After drafting what feels like a dozen posts (OK, just 7) about that fun topic secondary infertility with all kinds of emotionally charged nonsense and lame attempts at woe-is-me blithering, I’m instead going to share a couple of my blogging observations…and then the blithering.

  • The majority of primary infertility (PIF) blogs I began reading in 2005 did finally become pregnancy, and even parenting, blogs.
  • Ironically, most of them went from PIF to oh-my-god-I’m-pregnant-with-baby-number-two-and-junior-isn’t-even-one-yet blogs.
  • Of the minority that did not, and are still blogging, they are now blogging about how they finally now “get” what shit secondary infertility is.
  • Of those not still blogging after having their first baby, I’ve received a smattering of emails telling me they finally “get” what shit secondary infertility is.
  • Bloggers who are blogging through PIF, and who even occasionally stop by – or use to –occasionally let it slip that SIF isn’t infertility at all.

I encountered the latter attitude in small doses when I started blogging four years ago. There was probably way more, but I made sure to surround myself with either those who were going through SIF or who made a genuine attempt to understand what we were going through.

But what happens when someone you hold in high regards – and have for over two years – and is going through PIF, and told you that they felt that many of the emotions and experiences you were going through were so similar to theirs that they realized that the “secondary” was for the most part, irrelevant, and could appreciate that SIF pretty much sucks, too; but then they end up posting something that basically scoffs the idea that anyone who has one child could even be infertile??

Well that’s what happened over a month ago and it’s been eating at me ever since. I left a very diplomatic comment (me?? I know!) about it and I was surprised I didn’t get a response. One could say in their defense that maybe they didn’t notice (this blogger is rather popular and had a bunch of comments on the post which wasn’t actually about SIF or PIF at all), and basically that’s what I thought so I went back to the post to reread it, to see if I had misunderstood, or maybe to find a reply via comments – you know, like I do – and the post had been edited to remove the reference that inspired this post.

I guess that’s why it’s taken me so long to write AND publish a post since it has no real point, no real reference and serves no purpose whatsoever except allow me to gripe about a blog, because according to some people I do happen “to enjoy it a bit too much.”

And here this paragraph starts 24 hours later than the prior paragraphs and I wonder all over again why is it I’m upset by this? My pain is my pain; your pain is your pain; why don’t we call the whole thing off…

Yes, there are different degrees to infertility, and it only really becomes relative when we read about how our situation is somehow minimized. If I said that you’re not really infertile if you can get pregnant on your first cycle of clomid, then any one of you that did get pregnant on your first cycle of clomid would take offense – or at least you should, because YOU owned that experience and pain, I didn’t. I have no idea what toll that took on you emotionally. I shouldn’t judge, but it’s seriously hard not to, if next to impossible for me. However, if nothing else, I know what infertility was…AND IS. It shouldn’t matter if I have one or five kids. I’ve cried more over the past four years than I have in all the years leading up to it, so yeah, I get a little pissy when I think someone might be making light of SIF.

Infertility scarred me very deeply and left an enormous swath of bitterness that I really want to heal. I get close. I tell myself that I don’t have to be miserable or defensive anymore. I don’t have to read infertility blogs anymore. I don’t have to blog anymore. So why do I?

I have so many things here to say and I’m running out of time and energy to say them. I don’t care about standing on the soap box as much as I use to. I give it a try occasionally (like with this post), and once I step up on it, the view is not as good as it use to be and the wood is soft and creaky from being left outside in the rain, and those willing to listen are there for the free punch.

*end metaphor*

**end blithering**

***end post***


  1. Oh yeah, I get it! It’s all just different flavors of crap sandwich if you ask me.

    I changed my blog format and tried to go with something less IF themed because… I guess I thought I should since my post-SIF baby just turned three (three– no effing way!). And it’s been wholly uninspiring. I am so not good as a ‘mommy blogger’.

    Glad to see you’re still here. 🙂

  2. Well, you know where I stand with the pain olympics. I think there is so much more than simply situation that goes into the emotional side, therefore, how can we ever judge what is the worst? And honestly, as Candide points out so perfectly, there will always be someone you can point to that you believe has to worse than you. And there will always be someone who will point to you and think that you have it easier than them. If that last pronoun-laden thought makes any sense.

    I always loved Smarshy’s comment that SIF is just a different bag of ass. But…you know…it’s all still a bag of ass and who the fuck wants that?

  3. This post takes me right back to one of my all time favorite posts from you, the one about the fine layer of dust in a new house and never being able to get rid of it. If I wasn’t lazy I would find and try to link to that post, but I’m lazy. I think you know which one I mean. The pain never goes away, it is okay that you still become bitter (I do, therefore I’m saying it’s okay if you do :)). Don’t tell me that the 2.5 years of SIF I dealt with was easier than the 1.5 years of PIF. It wasn’t.

  4. Ok, I have to admit, when I first started reading IF blogs, I did believe PIF was different than SIF. I mean, with SIF, you already have a child and I have none. Of course, it’s different!

    Then I realized that yes, even though PIF and SIF were different, the DEPTH of the pain was not. And to me, that’s what binds us as IF bloggers together. And you were one of the bloggers that helped me understand this.

  5. I remember when I didn’t have Aiden yet, and I was still trying for that pregnancy that would stick, and was dying inside from the loss of another pregnancy,when the pain olympics got tossed at me in the face of “at least you can get pregnant, you aren’t really infertile.” I got caught up in this whole storm of is it really infertility if you can get pregnant and not keep the baby vs the inability to get pregnant. The blogger who I fought with now has a child as we know that I do too.

    Ok, I’ve lost my point, but I think that everyone’s suffering is their own, and no one wins. Ever. Especially when it comes to who hurts worse.

  6. OK, I think I may win the so-called pain olympics ;-P . Actually, I don’t think I do. (Allergy queen -> PIF -> 2nd Tri M/C -> Ovarian Cancer for those who don’t know.) There are those who are much, much worse off.

    DH and I were actually talking about this because of a post on, of all things, The Daily KOS! (He felt like he should post our story to show those folks how lucky they had it. I started laughing and told him he just entered the land of women and the pain olympics.)

    I think I know what post you are referring to, but won’t indicate. I thought it was a perfect representation of what many sufferers of PIF do think and feel in privacy and have a need to express in a “safe” environment. If it is the one I think it is, it was in response to an invasion unto a primary infertility board by a secondary IFer. People feel what they feel and think what they think. And, to be fair to the person, sometimes those feelings are as changeable as the wind. At one moment you feel and think something and the next you feel and think something totally different. That is just how it is.

    Anyway, there is a big difference between PIF (no child, end of line) and SIF (child, maybe not end of line) not only in the perception of primary infertility sufferers, but the general public. But, pain is pain. No one knows what happens in the heart of others. It doesn’t help when someone like that awful Gosselin character or Nadya Suleman becomes the face of SIF either. There is a perception that many sufferers of SIF are just greedy. I notice an up-tick of pain olympics surrounding PIF vs. SIF when there are news stories about those two. Most normal women are just trying to build a somewhat normal family in some way.

    The thing that a lot of people do not realize is that some of those women in SIF were PIF before that first child and those emotions don’t always get alleviated. Let’s face it, emotional after care for infertility – success or not – sucks. We all have the picture of our family to be in our heads and hearts and when we don’t get it it hurts.

    Each person has a unique view of what their perfect family is going to look like. Unfortunately, sometimes the path to creating that family is thwarted. It doesn’t make the longing and hurt of being denied go away. Being denied what we want – especially in this regard – is a big deal.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that when someone is posting on their own blog, or in certain forums, they may be letting their uglier emotions come out. I did not post anything last week about my emotional state because of how deep and hurtful (to myself and others) those emotions were. I recognized how raw those emotions still are – and how they are not things to be shared with the world at this time. Instead, I wrote out a bunch of very dark and depressing poetry that may never see the light of day.

    Ok, DD, now you have done it, this is going to have to turn into a blog post about pain olympics.

  7. I have to confess that I was guilty. Before I had my sons, my sister told me about a friend of hers who was going through SIF and I was unsympathetic. I had met her son and he was so great. I guess I sucked or maybe I still do? (Don’t answer that please.)

    In my defense, I was jealous as hell. Sometimes we cannot see though our own pain. I didn’t get it. I do now. Pain is pain. The crib is still empty even if it was once full.

    1. You definitely do not suck. It’s even fine for you or anyone else to voice their opinions in either matter, but I was more hurt over the fact that this person said one thing to me yet posted the opposite on the blog. I’d rather someone be blunt and tell me my situation clearly isn’t as bad as another’s than to blow smoke up my ass.

  8. Well my IVF twinnies are nearly 12 months old, I’m not pregnant, and I’m absolutely not ‘oops’ pregnant.

    Guess that puts me in the minority who don’t have the knocked-up-with-infant scenario.

    To be honest, I don;t try to rank pain, because I don’t think you possibly can, but at the same time I hear of stories of IF and of loss that do make me instinctively think ‘that is so much harder/worse/sad than what I suffered’, and also I wonder how they can continue on.

    But having said that I am a big believer that none of us WANT to suffer, but it’s amazing what you can endure when it’s YOU and you have no choice. You just suck it up and get on with it.

    As for the pif vs sif, again I wouldn’t rank pain, but personally being inferfile and unpregnant still hurts, but not as sharply or in the same way as it did when I only has a lost baby to my name.

    Now, no matter what happens in teh future, I have beautiful living children who I am bvlessed to have, even if they annoy the living snot out of me sometimes.

    So while I secretly hoped for an oops and unsurprisingly didn’t get one, and it does pain me not to have the possibility of another child right now, it doesn’t fully occupy me. If that makes sense.

    Maybe it will when it comes to paying the IVF bills again. 🙂


  9. I think I actually wrote a similar post to this once- I wonder too, “why can’t we all just get along??”

    My pain is not worse or less than your pain… ironically, I felt, and still DO feel guilt for being one of those SIF- got preggers on my first round of clomid kinda gals. (first child was conceived on birth control even! how’s THAT for irony??!!)

    Great post DD- I’m glad you said it!

  10. Energy. Time. They seem to disappear when you have a second child, one who is much younger than your first. Somehow the older one always seems SO much older when the new little one is home, and you’ve forgotten how much effort it is to have a little one. That’s part of why I don’t blog much anymore. Even though I am still just as infertile as I always was, even though we’re actively TTC (as much as we can without going to the RE), it doesn’t seem something that’s so easy to write about anymore. Adopting didn’t cure my SIF but I can’t seem to find as much to write about it anymore.

    I’ll stick around as long as you’ve got some words that you want to write.

  11. I’ll help bring the wood for your new soapbox 😉

    As women we’re always tearing each other apart, and in the next sentence wondering why men “just don’t get it.’ WTF? WE don’t seem to get it, unless it’s our personal reality. Empathy is apparently a very rare commodity, these days.

    I’ve completely given up trying to explain that adoption didn’t cure my IF. It solved my desire to be a parent. Big damn difference.

    You keep speaking YOUR truth. If someone doesn’t want to hear it, they’re welcome to change the channel.

  12. Well since I have been in both places, I can tell you that the SIF has hurt me more then the PIF because I know what it is like to have a child now. When I was dealing with PIF, I couldn’t imagine what it ws like to have a child so I had no idea, I just knew I hurt. Now though my pain seems deeper then before… Just my opinion.

  13. The pain olympics is a popular game everywhere and maybe it’s because I grew up having to play it with my mother, I have no freaking tolerance for it. In any circle (DD, I’ve seen what you mean about primary vs secondary IF).

    Whenever I see someone playing, I have to click away before I scream “Your broken arm doesn’t cure my busted crotch.”

    Sorry, had to sneak “crotch” in there.

  14. I don’t understand people who just reject the reality experienced by others. Like, why? Is it, ‘you have nothing to complain about.’ Is it, ‘You don’t know pain.’ Either way, I don’t get it. Why don’t they say they just can’t relate? Why the oneupmanship? Personally I’ve been too lucky in life to ever refuse to appreciate the struggles of others. But for the grace of God, there go I.

  15. I think anyone who has struggled with fertility is marked by it in some way. And most of us can’t help privately grading her struggle as harder or not as hard as our own based.

    It burns my ass every time someone says something like of course I got pregnant after we adopted because that always happens and we should have just adopted sooner because we just needed to relax or all in God’s time or some other drivel that makes me want to lunge at their faces. Most of my bitter is gone…but the mark remains.

  16. Great post DD.

    I agree with what Betty M said “No one can win the pain olympics”. With any IF, Primary, Seconday etc everyones pain is very real and who are any of us to say ours is worse?

    I am going to build you a brand new soapbox, just don’t leave this one out in the rain ok?

  17. Good grief – I hadn’t seen the craziness on that post about the film review – protesting a tad too much that lady.

    The pain olympics is one area you can never win. There is always someone who thinks your level is not high enough to merit entry to teh games. I have been told that my PIF wasn’t really PIF as I only had 1 IVF to get pregnant with the girl. They didn’t know about the next 3 cycles and now 3 m/cs which have only 1 extra child as a result – do you reckon I qualify now in their version of pain?
    The whole thing is ridiculous.

    It is cowardly though to not be able to be honest with you – she clearly noticed the comment otherwise why edit that part of the post out?

    1. Yes, the blogger had to have noticed my comment or else why remove the reference? In her defense, I could have also followed up with her privately, but I took the cowardly way out and vented here instead.

      As for the that OTHER person who schizo’ed all over my movie review’s comments?? I have no other words.

  18. I think that people struggling with PIF look at SIF as being “greedy.” Because they’ve bargained. If they could just have ONE child, they’d be happy. They wouldn’t ask for more. Et cetera. And until you’re in the suck that is SIF, then you can’t really understand.

    Much like how you can’t understand infertility in the first place. Until you’re there.

    Not saying it’s right – on the contrary, this post is a good one. And you’re right. We’d do so much better with more understanding than the pain Olympics.


  19. And that is why I have a difficult time relating to women. I tend to stand outside the pack and watch all the oneupmanship that goes on. Of course, I have the urge to participate, but generally keep it under control.

    In a way, it’s funny to see people who would normally be trying to play up their fabulous lives, instead focusing on how much more miserable they are than someone else. Competition – you can’t escape it.

  20. Infertility, no matter how many kids one has, is scary. By not being able to have a child when one is wanted, ones life is difficult.

    Why can’t we build each other up and support each others journeys instead of tearing down because we think we know better? It makes me sad.

  21. Amen and amen. It hurts, all of it. But the worst sting of all is someone/anyone minimizing SIF. I’ve been and continue to be an occasional target and it is isolating and hurtful… so much so that I can’t even fathom writing a post about it. It is just too hard.

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