“At least you’ve already got one” – The struggles with Secondary Infertility

Secondary infertility is very frustrating. Maybe having your first baby was easy or maybe it was hard. But now you are in a situation where you can’t get pregnant again.

You feel so blessed that you already have one child but that doesn’t take away from the pain of not being able to conceive again.

“At least you’ve already got one” is the phrase you’ll hear most often if you confide in anyone about the problems you’re having.

But that goes no way to making you feel any better about the whole bloody thing.

You want your son/daughter to have a sibling. You have in mind this perfect age gap where they’ll be best friends for life.

The difference now is that:

  • your body has been through a pregnancy and birth. That is an enormous strain on the body. you grew an entire person and gave birth to them. If you weren’t able to give your body the adequate support it needed after birth then it’s going to be depleted.

 

  • You may have had a difficult pregnancy or birth. Maybe you or your baby had health issues, maybe your struggled mentally with the thought of having a baby. Maybe the birth was traumatic. Whatever happened, these things can stick with you and make the prospect of having another baby a hell of a lot less appealing (even if it’s only subconsciously.)

 

  • You’ve been raising a child. You’ve raised a newborn (with all those sleepless nights), maybe battled a toddler (with the challenges of finding those boundaries with still sleepless nights) and maybe beyond depending on how long ago you had you’re last one. This depletes your body even further if you aren’t able to look after yourself in the best possible way.

 

  • You might even be back at work or at least thinking about it. Juggling childcare and work on top of the full time job of being a mother is enough to give me a nervous breakdown!

 

How do you juggle it all?
Mother/Housekeeper/Carer/Employee/Wife/Daughter/Sister/Friend……….

So when you try and add “getting pregnant” into the mix it’s no surprise that it might be taking longer than you’d hoped.

 

Get help

However capable you think you are (and I know you are bloody brilliant!) you cannot and should not do it all.

The point of being strong and capable women isn’t that we do everything, it’s that we get to choose what we do – and delegate the rest!

Start strengthening your delegating skills.

Here are some practical ideas of things you can start doing. Pick one to start with and add more when you are ready.

  • Get a cleaner. You do not have to do the cleaning on top of everything else. Yes, even if you are at home some or all of the time.

 

  • Share the responsibilities of the home. Make sure that your partner is contributing equally to the running of the household. How this looks for you is a very personal preference. I don’t care that his mother did all the housework and had a meal on the table every evening. That doesnt mean you have to.

Start by looking at how much free time you both have. When you aren’t working, looking after children, doing chores, sleeping etc Make that equal by splitting the chores, childcare and see how you get on.

  • Ask friends and family to help out with childcare. I’m sure they’d be delighted to take your little one out for the afternoon whilst you spend some time doing things that are important to you.

 

Mother yourself

No matter when you had your last child, it is depleting both mentally and physically on the body.

Answer this question honestly: How do you feel about having a new born baby? It’s ok to be completely terrified and have no idea how another baby is going to fit into your life. It’s totally normal but realising that actually this idea scares you a little bit is very helpful.

 

Practical tips on how to start mothering yourself:

  • Look after your body – Take some good quality multi vitamins. Drink 8 glasses of water. Eat regular meals. You might be forgetting to do these simple things but they will make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.

 

  • Look after your mind. Take at least 5 minutes every day for some deep breathing or meditation. At least take 5 minutes away from everything, just for yourself to ground back into your day.

 

  • Get a good nights sleep. Sleep is notoriously hard to get when you already have a little one so make sure you are prioritising it daily. If you little one wakes early, get to bed early. If you still have a night waker, take shifts as to who gets up in the night.

 

  • Time for you – Having some time where you can just be you is really important. Take time alone, spend time with friends, get out of the house and remember what it’s like to just be you.

 

  • Counselling – If you suffered from a traumatic pregnancy or birth, consider getting some professional help to heal any emotional trauma that may still be present. The UK charity Birth Trauma Association have some excellent resources about seeking help for birth and pregnancy trauma.

Written By Nicola

Nicola is a fat-positive fertility coach and author of “Fat and Fertile”. She helps fat folks navigate getting pregnant in a weight-obsessed world and advocates for change in how fat people are treated whilst accessing help with their fertility. Nicola uses her unique fat positive framework to support people in finding their own version of health without diets, advocate for their bodies, relearn how to trust their body and believe in their ability to get pregnant.

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