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Secondary infertility: What you should know

After conceiving a first child with relative ease, it can be frustrating and upsetting to run into difficulties when trying to have a second one. This challenge is referred to as secondary infertility and can be every bit as painful and hard to work through as not being able to have a first child.

woman with negative pregnancy test

Babycentre reveals that one in seven couples experiences secondary infertility — it’s actually more common than not being able to conceive in the first place.

Tonya at Letters for Lucas experienced a better-than-textbook pregnancy and conceived her son naturally in June of 2009. But when she and her husband decided to turn their family of three into a family of four, the challenges began. Since then she has miscarried several times while attempting natural methods and undergoing IVF treatments and IUI treatments. She shares her thoughts on making it through this painful time.

Accept your feelings

Secondary infertility is a confusing and frustrating situation to deal with. Knowing you’ve delivered a healthy child but can’t do it again is incredibly upsetting. Tonya asserts that she has experienced a roller coaster of emotions since trying to have a second child. She admits to feeling frustrated, angry, disappointed, hopeless, hopeful, anxious, sad, excited and any number of other emotions. And on top of that, because of medications and treatments, her hormones are increasingly unpredictable. She shares that it’s important not to judge your feelings too much, because there’s nothing you can do about them. All you can do is accept them and try to work through them as best as you can.

wedding ringsWork with your husband

Obviously it takes two people to make a baby. But it’s easy to feel alone when a lot of the process is happening to your body. Tonya emphasizes how crucial it is to keep the lines of communication open with your spouse. Be sure to talk things through and maintain a united front.

Take breaks

Dealing with secondary infertility can be exhausting for your body and your mind, and it often takes a toll on your bank account as well. Tonya advises that you take breaks between cycles to give you and your husband time to grieve and heal. This will help ensure you can tackle the next round with just as much hope and vigour rather than proceeding while feeling drained and hurt.

Educate yourself

Tonya highly recommends educating yourself so you can be your best advocate. Read and research as much as you can. With each new test, Tonya advises that you make sure you understand what the numbers mean, how they relate to you specifically and what you can do differently. Education is the best way to empower yourself so you’ll know you’re doing all you can.

Get help

Finding support systems you can rely on is vital to your well-being. Tonya, for example, finds comfort in writing about secondary infertility on her personal blog and talking to a few close friends. She also has a marriage and family therapist who specializes in infertility to talk to. She also attends a monthly support group, which she finds helpful. Check out the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada (IAAC) to find a group near you. If you never talk about what you’re going through, it’s easy to feel alone, but there are many other women dealing with similar issues, and hearing what they’ve been through and sharing what you’re experiencing may be the help you need.

Love what you have

The biggest piece of advice Tonya offers is to celebrate all the good things in your life. Struggling to have a second child is upsetting, so be sure to take some time each day to give thanks for the child you do have and the husband who’s going through the experience baby toyswith you. You may want more, but Tonya advises to never forget to be grateful for what you do have. To learn more about Tonya’s journey, follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

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