PAGE # 26

Probably around 11:30 pm

There's no easy way to differentiate whether Tom is actually sleeping or merely trying to.  He's a darn light sleeper--even the slightest whisper has the potential to wake him.  Sometimes I just put my face up close near his and open my eyes real wide.  If he's awake, he can sense I'm looking at him and will usually answer with an exhausted, "What now?" And if he's asleep--well, at least my nocturnal stare is not powerful enough to disturb the man.  I consider it one of my best communication strategies.  

On this night, however, I was staring wide-eyed at Tom, but he was not responding.  I cheated a little by blowing on his nose, but he was either in an unusually deep slumber or had simply had enough of me for the night.

I rolled back over toward my side of the bed, but I couldn't fall asleep.  I was thinking about a lie--and even though it was probably no big deal--it was troublesome enough to keep me awake.  

The day we met Kendra and Johnny at the attorney's office, Kendra cried on behalf of her 5 year-old son, Alex.  He was struggling to understand the adoption plan.  Why wasn't his baby sister going to live with them?  

Shelley, the attorney, had addressed this by suggesting the following:
"You just explain to him that another mommy has a broken tummy and..."
"I'm not infertile," I interjected.
"But a pregnancy would be dangerous for you, right?" Shelley inquired.
"Well, the doctors aren't saying that it would be dangerous for me.  No one has said I can't have another pregnancy.  I just have really hard pregnancies.  I have tons of huge fibroid tumors and really bad nausea and vomiting," I clarified.  
(I've suffered a bunch of uncomfortable symptoms since my last pregnancy, mostly due to some complicated endocrine problems, but no medical professional has declared me infertile.) 
"Fibroids!" Shelley exclaimed.  "I almost died during my pregnancy because of fibroids," the attorney said.  "I almost bled to death."
 I lost track of what Shelley said next.  I'm sure I did because I remember thinking how I never knew fibroids could be that bad.  They caused a lot of pain and gave me an irritable uterus (actual medical terminology), but had I really escaped a possible hemorrhage?  

Then, earlier on this day, Paula helped Kendra explain the adoption to Alex.  And she used Shelley's broken tummy tale.
"But that's not true!" I nearly shouted into the phone.  "I made it clear to Shelley--and in front of Kendra too--that we're not adopting because of infertility.  Did Shelley tell you I'm infertile?"
I did not want to be misrepresented to Kendra.  What if she didn't want to give her baby to someone who could potentially bear another biological child?  What if she only wanted a couple who was struggling with infertility?  I was happy Kendra picked us, but I did not want to be chosen under false pretenses.  And honestly, as much as I disliked the attorney, I really didn't think (at least back then) she had purposely lied about my fertility status.  I figured she probably dealt mainly with infertile couples and had made an honest mistake.  
"I don't like that, Paula.  It's not true."
"Kendra knows that.  But this was a developmentally appropriate way of explaining the adoption to her son.  This is not an ethical problem.  It's just the best way of explaining the loss of his baby sister."
I had dropped the issue after Paula provided the rationale for the falsehood.  Me and my broken tummy.  Okay.     

But that night, as I tried to fall asleep, the long term implications of such a lie struck me. What if Kendra agreed to an open adoption?  I hoped this baby girl could grow up knowing her two brothers.  But wouldn't Alex, the 5 year-old, despise me?  Why should someone take away his baby sister because of a broken tummy?  Perhaps he would worry about being given away himself?  Would he develop a fear of women with wounded abdomens?

Even now, I can get a bit wild with my imagination.  Best case scenario: Alex grows up to be an abdominal surgeon.  Worst case:  He's already throwing toy dolls out the window.  And I mean Barbie type dolls--not baby dolls.  I'm worried all this might inflict a severe case of misogyny.  

I understand that the reader might find my thought process somewhat ridiculous.  On the other hand, a five year old has hardly any power or control over his life, his surroundings, the people he is exposed to.  A five year old doesn't even like to share a toy!  How dare anyone usurp that boy's absolutely appropriate grief and suggest he have empathy for some strange woman!  

I get that the circumstances of his sister's conception were beyond the little boy's comprehension.  But really?  Was it really developmentally appropriate to tell this to the boy?    

I intended to discuss it with my husband.  And with my friend Crystal.  But now, I can't recall if I discussed the issue with either of them.  It was all just so much.  I wasn't prepared for this experience--the process of adopting was not matching up with what I had envisioned.  And a  lot of the details are only coming to me now, months later, as I'm writing about it. 

It's almost like I suffered from a case of psychogenic amnesia.  Memory is crashing in on me and I can't write fast enough now.

And I have a therapy background, resources, a support system.    

What about Kendra? 

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Your thought process is not ridiculous. You are being very sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of a caring little boy.