The Lies I Tell


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.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Lies I Tell

  1. Well, let’s just put it this way. I was “sealed” or baptized at 11 – the age of understanding. I remember it clearly and sunday school – since my mother was the sunday school teacher.

    I believe, as I read your post, that the fundamental differences are exactly that – you are 37 and I am over a decade older than you. Many things have changed in the last 30 years.

    As you see, I don’t argue religion. I see the differences and accept them. I know what it was like growing up in the church – way before you were born and what it is like now, there are some very basic differences and now, unlike before there are splinter sects.

    When I was a child, women of suitable age were strongly encouraged, as you say, to marry and have children. That it was only through their marriage and their children that they could hope to be worthy of heaven.

    FYI – I was born after my parents were sealed in the temple in SLC – we went back there when I was 8. I have been there when the choir was performing and have seen all the grounds.

    While I find it interesting, historically, I also find that many of the younger generations are not going to the “same” church I did.

    Be well – have fun.

    • Lori -

      Thank you so much for your response - I appreciate it a great deal. I will have to talk with some of my older women friends about practices from the decade or so before I was born and also research the church publications from that time period (gosh, I love the internet for that reason! Researching in my jammies? Sweet!!!!). I have heard my mother and mother in law talk about the differences between the advice they were given about having children (i.e., have lots of them) and the advice I was given growing up (i.e., have children only if I am able to physically, mentally, and financially care for them) but certainly there was no "requirement" of any kind to have children to get into heaven.

      By the way, the sealing ordinance is a completely separate one from any type of baptismal ordinance. Sealings are performed only in a temple, uniting husband and wife or parents to their children. Baptisms on the other hand, can be performed anywhere a suitable body of water is found - a baptismal font, a river, a pool, the ocean, etc.. Baptism occurs no earlier than the "age of accountability" which the LDS believe to be 8 years of age.

      At any rate, I should go take a shower before the small people around here start waking up and wanting breakfast. Thanks again for your comments!

      M.

  2. Yes, the lies. I hate those. My lies are a slight different as they do come from losing a child to death, but you describe exactly what I go through each time I am asked how many children I have. If I tell the truth, I brace, hoping no further questions are asked (that’s not right) if I lie, I know there will not be further discussion, but the lie sits heavy in my stomach (that’s not right either). I’ve resigned myself to saying “I have eight at home” and leaving it at that.

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