On Struggling To Get Pregnant a Second Time

By Kelley Boymer
31 Mar 2023
On Struggling To Get Pregnant a Second Time
Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

Disclaimer: This is a difficult topic to talk (and write) about. This experience is uniquely mine and in sharing it, I hope will help someone else feel a little less alone.

On Struggling To Get Pregnant a Second Time

Eight months have come and gone in what feels like both forever and an instant.

When we began trying to get pregnant this past August, I had everything planned and figured out in my mind. I will be pregnant by September or October for another May or June baby, I thought. A late spring newborn was perfect, warm enough weather to walk outside, but not too hot yet in Vermont. No crazy winter illnesses circulating and the fresh, new air of springs arrival. Now, here I am, late March and still not pregnant.

We got pregnant immediately with our first baby. Almost too quick.

We had been married less than a month and just moved into a new house. We started casually trying for a baby right away thinking things might take a while. But then suddenly, I was pregnant and off we went into parenthood. It was quite the whirlwind between COVID, freshly married, new house and a baby on the way. I figured the 2nd time around would be the same. So we carefully planned to wait until our first was 18-months before trying. Mostly because that’s the magic number all the doctors say it takes for your body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth right?!

Clearly my body had other plans…

I have wanted a baby so desperately, that I have neglected the warning signs my body has been sending me. Struggling with dietary issues, chronic low back pain, pelvic floor health and more, but yet we have continued to try for a baby each month, while my body is screaming back at me, “I AM NOT OKAY!” The last 8 months have been transformative. I have taken leaps and bounds to fix my body but unfortunately these things take time and if the body is not ready, it can’t be forced. Feeling out of control is one of my biggest fears– as it is for so many.

The act of trying to get pregnant and waiting each month, wondering if the symptoms are PMS or pregnancy symptoms is excruciating and one of the biggest tests in being completely and utterly OUT. OF. CONTROL. Each month, one week before I get my period, I head into a complete mind-fuck.

“I have wanted a baby so desperately, that I have neglected the warning signs my body has been sending me.”

Gosh, I’m crabby this morning, oh I must be about to get my period, or wait does it feel different, is this pregnancy moodiness? Why do I want to rip off my husband’s head? Is that PMS or am I pregnant? There is a little blood in my underwear, is that spotting or my period starting? Man, I am craving a bowl of ice cream tonight! Could that be a pregnancy craving!?

Seriously, whoever invented pregnancy symptoms and PMS symptoms should have differentiated a little more. Help a girl out!

Here I am, 8 months later and still not pregnant.

I don’t have any exciting news to share or motivating words of wisdom about how it all turned out great in the end. We so often choose to share our struggles once we have gotten through the worst of it. Once things are all tied up in a neat and tidy bow. But there is power in sharing things when they are still raw and fresh–when we are in the thick of it and feeling like we are trudging through the mud. It’s mud season here in Vermont, so I’m doing that in more ways than one.

It is only considered infertility after trying for 1 year. So there is still plenty of time and resources to begin to utilize. I know so many people try for years without success and it is just completely heartbreaking and so dang frustrating. I have so much empathy and compassion for anyone who is or has ever had to go through the difficulty of getting pregnant, because it can make you feel so alone and helpless. It can make you feel like you are faulty and there is something wrong with you. It can make you feel like you aren’t good enough or that you don’t deserve it. It is so emotionally taxing and hard.

When you are struggling to conceive social media can be so toxic and bad for your mental health.

Scrolling to see everyone’s birth announcements, gender reveals, maternity shoots, ultrasounds, etc. can make you want to scream and shout. Why them and why not me?

Two of my best friends got pregnant right when I had “planned” to this fall. They are now due to have their babies in a month or two. And while I am so happy for them, it is hard to know I could have been right there with them. This was supposed to be something we went through together and I feel like I have missed the boat. They sailed off into the sunset and I am still stuck on the island.

I am so fortunate to have the most amazing sweet little boy. I have had thoughts recently of what if he is our only child and that is hard to grapple with. My husband and I always talked about having 3 and so thinking that there won’t be more breaks my heart. But in another sense, I am so grateful that we were able to have one that we can love so much with our whole entire heart.

I don’t know what the future holds and honestly, I need to come to terms with that.

It’s out of my control and that almost brings a little bit of peace. I need to trust that what’s meant to be, will be. Let go of the reigns and just take care of myself with hopes that as my body continues to heal, maybe just maybe, it will open to growing a new life.

Things That Have Helped Me While Struggling to Get Pregnant a Second Time

  1. Sharing my struggles with family and friends.
  2. Taking a break from trying for a month.
  3. Trying not to monitor my cycle too closely.
  4. Taking care of myself. Nourishing and moving my body and resting when needed.
  5. Continuing to live my life and not putting my life on hold.
  6. Scheduling regular appointments with my therapist.
  7. Dry needling, Chiro and PT for chronic pain.
  8. Seeing a nutritionist.

This can be a difficult and sensitive subject to talk about, but if you are comfortable feel free to share your own experiences and thoughts in the comments.

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  1. Elizabeth Sloane wrote:

    Thanks for sharing this Kelley, it can be so hard to talk about. I’ve gone through the same thing over the last few years, and it has been really lonely and hard. God, I hate how much PMS and pregnancy symptoms mirror each other, it’s torture!

    I’ve come to accept now that we will only have 1 child, and I try really hard to focus on the positives of that (there are many!). But it’s not what my heart wants, and I think I will always mourn what could have been.

    I’m wishing you patience and peace, and for your body to get exactly where it needs to be exactly when it needs to.

    3.31.23 | Reply
    • Megan wrote:

      Sending you care! I’ve lived this story too. And it is so lonely, especially since people sort of forget that secondary infertility is a thing and you are constantly confronted with all of the people around you who go on to have second (or third…) kids seemingly so easily.

      I think I will always mourn that we never did have that second child that we so wanted and the sibling our only child longs for.

      3.31.23 | Reply
      • Elizabeth Sloane wrote:

        Hugs right back to you! I think the sibling thing is the hardest for me. I can’t get over the fact that once her parents are gone, my daughter will have no family left. Breaks my heart every time. Of course I hope she’ll build a family of her own, but she deserves both!

        3.31.23 | Reply
    • Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sure this has been so hard for you to let go of the idea of baby #2. Keep on cuddling that sweet child you have! Sending lots of love your way!

      4.3.23 | Reply
  2. Allie wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your journey! It took my husband and I almost 2 years to conceive our first child (we are due in June!). In the end we used a mixture of medical intervention (IUI) and holistic intervention (acupuncture, nutrition, etc.). The best advice I can give is something you already mentioned but to continue to live your life fully. Give yourself a couple days around your period to grieve and then let yourself continue to move forward (so much easier said than done!). My husband and I look back on the infertility years as very challenging but so rewarding for our relationship and the experiences we put together during that time. I hope some of this helped

    3.31.23 | Reply
    • Yes, continuing to live life is so important! You can’t put life on hold for something you can’t control or even be certain will happen. This is so hard to come to terms with! I so appreciate your advice and sharing your own journey. Thank you Congrats on your baby to come! Sending lots of love your way.

      4.3.23 | Reply
  3. V wrote:

    Wow, my TTC experience mirrors this so closely; our timelines for #2 were different by just a few months. It immediately struck me that your first sentence mentioned it had been 8 months- I finally recently conceived after 9. The 2WW, symptom spotting, and hope/disappointment cycle each month is brutal. Thank you for sharing this and I’m rooting for you.

    3.31.23 | Reply
    • Yes, it seems there are so many of us in similar situations! Congrats to you and sending you lots of love and good health for your pregnancy. Thank you for sharing

      4.3.23 | Reply
  4. Megan wrote:

    Thanks for sharing. TTC and interpreting every little twinge you feel in your body takes a mental toll for sure. We ran into unexplained second infertility and spent years trying to have a second before ultimately deciding that for my mental health I needed to make peace with it and walk away. I hesitated to even write this because I don’t want to be a Debbie downer, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you want but that’s ok (really, really, really hard, but ok).
    Best of luck to you and my advice is that if you think something is off, start down the path of getting it checked out and assessing your options sooner rather than later.

    3.31.23 | Reply
    • I’m so glad you shared your story, Megan. It is so important for everyone to share and know they are not alone in whatever outcome happens. I’m so glad you were able to make peace with it, but I’m sure it was so difficult to get to that point. I appreciate your honesty and openness. Lots of love to you.

      4.3.23 | Reply
  5. Ashley wrote:

    Kelley thank you so much for sharing your story. We had a really hard time getting pregnant with our second, and even had a miscarriage. We very easily got pregnant the first time – and naively thought it’d be easier this time around.

    Knowing other women had gone through this made me feel so much less lonely and I seriously hope you know that you’re in my thoughts. This was so courageous of you to share and I know it’s going to help other women.

    3.31.23 | Reply
    • Thank you so much, Ashley. I really appreciate your kind words! I’m glad this post is helping others going through or have been through something similar. It can truly feel so isolating! Lots of love to you!

      4.3.23 | Reply
  6. Angie Coyne wrote:

    Kelley!!! There’s is nothing more frustrating than trying to get pregnant. It’s the biggest mind f$&% of all time. People always assumed I would have 3 kids and are surprised I didn’t (because I always said I wanted to!) but after going through hell trying to have a successful second pregnancy, when I FINALLY gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby, I made the decision to never go back to that kind of heartache and anguish. It was the biggest relief! Everyone has their own unpredictable journey and letting go of control is SO hard but it’s really the best way to cope. Also 8 months is STILL considered a totally normal timeframe. After 2 miscarriages I was told again and again by my beloved midwives that it was normal and there probably wasn’t anything really wrong. It made me kinda mad to hear because I wanted a solution, but they were right. Anyway, the point is that for many, many women, it just takes time…and more than a comfortable amount of heartache. Love you, Sis. It’s amazing you’re putting yourself out there and being a part of a much needed open conversation.

    3.31.23 | Reply
    • You are so right, Angie! Letting go of control is SO hard! The heartache and time can be hard but hopefully it will all work out in the end Love you!

      4.3.23 | Reply
  7. Sofie wrote:

    The first thing I thought when reading the headline was, omg, finally someone who understands. Just got my period today which marks month 9 of ttc without any succes. We as well have a son (conceived on honeymoon without even ‘trying’) who means the world to us and we would love to give him a sibling. Every month that goes by I think about the growing age gap (he’s born in December 2020) and my age as well (turn 35 in may). All my friends are pregnant, I don’t get it. I have the healthiest lifestyle and it brings me … ‘nothing’. 2 months ago my husband and I ran some tests. Which showed nothing abnormal. I had a emergency cs the first time and sometimes wonder if that is to blame. Anywho, if 3 months hobby without further success I will visit my doctor again. I’m gonna give acupuncture a shot over the next month but my heart would break if our son would remain our only kid. I feel that the longing for a second child is even more intense than for my first child, probably because i now know what I would miss. At the other hand, I keep positive thinking this month will be the month I won’t have a blanco test. Good luck to you and I hope we both get our babies. Thanks for sharing. It means the world to me and especially on ‘cd 1’

    4.1.23 | Reply
    • I’m so sorry to hear you are going through all of this as well. I’m glad my post helped to make you feel less alone though. It is so hard and frustrating! Sending lots of love and positivity your way!

      4.3.23 | Reply
  8. Kendra Gally wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this – on month 6 of TTC for #2, also thinking I know by body so well now and getting played every month when that twinge was actually just PMS.

    Take care.

    4.1.23 | Reply
    • Thank you for sharing, Kendra. I’m so sorry you are going through this! Sending you lots of love and positive energy.

      4.3.23 | Reply
  9. Kelly wrote:

    Your experience is similar to mine. I got pregnant right away with my first and waited 20 months before we started trying for our second in hopes of having a baby in the spring. We tried for almost a year before I really tuned into my body. I started to suspect stress was playing a role. Along with having a toddler, my job was really mentally and emotionally exhausting. I was really fortunate to be able to take some time off from my career and I found out I was pregnant the month after I quit! It seems like a distant memory – that baby #2 I was trying for is 15 and just started driver’s ed today (and his older sister heads to college this fall). But your post brings back so many memories of all the emotions I went through though, the hypervigilance over every symptom, the tears with the negative tests, the feeling that my body was failing me, and trying to resign myself to the fact that I may only have one child. I hope for you that they will be distant memories one day as well as you watch your kids launch themselves into adulthood. Definitely cheering you on!

    4.3.23 | Reply
    • Thank you for this perspective, Kelly! Crazy how things can feel so big in the moment and when we look back on it it’s hard to remember it feeling so hard. Fingers crossed for good things to come! And congrats on your two growing children, nearing adulthood!

      4.5.23 | Reply

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