“At least you have one child, that’s more than some people get.”
Believe it or not, that sentence actually comes from a good place. Deep down I know that. I think far too many people are in a rush to be offended by far too many things these days. Personally, I do not live under the assumption that all people are malicious and out to purposely hurt others.
However well meaning though, words can and do hurt.
I’m going to be candid here for a moment. I never wanted children. At least I never thought that I did. You’ve heard of that expression, “My biological clock is ticking”? Yup, that’s a real thing! It was in my case anyway. I had a crap childhood, so from the tender age of 14 I had determined never to have kids of my own. Of course the second you get married the, “When are you going to have a baby?” questions start rolling in. My answer was always the same, “NEVER!” I truly had zero desire to be a mother. And to this day I still believe that’s okay, not everyone needs to have children to feel or actually be complete.
My feelings changed over time though, and that’s okay too.
The turning point for me happened when I reached 29. I literally woke up one morning and I NEEDED a baby. I didn’t just want a baby, I needed a baby. The urge was powerful and overwhelming. My poor hubby must have been inwardly screaming, “Bait and switch!!” We had both agreed not to have children when we got married, but now, here we were, nine years into it and I was loading the dishwasher and sobbing in the kitchen practically begging for one. After several long discussions he finally looked at me and said, “I’ll give it one shot.” There it was, a glimmer of hope, a one time deal…and BAM! Pregnant on the first try. We couldn’t believe it. All I could think was that I must be a fertile myrtle just like my mother. She had 8 pregnancies and 6 children. She used to joke that she could get pregnant just looking at my dad. “It must be hereditary,” I thought.
I fell in love with motherhood right off the bat. I know we’re all biased, but my daughter was absolutely perfect! She barely ever cried. She was happy and playful. She slept 8 hours a night starting at 2 months, was crib trained by 4 months and was an all around dream baby. By the time she was a year old I already knew I wanted another. To my surprise my husband had no objections. This sweet little girl had him wound around her finger and he said, “What’s one more?” Hallelujah!! No tearful pleas this time, just immediate consent. I took and rolled with it. From that day on we didn’t take any measures to prevent another pregnancy.
That was almost six years ago…
Secondary infertility hasn’t been all bad though. It has taught me many lessons.
- COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Not that we weren’t thankful before, but this experience has made us even more aware of the gifts that we do have in our lives.
- YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT PEOPLE ARE DEALING WITH
You’ve probably heard the famous quote by Plato, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. Though I have spoken about our situation publicly before, no one really knows the depth of grief that we have undergone privately. Smiles and jokes about how, “My uterus hates me,” or that “My eggs are scrambled,” just serve to hide the genuine pain.
- NEVER GIVE UP HOPE
No matter how much time has gone by, how old I get and how many disappointments we live through, we still have hope that someday… I don’t want to be unrealistic, but I think that hope and patience are positive and powerful things.
- FINDING PEACE
Even though we still have hope in the future, we are learning to be content in the now. When you choose to focus on the joy in your life, the dismay becomes less opaque.
So this is us. The proud parents to a sweet, almost seven year old girl. Ugh, where did the time go? We cuddle and love on her everyday and appreciate all of the one-on-one time with her that our circumstances have gifted us. Despite the sad moments, we are a happy family of three.
So do me a favor- I know you mean well, but don’t ask us when we’re planning on giving her a sibling. Don’t ask us if we think she’s lonely without a brother or sister. And more than anything, don’t tell us to be thankful for her. She is our world, we adore her. Of course we are grateful. We know that there are people out there who can’t have any children and our hearts absolutely break for them as well.
Our message is simply this: secondary infertility is still infertility. The lack of choice mixed with our heart’s desire for more is still painful, no matter how many children you already have. Please don’t rob us of our joy in the now or kill our hope of someday…
Have you struggled with infertility? We would love to hear your story!
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