One thing about this adoption stuff is that it fills a mother’s life with lies.
I lie whenever I fill out a form asking how many children I have. Two or three? Boys or girls? How do I answer that honestly?
I lie to the Good Professor’s teacher. “Yes, Mrs. S., the boys are very excited to finally have a sister.” I don’t tell her that they already have a sister.
I lie to my face-to-face friends who don’t know about my first daughter. “Were you this sick when you were pregnant with your other children?” “Not with my boys” I say, omitting the fact that I was hardly sick at all when I was pregnant with her.
I lie to my online friends at mothering.com. They know this is my fourth pregnancy (which is a lot more than many of my friends in real life know). They just think I “lost” my daughter at nine months, which is true. I did. I don’t tell them how I lost her. I lie to them because some of them have babies who have died in infancy. I know it wouldn’t sit well with them to tell them that I ache just as much for my child lost to adoption as they do for the child they lost to death. I know they wouldn’t understand that my arms are just as empty, the hole in my heart just as large.
I lie to the lady drawing my blood. “So is this your first child?” “No”, I say, screwing up my courage to be honest for once, thinking the anonymity of the situation will afford me a bit of honest communication. “This is my fourth. I have a daughter and two sons.” “How old are they?” Taking a deep breath and plunging on I reply, “Almost 18, 13, and 5.” “Who is the oldest?” she asks. “Um…my daughter.” “Wow – that’s quite a spread. She must be quite a big help to you around the house.” I laugh nervously, not sure what to say other than, “Well, you know teenagers…”
I lie to the ultrasound tech. “So is this your first daughter?” After my experience with getting my blood drawn, I say, “Yes.” “Wow, three boys and now a girl. I bet you are so thrilled to finally be having a little girl!” More nervous laughter from me.
But I can’t lie to the doctor. I have to tell him what really happened to her. I have to tell him because maybe then he will understand why I am so adamant about making sure that this baby stays with me every. single. second. after she is born and that she is never to leave my line of sight. Maybe it will help him understand why I have a near-neurotic need to make sure I have at least one arm free from the operating table restraints to hold her after she is born. Maybe it will help him have a bit more compassion with me and my heightened sense of impending disaster with this pregnancy.
But then again, maybe not.
At this point, he knows I have had three live births, my babies were all healthy, and the pregnancy and deliveries uneventful. I have avoided filling in the details because I just don’t want to go there, but now I realize I have too. I can’t lie to him about what happened to her, to us. He needs to know why his patient is a wee bit of a nut-job some days.
My hope is that some day I will be able to live a fully integrated and authentic life with every reason to tell our truth. I just hope it is sooner than later.