It happened again the other day: the group of women I was sitting with started talking about the best age gap between children and asking each other when they were going to try for number two.
They were sitting around a table. I was sitting at the counter, a little to the side. As they continued to converse eagerly, I continued to sit quietly, awkwardly. I just didn’t have the energy to join the conversation, to tell my story again.
p.c. Blooming Images
My husband and I had been trying to conceive another baby for two and a half years. Our son, not quite two when we started trying to give him a sibling, is well over four now, old enough to take notice. He adores babies, and we think he would make a wonderful big brother. Lately he has been saying lately how much he wants a little brother or sister. Sometimes he mentions that he hopes there can be a baby in mommy’s tummy.
The emotions I have felt as our journey into secondary infertility have stretched on are many and varied. Secondary infertility brings its own set of sadness and pain. And I didn’t realize how many people are going through it.
As moms, we were made to nurture, and as our kids get older and more independent, the longing for a baby can resurface and grow stronger – it is often known as “baby fever.” And when that longing is not fulfilled, it can leave some deep-seated pain; pain that is triggered by many things. Watching other couples get pregnant so easily. Or seeing siblings play together while your child plays alone. Or the questions a child can ask when they get old enough.
I am in a better place now, but at the time this conversation took place, I was in the middle of processing through a lot of these emotions. So when this conversation came up, it triggered sadness for me.
I am in no way faulting these ladies for having this conversation. It is a perfectly normal and natural conversation to have. But I am asking you to try to be aware of your friends who may be experiencing secondary infertility. Pursue them. Be kind to them.
Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we planned, and things don’t work out the way it seems they are supposed to. For those who are dealt a different hand of cards, it can be a lonely road. It can often be easy to overlook them because they are quiet or withdrawn. Be gentle with their hearts. Let them know that you see them and you care. It makes all the difference in the world.
Originally published April 2019