Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive a second child after having the first. And depression about encountering secondary infertility after trying to conceive another child is not unexpected. Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive a second child after having the first.
And depression about encountering secondary infertility after trying to conceive another child is not unexpected. Even though not being able to conceive may cause intense emotional pain to mother and father alike, doctors may tell the couple just to "keep on trying."
The fact is, for many parents, the biological clock is ticking.
It's never a good idea to keep on trying for more than six months if either parent is over 35, or for more than a year if both parents are under 35. After 40, the need for medical intervention is even greater.
Secondary infertility is usually something that can't be treated with a pill. There will be physical exams for both partners, and most women find the pelvic exam and palpation extremely invasive. There will blood draws and ultrasounds and possibly laparoscopic surgery. Adding to the frustration and sheer difficulty of keeping everything going can be the necessity of the female partner's following a PCOS diet.
All of these interventions are intensely stressful. They make feelings of anger, isolation, grief, depression, jealously, and self-blame all that much worse.
If there is one child, friends and family will assume the second will be coming right away or the parents have decided to have only one child. Some friends and family may even just the couple dealing with secondary infertility to be "selfish" for having only one child! They may receive moral lectures on the "burden" each new human being brings to the environment or told that they lack a moral compass because they want to have more than one child.
Well-intentioned or not, the treatment of many couples only makes their suffering worse. The irony is that the best parents and the parents who enjoy their child the most are the most likely to feel great emotional pain from secondary infertility. Finding resolution of the depression caused by secondary infertility requires a frank assessment of the time, resources, and money that fertility treatment will require.
Parents must consider whether they can continue to be good parents to the child they now have if they invest time and money into conceiving a sibling and bringing that child to term. These are intensely personal decisions that require knowledgeable, objective, accurate factual information-not unsolicited lectures by laypeople.
Whatever the decision, whether to grieve the loss of an opportunity to have a second child, to embrace alternative methods of expanding the family, or to focus on having a family of three, resolution brings relief. If depression continues for month than six months, then it is a good idea to seek out a counselor with expertise in reproductive issues to bring back good feeling and enjoyment of life. Treating depression can be just what is needed to use the power of the mind to conceive.