How to Embrace “What Is”: My Journey With Secondary Infertility

I never imagined I’d ever be ready to talk about this.

As many of you know, I have the most incredible thirteen-year-old son. Then, eight years ago when I remarried, I was blessed with not only my awesome husband but with his amazing daughter from his first marriage. 

However, in those eight years since our marriage, countless well-meaning friends and acquaintances have asked us:

“Don’t you want to have more children?”

Or, “Are you planning for more kids?”

And this gut-wrenching one, “Where is the rest of your family?” 

If you have ever been in this situation, you know just how painful questions like that are. Today, many of us are still struggling with infertility in silence and shame―without the space to share what we are really feeling deep down.

In this week’s vlog, I want to break that silence and share my journey of secondary infertility with you. 

Infertility itself affects about one in eight families, which is 12.5% of the population. But did you know that over half of these couples are actually struggling with secondary infertility? They were able to have a baby in the beginning, but for some reason are experiencing difficulties the next time around.

Now, nobody likes seeing their biggest pains, challenges, and heartbreaks of life in terms of statistics.

But the reason I share these numbers is because I think it gives us a little bit of validation and comfort, just to know that we’re not alone.

And there have been many times on this journey that I have felt very, very alone.

I’ve been in a cycle of highs and lows, hoping for a new treatment or some miracle, only to have my hopes crash down all around me. There have been moments (and they haven’t been brief) when all I’ve wanted was to give up and just throw up my walls so that it wouldn’t hurt so much.

I had two consecutive miscarriages after my son was born. By the time I married my now-husband, I was already familiar with the heartbreak of loss and the special pain that comes from losing a baby.

However, I’d always been able to get pregnant easily, so I thought we’d be pregnant within the first year of marriage. And I couldn’t wait to start our new family together.

I was 35. No spring chicken but not super old.

The first year went by.

Then the second.

And the third.

We did traditional Western medicine, tried alternative methods, and sought advice and expertise from anyone and everyone we could find.

Now, I’m 43.

And we’re still here. Two combined children. But none of our own.

I have no judgment for the people who ask questions. It’s natural. I don’t take it personally. But it is quite painful and exhausting to have those conversations. (And I’ve yet to find a polite way to respond without sounding rude.)

But the hardest of all?

Seeing my son lose hope.

Ever since I remarried, my son has been so thrilled to have a little brother or sister. But as the years pass, he’s gone from hopeful, to a little bit bitter.

And it just rips my heart out.

Lately, I’ve been working hard to validate his emotions, because even if we were to miraculously have a child, it wouldn’t be the same. He’s lost those early bonding years of playing tag, sharing a room, and, yes, even fighting.

Please know, I feel extremely grateful to have my life and my family. I would never forgive myself if I came across as unappreciative or unaware of all of the blessings that we have.

Still, I have this huge piece tucked inside myself that whispers, “What if?”

What if this one piece had been different?

Can you hear it?

I am a big believer in miracles. And I hope that one day I will be making a video to tell you the story of that miracle.

But, in the meantime, I’m also realizing that an entire decade has gone by in which I put parts of myself on hold, thinking that there’d be another baby coming soon.

And I can’t keep doing that.

I can’t put myself, my life, my hopes and goals on hold, thinking “what if.”

My next chapter is focused on embracing “what is.” Taking a look at my life right now, and fully accepting and allowing myself to be where I am.

Without shame or judgment or guilt.

The point of life isn’t waiting for a “picture perfect ending.” This beautiful, fabulous, chaotic, messy world is what makes us who we are.

Soooooo…I’m working on being whole and complete with that.

To be as ecstatic right now as if I already had my happily ever after.

Wherever you are, you can be strong and powerful and amazing and fabulous in everything that you do.

I just don’t want you to feel alone in your journey. Because no matter how grateful you are to have what you have, chances are there might be a little piece inside, screaming that your story or your family isn’t complete.

And I want you to know, I hear you. I feel you. You are not alone. If you don’t have a space where you feel you can be heard, you can reach out to me any time. I will always be here and ready and holding that space.

For you.

Looking for more?




Chaya Ben-Shabat
Chaya is a mom, entrepreneur, success coach, athlete, student, dreamer, and world traveler.   She is also the founder and CEO of an up-and-coming international school system, designed to revolutionize global education.  She works with highly determined women to help them bust through their obstacles, discover and channel their inner superpowers, and master the tools and skills necessary to design and create the life of their dreams.

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