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Secondary Infertility vs. Primary Infertility: Isn’t it all just infertility?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

I try very hard to always see things from every angle; I’m the person who always plays “devil’s advocate” when I’m listening to my husband or friends. It’s annoying sometimes, I know, but I can’t help but try to put myself in the other person’s shoes, or see things from the other side of an issue, to try to take all perspectives into consideration.

When it comes to infertility, there are a lot of perspectives. I know some people don’t understand the complexities, or difficulties, with secondary infertility. Who am I to complain when I already have a beautiful, healthy child? I get it. But I still see infertility as a disease that 7.3 million women in the U.S. suffer from, including me. I still think it sucks. And I still long for a second baby, a sibling for my son. As he gets older, it continues sucking more. He wants a playmate; he loves babies; everyone around me knows I’m going through this (our sitter had a dream the other night that I was pregnant with a girl); it’s hard on all of us.

But I can’t imagine my life without Preston, and I definitely can’t imagine how I’d even be writing about this topic so exhaustively had I been suffering from primary infertility. I feel so sorry for people who can’t have a child on their own, or who don’t have the means with which to get assistance.

The truth is, I’ve been thinking about writing a book about secondary infertility, and in talking to my literary agent last week she asked me if there was enough of a community out there consisting of women like me; enough women suffering from secondary infertility who would want to read a book about my personal experiences, as well as those of others like me.

Obviously I think there’s a lot to say about it, which is why I write this blog. But I don’t know how many women actually suffer from secondary infertility (I’m doing the research right now).

Secondary infertility isn’t a topic that’s discussed as much as primary infertility, for obvious reasons. Therefore the bookshelves aren’t as crowded by this topic. But maybe there’s a reason for that.

I’m curious to know from readers’ perspectives, whether you’ve gone through primary infertility, secondary infertility, or just have friends who’ve suffered from infertility, can you understand why this is such a complex issue for women, childless or not? Do you have a hard time sympathizing with women suffering from secondary infertility? Be honest (and kind).

I’ll admit, even as someone going through it, I sit on both sides of the fence—some days even I don’t think I should need more than what I already have. But then again, what’s so wrong with wanting more children, like anyone else, and doing everything I can to try to have another child? It’s still hard being infertile (a term I loathe, by the way), even though there isn’t a second that goes by that I’m not grateful for my son, who's right this minute having the time of his life in sunny Scottsdale, where we're visiting both our parents. That's him (above) after he went "fwimming!" today. "Fwimming, fwimming, fwimming, fwimming." Life is pretty damn good at the moment.

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