I like words. I like words in a vast and sweeping what does it means to be human kind of way. My major in college was English Literature but it was a hard choice between that and Linguistics. I’ve always had very economically advantageous academic interests. Anyway. I think a lot about words and what they mean. For example, the word secondary.
Secondary can mean coming after. And it can also mean less important than. So when a person tells you they are living through secondary infertility they mean infertility that comes after previously having a child. But, for me, sometimes the latter definition fit a lot better. Lot’s of times it felt like I was struggling with less important infertility.
Straight off the bat let me say that no one going through primary infertility has EVER said or done anything to make me feel like what I went through was less significant. Never, ever. But I agonized over how selfish I was to so desperately want another child when some women are out there begging God for just one.
There is a layer of shame and guilt that I think might be unique to secondary infertility. Because while you just took a punch to the chest because someone announced another pregnancy on Facebook, right beside you, chattering away, is the precious child God already saw fit to give you. There are women out there who would do absolutely anything to be you. There are women out there putting their bodies through hell to have what you have. How dare you?
You dare because you are a human being with a breakable heart. You dare because you had a dream for your life and your family and it’s excruciating to feel it dying. You dare because your body is betraying you and you’re red-raging and furious. Because your child was the ONLY one in her preschool class, both years, who didn’t have a sibling. You dare because she asks you when God is going to send us a baby and you don’t have any answers. Because your period started but you can’t break down because your baby is watching and she deserves a happy mom. You dare because secondary infertility is infertility.
You’re a person and it’s okay to feel broken. Because, yes, your child is an indescribable gift. But then you know that better than anyone after this experience. Recognizing the magnitude of the gift you’ve been given and feeling the searing pain of infertility are not mutually exclusive. You are not selfish and your pain matters. All pain matters.
It doesn’t feel secondary. Because it’s not secondary.