In addition to my label of unexplained infertility, I had the bonus label of secondary infertility. This means I had already had the successful pregnancy and delivery of a living child, but was now experiencing a loss in fertility. When I first began to explore the online community of infertility, I wondered if I'd be accepted. After all, not only were they unable to find a reason why I wasn't getting pregnant, I already had a child.
My first was conceived 8 months after I stopped taking birth control pills. Studies show that around 85% of couples will conceive within the first 12 months of trying (source BabyCentre). Age, overall health, weight, and many other factors contribute to a person's chances of getting pregnant, infertility issues aside. Since we'd become pregnant with our first son well within that "average" time, I wanted to believe that we'd get pregnant easily the second time. Maybe even sooner, since I wasn't on any hormonal birth control when we started trying.
However, I had approached it with my husband that we should start trying sooner, rather than later. It's funny, I'd forgotten about that when I wrote my introductory post. Looking back, I remember now that something in the back of my head doubted that it would be so easy. Perhaps it was the pessimist in me. Perhaps it was women's intuition. I don't know, but looking back, I'm glad we didn't wait.
So as I started reading blogs of women suffering from infertility, posting on a TTC site where many of the women had some form of infertility, and blogging about my own struggles, I wondered if I would be looked at differently. I wondered if having a child meant that I wasn't a true "infertile". Isn't that strange? Being an infertile wasn't something I "wanted", but I guess it was more of needing that acceptance, of knowing that my struggled mattered, even though I was lucky enough to have a child already.
I certainly don't compare my experience with infertility to others. It's not a competition. To me, if you want to have a child (assuming of course that it's for the right reasons and you have means to support them etc etc) you should be able to have one. Certainly, I think that the childless woman struggling with infertility has a very different perspective and has experienced a very different pain that I have. The woman with multiple losses, the woman devastated by a stillbirth, the woman who has tried for years with NO pregnancy at all, they have certainly suffered more than I. When I received the heartbreaking news that I had lost my pregnancy in the summer of 2011, the first thing I wanted to do was hug my son. I was thankful that he was there with me, it was such a comfort for me to be able to look at him and feel his little arms around my neck. I recognize that not all woman experiencing a loss have that luxury. And not all losses happen early, like mine did. There is certainly a whole range of pain and severity when it comes to infertility. I just wanted to know that my frustration and my pain mattered. I just wanted to know that I would be accepted.
Accepted to a club that none of us want to be a member of.
I was, I AM accepted. We all are. There are no rules, no standards. You don't have to meet any criteria. No children--multiple children--medical infertility--unexplained infertility--no losses--multiple losses. We all belong.