2014 March

Secondary Infertility – the most secret of ‘secret women’s business’

Are you trying for baby number two and wondering if it will ever happen? If you are, you’re not alone. One in 5 couples have trouble conceiving their second child. Secondary Infertility is definitely the most secret of all ‘secret women’s business’ today. No one talks about it. Family members don’t understand. Saying things like ‘just go away on holiday and relax’ (for the record, this is one of the most unhelpful things you can say to someone trying to conceive.) Infertile women trying to have their first baby hate you and think you should be grateful for the child you have. Friends who are popping out number twos and even threes like smarties say unhelpful things like ‘I just need to look at my husband and I’m pregnant’ (Yes, thank you for that). It’s amazing how insensitive some people can be without even realising it.

One of the huge difficulties of trying to not focus on it is that you’re constantly surrounded by the paraphernalia of childhood and you can’t escape. Toys and books, bibs and plastic cutlery are ever present. The dreaded school pick ups surrounded by prams and toddlers of various ages combined with the complaints about coping with two or even three children under 5 make you even more desperate. And it’s not surprizing that it hasn’t happened yet – mothers of small children are often exhausted, breastfeeding, juggling work and child care, and sex often takes a back seat. Existing children can also unintentionally cause anxiety asking ‘do you have a baby in your tummy yet mummy’? Women tell me it’s like living in a constant sense of grief and sadness. They desperately feel that they are an incomplete family, there is a person missing that needs to join them.

Another common fear is that the age gap between existing children and their next might be too wide and therefore they won’t be close. This puts even more pressure on what is already a stressful situation of conceiving within a specific timeframe. As the years go by that sense of urgency is heightened. But the reality is that even in big families you can’t guarantee that siblings will get on – there is no ‘perfect’ age gap and these thoughts only serve to make us more anxious and stressed.

So how can yoga help? Sadly yoga will not get you pregnant (if you have structural problems like blocked fallopian tubes, yoga cannot fix it). But what yoga can do is help you to make the journey a little easier to navigate. In combination with IVF, herbs or acupuncture, yoga can provide practical self-help tools to find peace during a stressful time. When we combine simple breathing techniques that calm the nervous system with poses that bring blood to the reproductive organs and balance hormones we start to take back some control. It is the feeling of being out of control that makes us the most stressed. By doing our practice; our poses, meditation and visualisations, yoga helps us to look at our emotions and notice how we really feel. We are able to explore our secret fears; our sadness, guilt, frustrations, anxiety, and how we might reframe these feelings so that we can live life a little lighter, calmer and in a more grounded way. Maybe then this most secret of ‘secret women’s business’ can be more understood and openly sympathised with, so that those who suffer feel they are not so alone and can get much needed support from family, friends and the wider community.



  • user_white c/o Qi Yoga, 9 The Corso, Manly, Sydney 2095
    Tel: (02) 9976 6880
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