The Hardest Part

The hardest part about secondary infertility is not what you are missing out on, but what your only child is missing out on. My husband has 3 brothers and a sister. I have 2 sisters. Never in a million years did I ever think we’d only have one child. That was never, ever in the plans. I still dream about what kind of big brother Nick would be, I imagine the pictures I would take of him and his baby sister or brother. Fuck, I wouldn’t care if it was a baby monkey at this point.

We can convince ourselves of all the benefits of having just one. We can try to convince the world that we think one is enough, that we planned this all along. But we’re not fooling anyone. Even when Nick wakes us up in the middle of the night and we are zombies the next day, we laugh about how hard it would be to go back to sleep deprivation. But I know that deep down, we’d both go back there in a heart beat, if it was that easy.

I try so hard to be grateful for what we do have – a healthy, happy, awesome son. But it is hard to see pregnant women and to see babies. And it physically makes my heart break shatter to see siblings. To see big brothers and sisters with their little brothers and sisters. Cuddling them, holding their hands as they learn to walk, helping them, even just sitting next to them. And I can’t help but immediately be reduced to that person who only thinks about what she doesn’t have.

I started working out and trying to lose weight because it was the only control I had over my body. I couldn’t make it get pregnant, no matter what we tried. So I decided if I couldn’t be pregnant then goddamnit I’d be skinny*. Losing weight feels good. But losing weight doesn’t even come close to the same feeling of adding another person to your family. And while I mourn for what I don’t have, I’m absolutely destroyed about what my son doesn’t have. A sibling.

*Skinny is relative. I’m 12kgs lighter than I was when I started all this, which is a lot. But I’d still like to lose another 6kgs.
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53 thoughts on “The Hardest Part

  1. Aroha, I hear you and totally understand your feelings, which you have every right to have. Our boy was alone for over 7 years, then had to wait for a baby to grow up a bit to play with- so we had quite a wait before we could see their relationship develop. I don’t know your exact situation, but I do hope you haven’t given up just yet. Big gaps are fine. Crossing fingers for you xxx

    • Thanks Sharon, I haven’t given up yet – we have a few years to go before we get to that stage. And I’m not worried about having a big gap at all. In fact, the bigger the easier, I think! I guess I just worry about Nick having to bare the burden of aged parents all alone!

  2. I wish that I could make this better for you. So much. I wish I could pass you my unused fertility so that you could have a whole football team if you wanted to.
    I’m so sorry you have to walk this road, every day. I can’t imagine how that must feel. xxx

    • Thanks Jess. Wouldn’t it be nice if problems were that easily solved? Some days I am glad it’s the road I walk, as it could always be much worse. But other days (like the day I wrote this post) are very much filled with “Why the FUCK me!?!?!?!”

  3. I don’t want to be dismissive so hope this reads ok. I know plenty of siblings that don’t speak and plenty of only children who are happy as such.
    But the heart wants what it wants and nothing makes this painful experience easy.
    Good luck and best wishes.

    • You’re so right, and we do talk about that a lot. Just having a sibling doesn’t guarantee a good relationship at all. I know siblings who have nothing to do with each other, too. But at least they have the opportunity, if they wish, to mend things and have that relationship. One thing I’ve learned is that when no one else has your back, your family still will (usually!). But you are so right.

  4. I know this feeling…I should focus on what I do have not what I don’t…. I am single and have recently found out that my fertility is crap! (sorry no other words to describe it!) and if I ever want to have babies in the future I have to freeze my eggs now….So am about to embark on this journey all by myself in the hope that one day I might meet someone and we might be able to have a baby… I do try and think that there are people worse off than me but sometimes it’s nice to and I think important to let yourself grieve and be upset and feel whatever it is you are feeling and when you are ready, jump up, dust yourself of and take a step forward…. In the meantime I am passing you the cyber tissues!

    • Thanks Zita, maybe we could share the box? I can’t imagine having to make those decisions on my own, in hopes that one day prince charming comes along. I know so many people with fertility issues, it seriously makes me wonder where humanity went wrong?

  5. Ahh hon, You know I’m with you 100% here. In some ways I think Project Sibling was just that – about getting a sibling and being done. I want another baby, I even want to be pregnant again after the hellish last experience but what I want most of all is for Dexter to have a sibling and it hurts to see him miss out. It sucks, sending many virtual hugs your way.

  6. I totally understand how you feel and sometimes fret for the same reason. I went through a really hard time last year and had to see someone about it. The way through it was to keep my mind on other things until the pain, the grieving, eventually went. I never thought it would go, but it has subsided. I don’t know all yr circumstances but i have a lot of hope for you and yr hubbie. xx

  7. I always thought I’d have more than one, but the universe didn’t send my soulmate until my mid 30s, and I was one month off 39 when Bell was born. By the time we were ready for another, I was too scared to risk it. But most of the time she’s happy to have us to herself, and we’ve always made sure that she has lots of social interaction.
    Big hugs to you Aroha xx

    • Thanks Lisa. Nick is a pretty happy kid too, and as people have said to me – he doesn’t know any different. And having a sibling doesn’t guarantee having a friend for life. Hugs for you too x

  8. So sorry you have to face this, Aroha. I know sometimes people will go on about being grateful for what you have but the heart wants what it wants. There is nothing wrong with how you feel. It just is. I recall those difficult days and emotions before I finally fell pregnant. TTC at any stage is tough as are the repercussions and challenge to be faced, dealt with and worked through. xo

    • Thanks Michelle. Most of the time that’s what I want, but sometimes I think we’re lucky with the one we have, and that life is so easy. But a piece of my heart will always want more! can’t believe I used to want 5!

  9. I don’t know how you feel but I recently went through a really shitty time, and I decided skinny would work for me too. It’s funny how the mind works. I have only lost a few kilos and need quite a few more to be skinny but I think it’s because it’s something we can control when other things are out of our control. Rachel xx

    • You’re right – it is funny how the mind works and I know for me it was definitely about control over something that had gotten out of control. And for a little while it worked, but that emptiness/hole is still there, no matter how much weight I lose. And I still look at myself and see all the flaws/how far I still have to go, so maybe it didn’t work after all? Hope your shitty time has passed for you Rachel. xo

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