Opening up about my Journey with Secondary Infertility

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I’m a wife, stepmom x3 and mom x 1 who when I couldn’t find the stepmom support I was looking for, decided to create it myself. I love mac + cheese, distressed denim, sauvignon blanc and all things Dateline. 

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Hi, I'm JAMIE


via Dana Ruby Martin Photography

via Dana Ruby Martin Photography

I’ve briefly mentioned that we have been trying for baby number two (or five however you want to look at it) for some time now. Over two years to be exact. 

I’ve also mentioned that we’ve decided to not talk about our journey with secondary infertility as openly as I talk about everything else. Mostly because it’s private and painful. 

But lately we’ve changed our tune. 

We’ve realized just how important it is to talk about this. It’s important to get the conversation going – because if people don’t start openly talking about it, women will continue to feel the way that I’ve been feeling…

and well, it’s a really sh*tty way to feel! 

_____

This month, just like every other month over the last two years, I was sure I was pregnant.

I had done everything that all the specialists told me to do. I cut back on my coffee consumption, was barely having any wine (even though many nights I just wanted to grab a bottle and hide in a closet), taking my prenatal vitamins, fertility drug, eating a crap load of greens and having sex on a regular basis – – which  by the way, after two years of actively trying to conceive, the whole sex thing isn’t always as sexy and romantic as it used to be. Sometimes it actually feels another task on the good old “to do” list. 

My boobs hurt, I was sure that I had felt implantation cramps  (which by the way, do people REALLY feel that?) and I just FELT pregnant… 

However, yet again I was reminded that feeling pregnant and feeling like you’re about to get your period are pretty much the same thing.

I”m sure you’re catching on, once again, it was the latter of the two. 

It’s like a punch in the stomach and a feeling I can’t describe

This month hurt just as much as all the other months, but it was different too.

“I was sure you were” my husband said to me

“my whole body feels sad” I said back as I buried myself in his chest for my monthly breakdown. 

______

A girlfriend said to me “you’re handling this so well, I would be going crazy”

“What am I supposed to do?” I replied “Lay in my bed and cry all day?”
There’s nothing I can do but keep doing what I’m doing – I just have to be thankful for what I have.

Secondary infertility is straight up a mind f*uck . I’m sorry for swearing – I try not to on my blog but it’s the only way I can truly describe it.

It makes no logical sense. I got pregnant before, why can’t I do it again?

But the thing is, according to stat from Today’s Parent magazine, 1 in 6 women couples struggle with secondary infertility. I also heard that 25% of all cases of infertility are secondary. 

In fact, when I went for my last procedure, over half of the women in the waiting room had already conceived a child. 

People tell you “well at least you have one” (or four if they are evolved enough to consider my stepchildren my children as well)

And they’re right… I’m so damn lucky to have those four kids but I just don’t feel done yet.

So while I live with gratitude for the very full life that we have, I also live urning for more. I still very much feel like our family is incomplete and want to bad for Reese to be a big sister. 

When I see her at the hockey arena playing with the babies and younger kids, my heart literally hurts. What if I can’t give her that? 

This months cry was longer than usual. 
I didn’t bounce back and throw on my ‘”let’s stay positive, I’m okay” pants as quickly as I usually do.

I decided to stop trying to be so tough and really allow myself to feel the feelings I’ve been masking this whole time. 

I was overwhelmed with so many emotions:

JEALOUS of all the women who seem to be able to “plan their family” and get pregnant when they decide to get pregnant

GUILTY for feeling jealous (it’s a weird thing to feel happy for someone and jealous of them at the same time)

FRUSTRATED – because I was sure it would have happened by now

HURT – I’ve learned that sadness has a way of becoming a physical thing

CONFUSED  about why it happened so quickly with our first, and wondering what’s different now

SHAME + EMBARRASSMENT because even though my head says there isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, sometimes you still feel like there’s something wrong with YOU

EXHAUSTED because man, month after month it is a little tiring

but I also felt really INSPIRED. Inspired to start talking about something that people aren’t talking about as much as they should be. 

There’s this assumption that women can just “decide” when they want to get pregnant, and for SO many it’s not the case. 

Whenever I briefly mentioned secondary infertility on my blog, my inbox gets flooded with messages from women who are going through the same thing, thanking me for talking about what it’s really like.

In the age of Pinterest perfect pregnancy announcements snd social media highlight reels, we’re surrounded by all the peaks of everyone’s day. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with talking about the peaks. They peaks are great. I love the peaks. I freaking live for the peaks. 

They’re just not the whole story. Amongst all the peaks, in life there’s a lot of struggle, a lot of heartache and a of things that just can’t be explained. They’re things that people are going through everyday, feeling lonely, isolated and like they’re the only one dealing with them. 

So I’m going to open up about this a bit more – I’m not sure exactly how much, but I feel like it’s an important thing to do. 

While I may get a few eye rolls or “why would she put that on her blog”, I know for a fact that there are going to be so many women who read this and take comfort in the fact that they’re not the only ones feeling the way that they do! 

Because like most things in life that are out of our control, secondary infertility straight up just sucks – and it’s nice knowing that someone else gets that. 


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Comments +

  1. mksargalski@gmail.com says:

    Hi Jamie,
    Recently I had two ectopic pregnancies within the span of six months. It was heart breaking to say the least. I have one step son who is six and this would be be the first "ours" baby for my husband and I. My second ectopic resulted in emergency surgery to take my right tube out. Exactly two months to the day of my surgery my husband and I went to an ultrasound for my third pregnancy and saw our baby in the correct place with a heartbeat. I know those announcements are tough and I cried more then I care to admit that I might not be able to give my husband a baby when some other women already did. I am a little over eight weeks pregnant as a sit here and write this so I know miracles can happen. Thank you for sharing your story and letting women know it’s ok to feel sad, embarrassed, or ashamed when your body doesn’t do what you want it to do.

  2. auntchas@gmail.com says:

    I can empathize with how you feel. It’s a hard journey and often one that doesn’t get talked about. I mean who goes around telling everyone they are trying to get pregnant, haven’t been successful and it’s hard. You just grin and bear it as you do with most things in life. I’ve found a great support system through the infertility community on Instagram. It was so much easier to talk about things with strangers going through the same thing. The step mom aspect adds an extra dimension in that often we or our spouses are older and we feel like we don’t have a lot of time. Hang in there! You are not alone, you have a whole team of women that have your back and sending you baby dust!

  3. nwchacon91@gmail.com says:

    Thank you to you and your husband for being brave enough to share this. This is truly a deep rooted fear of mine and I could not imagine what you’re going through. Keep staying positive!

    My husband and I dont have any "ours" babies yet. But I am step mom to 4. None of my kids come from me… yet.

    I have found myself lately having so much fear that I am not going to be able to get pregnant, and it will be MY fault.

    You’re an inspiration Jamie, truly.

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