In the big infertility blogosphere, there are many of us. Many are struggling with primary infertility. Having been there myself, I feel that I can speak to it and even compare it to what I'm going through now: Secondary infertility.
Although I don't want to have any sort of debate on which is worse, because, as Mel put it just today, "we each have our own unique suckage and my suckage doesn't detract from the gravity of your suckage". But I did have to touch on it a bit to be able to talk about what I want to talk about.
Primary infertility sucks in a way that's unique to secondary. Primary infertiles don't yet know if they'll ever become a mother and that's pretty damned scary. Secondary infertiles have already had a taste of what it's like, so the idea of not being able to succeed again is torturous. There are other aspects of each that are particular to each situation also. How each type lives outside of IF is very important to how the IF is dealt with itself. Primaries can go to bed and sleep away their troubles. Or they can go out with their husbands and get away from home. They can then sleep in the next day, sleep until their minds and bodies snap them out of bed. Secondaries have a child or children already, so our daily tasks remain pretty much the same. But we can immerse ourselves in our children's love and kisses on a bad day. Which leads me to what I want to talk about.
When I was a primary infertile, I didn't, well, I couldn't understand the secondary infertile. I couldn't understand how in the world a secondary infertile could feel as disappointed as I felt at the time. After a BFN, I would sit and cry in an empty house while a secondary infertile could go hug their children. It seemed absurd that those children wouldn't make it "all better" in a matter of a moment. Weren't their children enough?
As a secondary infertile, I can't answer that question. Why aren't they enough? I wrestle with this on each failed cycle. On each month that ends in disappointment. Although I do hug them and kiss them when I'm feeling down, they don't take away the pain of the infertility. They make me feel better, yes. But in a way that my husband taking me out to a movie and some drinks made me feel better when I was a primary infertile. They are a good distraction, but not a fix.
I look at my grown babies - mere children. Ella is almost 4 and Allison is 2 and a half. While I love these children to pieces, they aren't what I am trying for. I have children, but I'm trying to get pregnant and have a baby. It's like the two don't even have anything to do with one another. And that sounds ridiculous. I've thought long and hard to make sure it wasn't just that I wanted the novelty of being pregnant and having a newborn to oooo and ahhhh over. I want to add to my family. And the little newborn I crave will grow into one of these older children. That is what I want to end up with. But it's not what I'm trying for now.
This has been a huge deal for my brain for the past few months. Really, it was ever since Farah had asked me months ago, in response to my own Primary vs Secondary blog posting, ~ "Isn't one enough?" and poured out some very raw feelings about how she was "angry and uncompassionate and quite judging about this so called secondary infertility". Farah's response was written in good faith, as she was trying to understand the aspect of it all herself. It just brought up all the things that us secondary IFers cringe to. I commend her for at least being true to her own feelings on the subject.
That discussion and all the comments that came with it hurt my heart pretty deeply and has never left my head. And I don't "fault" her for her feelings at all. At the time, she was in the trenches of primary infertility and hopefully she will never ever face secondary. Hopefully when she tries again, she'll get pregnant in the "normal" amount of time. I had the same hopes for myself. When I was surprised out of my gourd when I became pregnant after only one try for #2, I was beside myself. I has assumed that after dealing with primary IF, I would, without question, have secondary IF. But I dodged it. Then, after the customary 12 months of ttc #3, I had to face facts. I wasn't dodging a bullet this time. A year into ttc#3, I had Secondary IF.
I think many secondary infertiles are sensitive on this subject. I think that is why I probably spent so much time thinking about the comments given to me regarding my views of secondary vs primary infertility and the other blog posts that were spawned. Again, using Mel's words from today "don't we live in a world where we can all recognize that we each have our own unique suckage and my suckage doesn't detract from the gravity of your suckage? Can we not engage in comparative suckage? I will recognize yours if you will recognize mine."
Through all of the recognizing of suckage, I still grapple with that one question. "Why aren't they enough?" And all I can say, through my broken heart and tears, is they aren't enough. I wish they were.