Coping with Secondary Infertility

What to do when you have trouble getting pregnant the second time around.

Coping with Secondary Infertility

We often think of infertility as an issue for first-time parents, but for some, the fertility challenges don’t begin until they’re trying for their second (or third or fourth) time around. Secondary infertility -- the inability to become pregnant, or carry to term, after giving birth to one or more children -- can be just as devastating for those in its wake, especially because most parents assume if they got pregnant once, they can certainly do it again.

But, not every pregnancy is the same, and often there can be a big difference between them in terms of the process and the experience as a whole. In fact, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 3 million couples in the United States face secondary infertility.

The challenges of getting pregnant, especially if you were able to have a child before, can be extremely confusing, heartbreaking, isolating and painful. But as these statistics prove, it’s a struggle that many are facing, and one that you should not feel ashamed of. Educating yourself and establishing the right support network can make all the difference. Here are 5 tips on how to cope with secondary infertility.

  1. Don’t be afraid to seek medical assistance. There are many different reasons parents experience secondary infertility, but age often plays an important role. If you are under 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year, you can and should seek medical assistance. Women over 35 should ask for help if they have been trying for six months. A specialist like a reproductive endocrinologist can help pinpoint risk factors like hormone levels, fallopian tube damages, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian conditions and ovulation disorders.
  2. Don’t forget to check your partner’s fertility, too. Sperm quality and quantity can change over the years, and according to the National Infertility Association , approximately one-third of fertility issues are related to male factors.
  3. Try an integrated approach. There are many other complementary options to Western medicine, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional therapy and supplementation, exercise and meditation that can assist you on your journey. Whether you prefer to tackle secondary infertility with a conventional approach, a more holistic approach or both, there are a variety of treatments for you to explore.

  1. Don’t hold your emotions in. The emotional ups and downs around conceiving can cause anger, grief, hopelessness, depression, jealousy, fear and anxiety. According to the Harvard Health Publication , the stress and anxiety levels of women dealing with infertility are often equivalent to those dealing with cancer. Unfortunately, many couples that experience secondary infertility receive less social support than those dealing with primary infertility. Too often, the pain of their infertility is minimized or criticized by others for having already successfully started a family. They’re told that they should feel grateful for what they have. This causes feelings of guilt and isolation. Of course a couple can be extremely grateful for their child and still long to grow their family.It can be beneficial to speak to someone whom you feel connected to. Communicating pain eases the emotional burden of needing to contain it all. Seeking out a therapist or a support group can give you a broader outlook and some useful tools to deal with these difficult emotions.

  1. Take care of yourself. We are very busy, and it’s not uncommon to push ourselves past our limits in both our careers and personal endeavors. Secondary infertility can be an opportunity to shift your perspective and honor yourself in a way you may not usually have time to -- to examine and reassess your lifestyle and priorities.According to Dr. Alice Domar , Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health and the Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF, women who participate in mind/body programs, in conjunction with medical treatment, experience better results than those seeking medical treatment only. Things like proper nutrition, exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, and rest are essential for your well being and self-care and can also help jumpstart your fertility. So take time for yourself. Enlist others. The support of yourself and others will set the ground for a richer, more positive experience. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but for many it takes a village to have one.


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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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