What is Secondary Infertility?
Becoming pregnant after having your first baby is not always easy. And it's becoming much more common these days unfortunately.
Secondary infertility is a term used for a woman or couple who have one or more children together but are now having difficulty conceiving.
This diagnosis can be confusing and mind-boggling. You had no trouble getting pregnant last time. So, why isn’t it happening now?
Who would think that if you had no trouble delivering a healthy baby that you might struggle second or third time around!
If you feel your family isn’t complete yet, secondary infertility can be just as emotionally challenging as any other fertility issue. You may feel guilty that you can't provide a brother or sister for your child, or a sense of loss that your family isn’t quite what you had planned.
It can also be quite isolating when all your friends – including your mother’s group and playground network – are busy with baby number two, three or four.
You may or may not be surprised to know around 50% of the clients I see are suffering from secondary infertility. What was once a disease non one had heard about is now becoming increasingly more common as global rates of secondary infertility rise.
Secondary infertility can cause significant distress, frustration, anger tension and guilt related to a couple not being able to provide their existing child with a sibling.
At least you have one child, right?
This is the exact sentence that causes the stress and anxiety, grief, and trauma to be amplified.
Your feelings are dismissed completely often by our closest loved ones and even the medical professionals. Everyone assumes that because you already have kids your feelings aren't valid and "you should just be grateful".
Couples have set ideas and expectation as to what their completed family will ideally be like. Secondary infertility can cause significant distress, frustration, anger tension and guilt related to a couple not being able to provide their existing child with a sibling. Friends and family can assume the couple are actively choosing not to conceive again. Couples with secondary infertility often face frequent well-meaning but painful probes and questions about when “baby number two” is to be expected. Pressure from family and friends can be upsetting and unhelpful. Seeing other couples around you expanding their family while you are struggling can be particularly hard.
It is very difficult as well for the parents to be both present for their children and dealing with the emotional roller-coaster that is secondary infertility at the same time.
It is for this reason secondary infertility can also be much more complicated to navigate.
3 Strategies to help you cope with secondary infertility....
Take time out for yourself
Easier said than done right especially with kids already, a job and household to take care of.
But this is so important for your mental and physical health at this point on time. Find 30 mins a day, even if it means setting your alarm a little earlier to wake before the kids, staying up a little later or using kids nap time instead of doing the chores. Everyone no matter how busy can find 30 mins a day. Use this time to do something for yourself. Read a book, exercise, go for a swim, take a walk, watch the sunrise, have a bath, or meditate. Whatever it is it needs to be something that you love to do, something that truly sets your soul alight and makes your heart full.
It might seem like a stretch but allocating 30 mins a day to you is so important and will help release your stress levels during this challenging time.
Acknowledge your feelings
The old saying you must feel to heal is true. It's so important to acknowledge how you're feeling. It's OK to feel how you do. It's very normal. emotion. So, acknowledge how you feel then process the emotion and let it go. While it can be difficult to find the balance between acknowledging the emotion and not getting stuck in it, it is so important that you do this. This is the key to truly moving forward on your fertility journey, while not letting it consume you.
So many of us get stuck in the feeling of we must just keep going, stay strong no matter what. This however is counterproductive and is hindering our ability to feel empowered and in control of the journey. We must feel it to heal it…
Find your support people
This is key! Infertility can leave you feeling isolated, alone, overwhelmed and consumed with grief and anxiety. You feel as if you are the only person in the world who is going through this. As most woman who are struggling with infertility will understand you generally retreat from social settings and life in general. Having that person or people who understand and can walk the journey with you is critical to being able to navigate secondary infertility.
About the Author | Louise Siwicki
Louise Siwicki is an International Fertility Hypnosis and Coaching Expert. A specialist in the fields of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Time Line Therapy® and Hypnotherapy. She is a (DR) Doctor of Advanced Studies D.A.S in Phycology (Honorary Degree) and has a Bachelor of Business Degree.
She offers specialised tailored support programs in a safe environment for woman suffering infertility issues, secondary infertility and pregnancy after infertility.
She is the Founder of “Louise Siwicki Coaching,” a Public Speaker, Author and a Senior Executive Contributor for Brainz Magazine. She was awarded a prestigious position on the Brainz 500 Global list for 2021 and is one of Passion Vista’s “Woman Industry Leaders to Look Up To in 2022”.
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