It can be heart breaking for a couple to be diagnosed with secondary infertility. Knowing what it is doesn’t erase the feelings or explain away the pain. Here are some things that many couples experience.
Caught between the world of larger families and childless couples, joy over the child they have and heartbreak over the ones they don’t, the experience of couples who cannot overcome secondary infertility is uniquely painful. They worry about their existing child who will never know what it’s like to grow up with siblings. This inability to produce siblings for the existing son or daughter frequently leads to guilt.
Suffering one or more miscarriages is also a common scenario when dealing with secondary infertility. Naturally, couples also have to contend with feelings of grief and loss.
On another level, the grieving couple may isolate themselves from friends who have more than one child due to feelings of jealousy and pain. It is completely normal for women to feel resentment towards others who were able to conceive more than once.
Since secondary infertility is often unrecognized as a problem, couples may feel tentative about seeking support and communicating their feelings, afraid they may be perceived as ungrateful for the child they have already.
Finding support is helpful! It is not unusual for a second pregnancy to become a matter of obsession.
Differences on how to cope and whether to accept the situation as such may affect a couple’s relationship. When this hits crisis level, professional help from a marriage counselor or a psychotherapist can help.
Being with other parents going through the same pain and loss will also help couples cope with their own feelings of sorrow,
Once both parents have accepted that they are facing secondary infertility, they will need to make more decisions as a couple – primarily about whether to treat the problem at all and, if so, when to end it.
It will be necessary to talk to one’s child, and to do so in a manner that is age-appropriate. No doubt he or she has felt the fall-out of this emotional journey and may have thoughts or feelings to express.
Though there may be discontentment, with counseling and communication, couples learn in time to accept and focus on their nuclear family of three and channel their energies to raising their only child well.
Photo from healthcrown.com