Secondary Infertility :: The Paradox of Leaning In While Desiring More

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An Infertility Mama’s Lament

Secondary infertility--things are different this time around.

I am convinced that one of the most confusing and contradicting positions in life is that of secondary infertility. I’ve already walked this road. We fought through infertility years ago, and I became pregnant with our daughter eventually. Yet, here we are again.

Didn’t I put my time in enough with this journey before?

I have to be honest: I sensed this would be the case again, but I really hoped it wouldn’t be. To be quite frank, the mom guilt that comes along with our infertility journey this second time around feels devastating some days.

Am I insinuating my daughter is not enough because I ache to grow our family? Why can’t I just be grateful for what I do have? Can I really go through all these procedures and treatments while hauling a toddler to and fro? Am I being an irresponsible mother for putting my already-earthside-child through all of this in order to bring our other children here? I grapple with difficult questions such as these throughout the day. But stay with me. I have more on this below and discuss how these questions are, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Many of my mom friends have already moved on to conceive or birth their second child at this point while I’m stuck in the in-between. The infertility community is frustrated by my drive and desire to want another baby when I am blessed to have my already-obtained miracle child. That is totally understandable because I had similar thoughts when I was going through infertility before having a baby.

I feel like I don’t fit anywhere.

Secondary infertility--things are different this time around.

Leaning into Secondary Infertility

I’m currently in a season of soul-level growth. My spirit is maturing, and I know this must be part of the maturation process. Yet that doesn’t make it any easier to welcome.

This process has made me subconsciously wish time away to get from one step, one appointment, one procedure to the next, while simultaneously mourning the swift passage of time as my daughter grows before my eyes. It has frequently brought this one question to my attention that I aim to unpack here today:

How does one sit in thankfulness while simultaneously yearning for and knowing there is MORE?

I don’t claim to have all the answers. I most certainly do not have it all figured out. However, I do find it helpful for us as a community to share helpful practices and mindsets that we are utilizing, because we are never meant to do any of this alone. Infertility is isolating enough. Silence only causes further isolation and does not serve anyone.

Living in the Now

One of the most profound difficulties of this season is the ability to peacefully embrace current circumstances. Our current circumstances can give us the illusion of full-picture finality, which is simply untrue. We think, because this is how it’s always been or this is what’s currently happening, that it’s always going to be this way. We know most times in our heart of hearts that this isn’t true, but as we become wrapped up in the isolation of this season, we begin to believe this.

Breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and self-talk is a constant battle, but it is one worth fighting. Your mind sets the pace for your infertility journey and shapes the energy of your life. Some days feel like a defeat before they even start, but that’s when intentional positive affirmations come into play.

Jot down a couple of empowering phrases or Bible verses that fuel your fire and quench your emotional thirst. Display them on your phone screen, attach a sticky note to your mirror, or write it on your dry erase board. Keep positivity and encouragement constantly in your face. That way, even when you don’t feel like it, you’re strengthening your will and revitalizing your endurance to get from one step to another.

Secondary infertility--things are different this time around.

Desiring More

Mama, it is absolutely okay to desire more. Desiring more does not negate the gratitude and love you have for your living children and the blessings you already have. And it definitely doesn’t categorize you as “ungrateful.” Let’s kick that mom guilt out the door. You are “allowed” to desire growing your family just as much as women who can easily get pregnant. Just because it doesn’t come easy for us doesn’t mean it’s selfish or wrong to pursue it wholeheartedly.

Yearning for additional children to join your family means nothing in regard to your love for your babies who are already here. Their worth and value is in no way dependent on your desire to grow your family. Every woman has the right to desire more children regardless of how easy it comes, or how involved.

Waiting Expectantly

Most days, I don’t feel like keeping a healthy, optimistic outlook. That’s because I tend to naturally focus on my frustrating circumstances rather than on the progress of the infertility journey. Personally, this is where my faith is vital to my mental and emotional stamina. Whatever you need to do to keep yourself in a healthy mental space, prioritize it. You and your family will be better for it.

You have the authority to believe in miracles–not just hope for them–but believe they will happen. In fact, I would encourage you to. Miracles do happen, even in the mundane, even in the seemingly hopeless situations like infertility. None of us knows exactly how the story of each family will end up playing out. All we have to do is feel our feelings, make informed decisions, and never give up along the way. Trust your gut–it’s hardly wrong. And please know, you are absolutely never alone.

I’m sending you my love, Mama. You can do this.

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Audra Smith did not spend her childhood in Alabama, but got down here as fast as she could! Originally from Ohio, Audra met and married her husband (of nearly 6 years now), Brian, while in college, and they decided to move to Alabama on a whim a year after graduation, resulting in the best decision ever made. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies/Child Development. Audra spent the first few years after the move working for The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa within Early Childhood Education. After years of working in close proximity to Big Al, it’s safe to say now that she is a faithful Tide fan. Audra is an Army National Guard wife due to Brian’s military service and dedication to the great state of Alabama and our country. After enduring years of infertility, Audra and Brian were miraculously blessed with their daughter Nora Jo, who was born in March 2018 in the heart of Birmingham. Audra now resides in the Chelsea area (Sterrett) with her husband Brian, daughter Nora Jo, and living security system (lab/hound mix) Hamilton. When she’s not wrangling and chasing after a spunky toddler, Audra enjoys a good book, just about a million cups of coffee a day, embracing/celebrating the wild ride of postpartum, any DIY crafty project, and being on the water. She initially went to college for Vocal Music, and still enjoys music and singing very much as an outlet (even if she’s mostly singing “Baby Shark” these days.) Audra is passionate about raising awareness for Type 1 Diabetes, as she lives with this disease every day. Audra is currently a stay at home mom who makes it a priority to cultivate side projects related to her passions. She enjoys connecting with other mamas, women, and anyone who needs someone to talk to. Instagram has become a virtual tribe for her, and if you’d like to participate, head on over to @audrashoupesmith whenever you need a dose of “real life.”