The Society Inflicted Shame Of Secondary Infertility

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Smiling African American mother and daughter relaxing on a terrace and taking a selfie with cell phone.

 

Last year July, when a few of us from this platform went for a fertility walk, we had a chance encounter with Yewande Zaccheus, the author of one of the most powerful books on infertility this side of the globe, The Waiting Room.

One thing that she said struck me, and has stayed with me since. She was reminiscing about how the second child that she had to wait for quite a number of years to have was now a teenager, and it now feels weird sort off, that she had waited, and how she had been told to accept the fact that she was going to be a mother of an only child. That was when she said these words; “You know, a woman just wants what she wants” and shrugged her shoulders.

Immediately, it clicked somewhere inside of me and I knew there was a reason those words had resounded with me, but I had no idea what it was exactly. Between then and now, those words have been a motto for me in certain situations, and I can relate with it so well, especially when I find myself in the midst of naysayers. Then I remind myself, “You know, a woman just wants what she wants.” Shikena.

But ultimately, that statement was a defiant declaration of her chosen path, despite the society telling her that she, as a mother of one, was better than the woman who didn’t have any child at all, and thus should just accept the fact that, perhaps, her “destiny” had chosen only one child; an assertion that is total crap by the way.

If you were to ask moms dealing with secondary infertility, quite a few might own up to the fact that they sometimes feel ashamed or selfish to declare that they are TTC for a second baby. A shame they have no business feeling. Even if you are TTC’ing for a third child or fourth child, there should be no shame in it.

It was in the news recently that reality TV madam, Kim Kardashian, was considering surrogacy to carry her third child. Hope you read that part…third child! And she already has a girl and a boy, and there is no third gender, but you see, that’s what she wants and that’s all that matters!

Some would have said since she has been medically advised not to carry any more pregnancies, then she should put a stop to it. Well, thank God she can explore alternatives such as surrogacy.

Many more women have stopped trying, out of shame and lack of the financial capability, consoling themselves with the fact that they at least have a child, and if a pregnancy ever happened, then it’s fine.

Jadesola and I had our babies just a few weeks apart. In fact, all our babies, which include her son, my niece, and younger twins are all going to turn five years old this year. While I was still coming to terms with the fact that I had another set of twins, at nine months after childbirth, she was so ready to have another.

Anyone who knew her knew how fond she was of saying, “Me, I have been ready since. I’m just waiting for this man (her husband) to be ready.” That was her song, so I thought they were going to conceive, latest, once their son clocked two. Well, their son is turning 5 at the end of this month, and she’s still  TTC’ing, at least she says she is, but you can see the resigned slope on her shoulders.

When Jadesola heard that my sister had just had another baby, she was like, “Kemi, oya, you too do another one nau! It fit just work for me too, so we can have age mate babies again.” I took a good look at her and said, “No! I wan go sell dem?”

Another mom battling secondary infertility is Taye. She’s a twin, who was blessed to also have a set of twins. Unfortunately, one of them died at six months of age, as a result of convulsion. When I heard about the death of that baby, I was pained.  It seemed so senseless, and even when she told me the circumstances that led to the death of that boy, I couldn’t help but feel as though she didn’t do enough, but I kept my opinion to myself, seeing that I wasn’t present when it all went down, and besides, she was already grieving, so no need to add guilt to it.

Her mother, the grandmother of the twins, on the other hand, didn’t keep her opinions to herself at all. She made it known, loud and clear, that her daughter and her husband didn’t do enough to avert the death of that child.

So, it was with the added guilt of knowing she was being blamed for the death of her child that Taye resumed TTC. Even as she was extra protective of her remaining son, she was also craving a replacement baby for her lost child. Meanwhile, she can’t also be open with her mother about her TTC efforts, because her mother would just take it to another level. Taye’s case is a bit complicated.

It’s been two years since she lost that child and started TTC, but she’s yet to conceive, which has made her paranoid, at least when we talk. That’s all it seems she wants to talk about. Truthfully, it’s hard on her, and it’s not helped by the fact that her mom reminds her to be grateful that she still has one child left, and that she’s still young, so she has plenty of time to try for another.

For Taye, I feel her ache more, as she’s like a sister to me, and then the one person she should turn to, her mother, is still hurting badly over the death of her grandson and still on the lookout for who to blame. In fact, the only person that she’s friendly with is her remaining grandson, whom she would have seconded to her house, if not that Taye has become overprotective of him too. Between them, the young man is not short on love.

So mamas dealing with guilt of any kind, as a result of secondary infertility, you should ditch the guilt, as one in three couples who seek fertility treatment are already parents.

Dump the guilt and go after what you want.

Godspeed!

 

 

Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here

Photo credits:

1. www.kveller.com

2. https://www.thenation.com

3. https://cdn.theatlantic.com

 

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. 1. A shame they have no business feeling.
    2. Dump the guilt and go after what you want
    #word #word!!! well written @oluwakemine
    I have developed a thick skin over time and when the questions start i just say well that is you and this is me – I want another child and I am not sorry to feel incomplete. That usually does the trick. Then the ones who ask why the wait? You arent getting any younger, i reply pls pray for us…… :haha:
    I am quite grateful to God but hey he said he will make me fruitful and a mother of children not a child so please stop preaching gratitude to me or informing me that I am wasting MY money that can be used to do other things….Thankfully family was informed after our loss of our challenges so they only pray, I cant imagine dealing with that also. It must be tough, then the questions the child asks….the one I can’t forget “why is God not answering our prayers?”
    I have no idea how TTC couples cope I admit, it must be quite tough as I console myself I have one to distract me but ALL those who make such comments are never TTC couples. So allow me be mad when they start, if you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes, shut your trap!!!

    • Haha @bosa. Let them be gone with that ITK attitude ojare. Interestingly, I have met two TTC moms, who have dismissed the concerns of women dealing with secondary infertility and I have put it down to “one of those low moments” not that they truly meant it.

      To each her own and a mom shouldn’t have to explain and keep explaining to people, who don’t really care.

  2. Actually, I think I can totally relate with the “atleast you have one” attitude. While in God’s waiting room,sometimes all “we” just want is to have atleast that “one”(or two in my case,lol) to hold on to. Maybe just to reassure others, and especially one’s self that we are not barren. Just my 20kobo though.

  3. @bosa don’t get me wrong. For someone still in God’s waiting room for that one child(whether for months or years), all we (I) are focused on right now is having that one “first” child. Siblings aren’t a concern (atleast not yet,at all!). That’s the boat I find myself, and as much as I respect others desires, that’s what I can relate with most.

    • Asenath @asenath, I think @bosa agrees with your position. We can only deal from our point of view and shouldn’t have to apologise for our realities and how we feel about it. Somewhere up there, she mentioned, how we should all respect each other’s desires.
      Whether it’s for a first child or a second or even a third or fourth, our focus should be on the One, who can make it happen.

    • I completely understand you my dear @asenath…..Truthfully that’s the position we all find ourselves in, we focus on our own wants. So yea lets stay focus and not worry about the other person’s wants or desires is my take……

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