October 1, 2014

trying for a second...

thoughts on trying for a second child | yourwishcake.com
It's around this time in motherhood when you start to hear those familiar questions and phrases. The ones that you're unsure of how to answer at this point, because you neither want anyone to think they've somehow unintentionally hurt your feelings, nor do you want to make them feel bad for asking a simple question. These sorts of things are the typical social pleasantries that fill conversations with parents whose first child has passed the age of two, three, four.

"So, when are you going to give Eisley a sibling?"
"You make cute kids! You should have more babies!"
"Are you thinking about trying for another?"

As of this month, we've been trying for a year to have a second child. That's not the sort of thing that you can slip into a casual conversation, so for the most part I'm just able to offer a smile, nod and a simple, "Well, we're hoping it happens sometime in the next year!"

It has made me think a lot about the silent struggles so many people go through…the ones you never know or see or have any sign of. There are many of these things that you just don't talk about with those outside your trusted circle of family and friends. Things like infertility, pregnancy loss, postpartum anxiety or depression. These things that have a huge impact on our lives as women are the things we often keep quietly to ourselves. 

Granted, this isn't something I want to talk about with everyone. And I'm only writing about it here because it's something I've wanted to open up about for a while now—and writing it feels somehow safer. Yes, I'm writing the words, but I don't have to have the face-to-face conversation with each of you (during which I would either try to act very unaffected by the whole thing to avoid awkwardness or start crying and achieve complete and utter awkwardness).

And the thing is, I've always been so touched by women who have shared their own stories and struggles and sadness. It's okay to be sad, it's okay to struggle…after all, we all end up being touched by these things in one way or another. They become a part of our stories. And this—something I never anticipated—is now part of mine.

I don't think I ever fully understood how someone with one child could experience grief and pain when trying to have another. There have been people very close to me who have struggled for years with this exact thing, and I know of more than one occasion when I said something to the effect of, "I'm so glad you have your first child. At least you have them." In my head at the time, it sounded perfect and made complete sense. I realize now that those words don't help. Because I say these words to myself, as a means to pacify my intense desire to have more children, and the only thing I'm left with is guilt. 

In some ways, it feels like an accusation that I don't love my daughter enough, that she isn't enough for me, that I don't have the right to grieve not having additional children because I already have one.

But you know what? That's not it at all. It's something much deeper than that, the desire to have another child. I wish there was a way to put it into words that made any sense, but the only way I can put it is that our family just doesn't feel complete yet. It just doesn't feel like all the little people I'm meant to mother have arrived. I can't believe that I won't have another baby, so I refuse to think of it as a possibility. (Even though there is no guarantee.)

I know I'm still young-ish, when it comes to my ability to have a child. I'm meeting with my doctor to discuss the next steps, now that I'm technically dealing with secondary infertility. (Those are some scary words, to be completely honest.) But I worry so much about how this journey will change my heart. It's just hard. And disappointing. And sad, a lot of the time. And not knowing what the outcome will be, or what I'll be asked to accept, is just something that is hard for me to even think about.

I wonder if this post will come across as silly or dramatic if I end up getting pregnant in the next couple months. But in a way, I don't mind if it does. No matter what happens, this past year has changed me in many ways. It's been very humbling (especially because I was miraculously able to get pregnant with Eisley almost immediately after we started trying). It has given me much more understanding and empathy for women who are in similar circumstances. And it does make me even more grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a mother to the daughter I do have.

So, that's where I'm at right now. Not exactly heartbroken, not exactly optimistic, not exactly hopeless, not exactly sure of anything. The only thing I can do is just keep on doing whatever I can do to remember the things that matter.

— Further reading: More than Just a Fever

15 comments :

  1. Hearing the work "infertility" is definitely scary. We've been trying for 3 (almost 4) years for a child and have recently come to grips with the fact that we're not fertile. Through the whole thing we've communicated about everything. We both love children and want one, so we've decided to pursue adoption. Dealing with this has been incredibly trying; I get all sorts of lovely comments and "advise" from our relatives; my hormones have been insane due to the fertility meds (my husband is a saint); and its hard to talk to someone about it if they haven't been through it.

    All that being said, if you ever want to talk about it just message me.

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    1. Ari, I had no idea you were struggling with this. My heart goes out to you and your husband—I know it must have been a long road getting to this point for you both. I know big things like this tend to drive a wedge between the average couple, because often times you grieve differently and aren't able to communicate with each other effectively…so, I love that you seem to be handling it with so much grace and honesty. I'm so grateful you've been able to do that for each other. Keep me posted on your adoption journey…my two youngest sisters were adopted as infants through foster care, so adoption has always had a piece of my heart (in the best way).

      <3

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  2. I was there before we had Matthew and it can be devastating no matter what number child you are trying for. I've been praying for you and just know that I'm just a text, phone call, or email away. I've been through some fertility treatments and have read a lot so please reach out if you want information or need someone to talk to. I love you :)

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    1. Kate, thank you (as always!) for being such a kind, encouraging and thoughtful friend. I remember how long it took for you to get sweet Matthew (I also think of Adri's journey to motherhood!) and your stories bring so much hope.

      Thank you for being so sweet. :)

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  3. We dealt with secondary infertility as well. Jack (our first) was a complete oopsie baby so I have no knowledge or experience with what it's like to want to have a first or only child and not being able to. But I do know painstakingly well how it feels to want so badly to give your child a sibling. With each month that passed, all I could think was how the gap I wanted to be so small between my children was ever-widening. I had plans and my darn uterus that worked so well the first time suddenly decided to close up shop. And this is definitely something I would have punched someone for saying to me in those rough months before Warren's presence announced itself on that pregnancy test but the time we waited for him really did dictate our family's story--a beautiful one. Because of that wait, we realized that we really, really wanted another child and it wasn't just an obligation we once thought it was ("Well, we kind of accidentally got pregnant with our first and we feel like we should give him a sibling so I guess that's the next natural step." turned into, "Oh, I want another baby in our family so badly."). We also realized that the 1-2 year gap we wanted between kids just wouldn't have worked for us and this new 4 year gap is beautiful and helpful and perfect for our family. During that wait, we also thought that maybe another successful pregnancy just wasn't in the cards for us and through that heartache, we heard God's call to us to adopt. Even though Warren eventually came through my own body, we never would have considered adoption without the wait for Warren. Now, we are sure that our next children are meant to come through adoption (which, incidentally, turned out to be a blessing to make that decision before we got pregnant with Warren since his pregnancy almost killed me so future pregnancies ended up getting nixxed anyway).

    This isn't helpful to you in your struggle. Not at all. But as someone who has been there, I do hope that you know that your heartache is real. Nobody who hasn't been through it could ever understand how all-encompassing and time-consuming this desire is. It's okay to talk about it because if you're anything like the rest of us, it's all you ever think about. It's not selfish to want to give love and a life to someone, to a soul you know is waiting for you somewhere. Praying it happens quickly but proud of you for sharing your story either way. And on the other side of it, I can tell you that the way it finally happens for you will be perfect for your family. But yeah, that doesn't make the wait any less painful.

    xoxo

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  4. Thank you for sharing your journey with us! It took 17 months and 3 rounds of clomid to conceive our first son. TTC is such an emotional roller coaster.

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  5. I am sorry you're going through this, Kerri. I am sure no matter where you are in the process (trying to conceive your first or second child), it's really hard to deal with the reality that something that you've been trying to prevent for so long, suddenly becomes such a problem.
    I know WAY TOO MANY women who have had to deal with conception problems at some point in their lives. I truly hope that this is just a little hiccup period for you and that you'll have (many!) more kids ahead of you! :) HUGS! (And thanks for being so open about this. I am sure this will help a lot and you're definitely not alone!)

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  6. Your post is definitely not silly or dramatic. I'm still at the point where I can't imagine having another baby because I want to enjoy the one I have now, but I know that point will come soon enough. Good luck, girlie!

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  7. Sending you so much love today, Kerri. Thank you for sharing your story.....you are definitely NOT alone, and I hope this post brings relief and comfort to others who are experiencing the same struggle. All my love!

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  8. As someone who struggled to conceive their first baby, I can only imagine the sting it would cause for a second. Like others have said, you are in no way silly or dramatic for sharing this and I'm actually so glad that you did. Yes, this is something hard to discuss and you may not want to be a burden to others, but I feel like keeping it all inside would be a burden to yourself.

    Infertility or whatever our bodies would like to do is never easy to go through and I found it's even more difficult to do when you think you're going through it alone. And you definitely are not.

    I hope that a trip to your doctor will help you find some answers or at least leave you with less questions. I'm thinking of you lots friend and sending lots of love and hugs. xoxo

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  9. I thought infertility was hard while we waited for our first. 20 months & two rounds of IVF later, we got our baby girl. But secondary infertility is a whole new kettle of fish. It's now been over 12 months since we started trying for #2, and aside from a pregnancy loss at 11 weeks, we're still here. It's just heartbreaking.

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  10. Oh Keri this is the furthest thing from sounding dramatic or silly. Thank you for sharing your heart!

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  11. Thank you so much for your honesty. Just know that we are all hear for you.

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  12. I have had this post sitting in my feedly for nearly a month now, hesitating to read it because of how it might make me feel. My daughter recently turned 2, and it feels like I get the "so when are you having another?" question all the time. But what hardly anyone knows is that I lost my pregnancy with her sibling in May. I know their questions aren't meant to hurt, that they ask just as a means of making conversation, that in most cases they don't even really care was the answer is. But it makes me cry inside every single time. I've been pregnant 3 times now but only have 1 child. I'm on the fence about trying again not because I don't want a second child, but because I'm scared of having to go through that again.

    So this doesn't sound silly, or dramatic. It sounds real, and although I don't know you, I wish I could hug you. I wish you the best of luck in the coming months. And thank you for sharing your story.

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  13. Hi Kerri -- Not sure how I missed this post from last month. I've been a reader since back in the day (which is blogging years I'm considering to be ~2010). This post really touched my heart, and I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I've been trying to get pregnant for a little over a year, and just had "the talk" with my doctor about next steps. I'm a bit in denial that we're going to have to go down this path, but it's so comforting to read something so honest from someone you've known (or feel like you've known) for a while. Thank you for sharing, hang in there. :)

    - Carly

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