Unfortunately, secondary infertility is more common than many realize. It can be hard to accept that your body isn’t working as it once did, especially if you’ve enjoyed one, two, three, or more pregnancies in the past.
A vast number of women face a negative fertility diagnosis after enjoying a normal pregnancy. Frequent reasons for this include age-related issues with egg quality and quantity, which is why options like fresh or frozen donor eggs may be presented as a way to overcome the inability to achieve another pregnancy.
Whether you’re considering fertility treatment or trying to wrap your head around your diagnosis, we’ve put together coping strategies and options for the next step in your fertility journey.
1. Try to Boost Your Fertility
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while but haven’t yet sought a doctor’s help, there are simple steps you can take to try and boost your fertility levels naturally.
First, look at your diet. Has anything changed since you had your last baby? You may be stocking up more on caffeine to get through the day, or perhaps you may be turning to a glass or two of wine to try to get through the “terrible twos.” While both changes are understandable, they could be having a negative impact on your chances of conceiving. Try to adopt a fertility-friendly diet to see if that helps. This may involve losing some weight to ensure you’re within a healthy BMI range.
Second, reassess your preparation for conception. With your first child, you may have had your ovulation dates down to a tee. This time around, you may not be employing the same robust schedule with your partner. Furthermore, your ovulation pattern may have changed, i.e. become more irregular. You may need to monitor your cycle to know your key dates to have sex.
2. Don’t Bottle Up Your Thoughts, Concerns, and Grief
Regardless of whether you’re a few months into trying to conceive without luck or you’ve just received a secondary infertility diagnosis from your doctor, it’s important to acknowledge how you feel. From overwhelming grief to worries about the next stages in your fertility journey, be sure to talk through your emotions.
Friends and family may offer the support you need, or you may find comfort in talking to groups of people who are going through a similar experience as you.
3. Assess Your Available Fertility Options
Along with the above lifestyle changes, there are other treatment avenues available should you need medical help conceiving your next child.
Surrogacy and adoption are well-known family-building options. However, other fertility solutions like donor eggs are also possible avenues to consider. Initially, using donor eggs may seem completely alien; but if you’re facing secondary infertility, it can offer the chance to enjoy another pregnancy just like you did with your first. After all, it’s during pregnancy that those beautiful bonds between you and your baby – and your baby and your other child(ren) – start to grow.
4. Spend Time with Your Child(ren) and Partner
When such focus is placed on trying to conceive another child, it’s natural to feel like you’re being selfish or aren’t grateful enough for your other child(ren). That’s why it’s important to spend quality time with your child(ren) and keep your routines as normal as you possibly can.
Equally, if you’re struggling to come to terms with what feels like the millionth negative pregnancy test, enlisting the help of family and friends can give you the much-needed time and support to work through your emotions. That way, you’ll feel stronger and more able to put on a brave face when your child(ren) arrives home.
Another key person to devote time to is your partner. They’re trying to come to terms with these fertility issues, as well. While they may cope differently than you, it’s important to reconnect with them and work through your emotions together. Discuss your available options and how you both feel about them.
You might want to treat yourself to a date night, so you can cast aside your worries and enjoy your time together. Plus, as stress can impact your fertility levels, taking this time to be together may be just what you need to boost your odds of conceiving!
5. Taking Time to Build Your Family
They say time is a healer. While it may not feel like this now, taking time to overcome these hurdles one step at a time will help you pave your future path with greater ease. You may decide to focus on your family, or you may find a fertility treatment that is right for you. Whatever you decide, make sure it feels 100% right for you and your family.
You don’t need to simply “accept” a secondary infertility diagnosis as the end of your family building goals. By giving yourself the chance to acknowledge and come to terms with it, you can then feel ready to face any problems head-on, no matter what path you decide to take.