea that such a thing even existed until the words came out of a doctor’s mouth. Conceiving our first was such a breeze, I assumed the second would be the same. Wrong! If I had read your article years ago, it would have provided me with some comfort that I was not alone — so I think it’s wonderful that other couples will have this opportunity now. (We were grateful and happy to welcome a second child to our family in 2008.)
Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so glad your much-wanted second child finally arrived. 🙂
It’s funny with the questions people ask. They don’t always realize they are being nosy. Or that the questions can be painful. I wish I had been more upfront the first time around about that. While it wouldn’t make the discussion any easier, at least acknowledging that the topic was hard to discuss would have helped versus brushing the questions off or responding blithely.
This time I have no issues telling them. 😉
I get this – I really do. My story is a bit different (aren’t they all?) and I don’t know yet if we’d have trouble conceiving a second, but I’ve had a condition that can cause infertility for many years. It’s a possibility I have been preparing myself for since I was pregnant with Brandon. In my heart I know I’ll be fine if we never have anymore. I feel blessed to have him, even if I do want him to have a sibling. The hurt isn’t non-existent, but it’s hard not to appreciate how much we already have. I’m so glad you’re talking about it – it’s not an easy subject regardless of the timing, but it will help others and that is worth it.
You are so right – every story is different and yet fundamentally the same. Thanks for sharing in this. 🙂
You are very brave to tell your story and thank you for sharing it. Great article. You have a beautiful family 🙂
Alicia – you are always so sweet and supportive. Thank you!
Ah Mel, your story is beautifully written, candid, and goes straight to the heart. Thanks for sharing with all of us – you probably helped more people than you know.
Thanks Stef. I thought a lot over the Christmas holidays about writing this post. I needed to say the words and share them. Thanks for your support!
Mel, thanks for sharing your story. I don’t think too many people talk about miscarriages, but it’s amazing how many of us have experienced it. Especially when it is your first pregnancy, that feeling of happiness being wrenched from you is something that you don’t forget. You hold your breath, and you try to move on.
I admire the courage it must have taken to share your story.
Hi Vicky, thanks. Those miscarriages shattered me and it was hard to get past the experience, but we did it. People don’t talk about miscarriages – so taboo it seems – and so I felt so isolated when really, if I had talked about it I would have learned I wasn’t alone. That said, it was really hard to do so at the time.
Hi Mel, thanks for speaking up, we need more voices in the infertility community when you consider that one in six couples are affected, it should be recognized as something common, not shameful, not to be hidden.
We’ve had a long struggle with primary infertility and even though we have our 4 year old V, I’m somehow still not at the place of peace you seem to have found. That is a beautiful thing.
Hi Neeroc, It’s so true what you say – that the issue of infertility is so much more pervasive than we may at first realize. Because we don’t talk about it, we don’t see how common a challenge it is. The same goes for miscarriages.
And people who don’t go through infertility don’t know what to say to people who are going through it. It makes for these awkward conversations when really they don’t have to be (or maybe they do).
I think part of that awkwardness comes from the person having just asked when you plan to have (more) kids – and then your answer (or evasiveness) comes as a surprise. But who’s discomfort are we trying to ease anyway?
I know we need to talk about infertility more, but I also know I hated talking about it in the 2 years leading up to DD’s birth. So who am I to say what others should do.
All I know is our culture thrives on asking the following questions in social settings: When are you and your spouse getting married? When are you having kids? When will you have another?
I’m at a place where I can be very frank in my response. 😉
You have a beautiful family, Mel. I’m glad you have been able to share your pain and your struggle. I, too, have had two miscarriages, it is a heart break. I remember I used to be afraid that the little life would just slide out of me, and be gone. Before my first child was born I really thought I would be barren. It is important, I think, to share our struggles. We must as people support each other!!
Thank you for sharing your story – I can’t even imagine how hard it must be. I hope only good comes from it….support and love and anything else you need xo
Thanks Sara. 🙂
Beautiful family! That is a hard road you’ve traveled. One of my nieces lost three babies and wondered if she’d ever see the day she’d hold her own; but now she has two little girls. I’m happy for you, and appreciate that you can share your story and help others. It’s a blessing to have someone walk alongside who knows the heartache..
Thanks – yes it really does help to hear and learn from others in the same situation. Speaking out…you learn you are not alone, and that’s a huge comfort.
I just came to read the post your read at BOLO. My husband and I struggle with infertility for about two years when we were lucky to become pregnant with twins on the second round of Clomid. Infertility is a beast. Sometimes I am still surprised by the feelings that come with it. And that is even after almost 4 years with my boys. Thanks for sharing your story!
Thanks for sharing your story here too. I find the more this issue is discussed the more it becomes apparent that so many suffer – sometimes silently – from infertility. I’m so happy to hear you have twin boys. Parenting is a gift.
Here via Jenna’s post spotlighting this on BlogHer. As someone who dealt with secondary infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss and neonatal death for five years, I appreciate how difficult such a diagnosis can be. I did not have primary infertility, but our first child, our now 8 year old son, did not come as easily as we would have imagined in the beginning. I never thought it would or could take us as long as it did to conceive and sustain future pregnancies after bringing home one healthy child. As you said, Secondary Infertility is so much more common than people realize, actually more common than primary. Of courses its not about the “pain olympics,” any kind of infertility sucks. But it does help to get through difficult and uncertain times in life with others who “get it.” Anyway, thank you for speaking out. That is why I keep blogging five years later after I began, in part to advocate and support those still in the trenches trying to build and expand their families.
Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your own struggle here too. I’ve found that talking about my own family’s struggle has resulted in others opening up to me as well. Realizing how common secondary infertility is doesn’t take the pain of it away but it does help to know you aren’t alone.