Secondary Infertility: Coping with Feelings of Grief and Loss

What Is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility means that you are unable to have another child. Even if you had a previous pregnancy that resulted in delivery, for some reason, now that’s not possible.

Some possible explanations include:

  • Damage to the fallopian tubes

  • Problems with the sperm, such as impeded production

  • Issues with the delivery of the sperm to fertilize the eggs

  • Increased age

  • Effects of certain types of medication

  • Weight issues

Whatever the reason, the result is that you cannot get pregnant again despite your best efforts. So, where does that leave you now?

Coping with Secondary Infertility: A New “Normal”

Let’s say that after coming home from the doctor’s office, you’re tempted to just brush off what happened and move on. You may say, “Well, I already had one child, right?” Considering that you either know or have heard of people who can’t conceive at all, you count yourself lucky.

However, deep down inside, you’re actually experiencing the pain of loss. And slowly, that pain can drill a hole into your heart.

In fact, to go from believing that you could have more children to none at all is a huge upset, a total reversal. More pointedly, it’s truly a loss to part of your identity. How will you handle that?

Some may deal with this loss by ordering a few drinks and brushing the event off as the fate of the universe. Yet, that isn’t really coping.

Even if you don’t want to acknowledge it, the pain is still there. Instead of brushing it under the rug or drowning yourself with unhealthy coping behaviors, what you must do now is learn how to face this new “normal.”

In fact, infertility can actually be harder if you already had one child. That’s because, as mentioned before, you must transition from the mindset of being sure you can do something to no longer having that ability.

Guilt can also be present. You may feel guilty that you feel so sad you can’t have a second child when others are not able to have even one. Yet, that doesn’t mean those emotions are not real or that they are wrong. And that’s why you shouldn’t dismiss them or say, “Oh well… no big deal.”

No! It is a big deal!

The problem remains, how do you cope with this new normal when it’s so utterly painful and you have no idea how to move through your grief?

Getting Professional Help

Being diagnosed with secondary infertility is a life-changing event. It might be tempting to dismiss it and move on as you already had one child. Yet, your efforts to have a second child are just as meaningful and important as your efforts were to have your first.

The loss of this ability leaves you with a range of emotions that you need to unpack and sort through before moving forward.

Therefore, it’s important to seek help from a professional counselor who specializes in infertility. A counselor can help you understand how to process this diagnosis and develop positive coping skills.

Plus, it’s helpful to have someone who “gets it” on your side and who won’t judge you for what you feel. That alone can be liberating as you sort through a situation that very few people even conceive is possible.