I don’t remember the exact moment I opened up my heart to wanting a second child. It could have been the time when I watched my chunky baby girl, not even a year old, waddle for the first time, giggling all the way, right into her Daddy’s outstretched arms. I will never forget the look on his face. Or it could have been the time I was holding my daughter, quietly rocking her back and forth before a nap, and she suddenly looked up at me with those big brown eyes, my eyes, and asked, “Mama, are you my brother?” It was such a funny and innocent question. My husband has his special moments too where he thought about having another child and like me, they were always centered around our daughter. She really is the light of our lives. How is it possible for one tiny person to be able to spread so much joy!? Being her mother is so fulfilling and I never imagined that I could love another human being as much as I love her. I’m preaching to the choir, right Moms! I know! So in 2017 my husband and I had a serious talk about all those cherished moments and how amazing it would be to give Arabella the greatest gift we could give her, a sibling. We made the big decision to try for number two! Considering how easy my first pregnancy was, conceiving naturally within a few months of trying and having had a healthy and uneventful pregnancy, I thought when we decided to have another baby, we’d just have one. Right? I was wrong.
After months of trying without success, I realized that I had two options. One - accept that I wasn’t getting pregnant and that I might not ever get pregnant again. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Or two - get professional help and find out why I couldn’t get pregnant when I got pregnant so easily before. And find out if a having a second child was even possible. I chose the second option and found Shady Grove Fertility. After a series of tests, I was shocked to be diagnosed with secondary infertility. I learned that secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant after you’ve already had a healthy baby. Infertility affects 1 in 8 American couples and secondary infertility accounts for more than half of all infertility cases. There are many causes of secondary infertility. Some common causes are complications related to a woman’s first pregnancy, irregular ovulation, endometriosis, a woman’s age or a man’s sperm quality. Some times it is unexplainable. I also learned that just a few years can drastically reduce your chance of becoming pregnant when you are over 35. With this fact and my diagnosis, my husband and I understood that while it was possible for me to have another baby, my chances of getting pregnant unassisted were low. We considered all of our treatment options and decided to undergo IVF. We are still trying for two, but with help.
I’ve decided to share my experience with secondary infertility because it is more common than most people may think, yet rarely talked about. And just like couples facing primary infertility, there is a constant struggle to manage the emotional stress and feelings of self blame, guilt and shame. So in talking about my experience, I hope to inspire other women to share their stories and ultimately, help normalize the conversation about infertility and women’s reproductive health. As an African American woman, I feel especially compelled to speak up and encourage my sisters to be proactive about seeking medical assistance. Did you know that African American women are twice as likely to suffer from infertility as White women? We also wait twice as long as White women to see a doctor for infertility. And the longer we wait, the more challenging conception becomes.
I’ve just started my IVF cycle and I’m feeling hopeful and optimistic. I’m confident in our decision to use IVF to help us grow our family. But I am also grounded in my faith and belief in divine timing. I trust what God has in mind for me and my family. If you’re battling infertility or curious about IVF, I hope that my journey helps you in some way. You are not alone. I’m ready and excited to share everything I know about maximizing your fertility to become a Mother… for the first or second time.