Don’t call us, we’ll call you

February 10, 2012


Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , , , , — llcall @ 7:10 pm

I wrote this more than a month ago, during one of those long, sleepless nights, but Neal and I felt that the time was not right to post it.  But it feels like time now.

I’ve been bargaining.  Pretty much every day for the last year.  Bargaining with myself, with Neal, with God, sometimes even with Addison (although it seems futile until she’s at least two).  I’m trying to figure out how to get another child into our little family, and let me just say, it’s a toughie.

The thing about bargaining is that it often just escalates when you actually get what you want.  I remember after the miscarriage and the difficulties around trying to get Addison here, I must have told God a hundred times, “Please, if I can just have this one baby, I’ll be satisfied.”  We asked for a miracle to get Addison here, healthy, and it seemed like too much to order two or three miracles, evenly-spaced.  And so in the last weeks of pregnancy I was often recording my thoughts and feelings,  hoping that I had gleaned all that I could from the experience in case it never happened again.  But fast forward a year, when my baby was rapidly reaching toddlerhood, and I just couldn’t imagine that I was never going to be pregnant or breastfeed or have an infant again.  I started to say, “If I’m willing to be horribly itchy for 40 straight weeks and hardly sleep for 8 months and vomit until a month before delivery and lose another organ (I could still give up my gallbladder and one kidney and be good to go, right?) and endure doctors and specialists telling me devastating and alarmist things, can I just have one more baby and live through it?  Just a little one?”  I tell myself/Neal/whoever’s around that I would do it for Addison because she needs a sibling.  And although I do feel pretty strongly about the blessing of siblings and the important role they can play in each other’s lives, really I know I want another baby for me as much as for her.  But I’m telling you, we keep hitting up against brick walls of various shapes and sizes and forms.  Neal and my parents (and probably God) think there’s a lesson there, but somehow I have been fighting that with every ounce of mental and emotional energy I have.  And so I bargain some more.

And then I create spreadsheets: timelines, financial projections, childcare possibilities if I was too sick to care for Addison, contingency plans, contingency plans for the contingency plans.  I’m just sure I can make this work if  I plan carefully enough.  Or just never stop talking about it.

It’s good that I don’t think I’ve passed through an anger stage but nonetheless it’s been an exhausting year of bargaining.  And getting nowhere.  But still, until a few days ago, I just refused to consider the possibility that we were meant to have only one child.  It’s not as if anything momentous really happened, but while contemplating the latest considerations, I let my mind go somewhere I had never let it go before: what would the benefits be of having only Addison.  Part of me was mad at myself for even thinking about it, but I can’t deny that I could see some upside.  And I only thought about it for 45 seconds before I forced myself to stop.  And then last Sunday in Relief Society, the teacher, who was 20 years old and teaching to an audience that was, by and large, much older asked the question, “What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 20-year-old self?”  And of course, I said what I always say: This too shall pass.  Because when I was 20, everything felt more like the end of the world.  I’ll never be in love like this again.  I’m going to die today (I have almost died a couple of times, so that’s not quite as hyperbolic as it sounds).  I’m never going to feel like getting out of bed again.  But now I’m 32 and I’ve loved (and lost) multiple people and even the people I’ve been able to keep loving, there’s always bruises and scrapes along the way, but life still went on.  And I haven’t died.  And I don’t feel like getting out of bed a lot of days, but I (usually) do.  And somehow when I was making my comment to this 20-year-old teacher, I was actually making it to my 32-year-old self.  If I only have one child in this little earthly family, life will still go on.  Maybe there will be denial, and anger, and depression (probably some weeping, since that’s my specialty), and heaven forbid, more bargaining, but eventually, eventually, this too shall pass.

So while I’m not completely giving up on one more little Call, for the first time since all this bargaining began I’m willing to consider that a life with one child could still be a good life . . . for all of us.  That Addison could be like her mother and make lifelong friends who feel every bit like the sisters she never had.  That even though there might always be this little sad space in my heart, with time, it will get smaller and it won’t smart quite so much.  That perhaps Addison alone is meant to heal this new wound, just as her name promises.



  1. Very raw, Lindsay, I love it. The one thing I have realized is that although siblings are awesome- what truly makes a child’s life whole and grounded is the foundation set by the parents (relationship, religion, etc). And you and Neal are giving her that already. And considering how social and out there Addison is- I’m sure she’ll have her life long friends- not to mention lots of fun girl cousins, right! 🙂

    Comment by Ishkhanoohie — February 10, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  2. I’m glad you posted this. Thank you for putting it “out there.” I can relate to so many of these feelings and this process.

    Comment by v. blanchard — February 10, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  3. I never quite made it to the acceptance phase, not truly. I remember writing almost an identical post as I was vacillating between anger and bargaining.
    I sincerely hope that the peace and calm you feel will endure for as long as it needs to. The irony of reproduction will always make me a little sad.

    Comment by Emily T — February 10, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

  4. You are beloved no matter what the future holds. Perhaps the lesson here is that you are suppose to wrestle with this (which is different from bargaining, even different from acceptance), and wrestle with faith and trust. Jacob/Israel did it, Abraham did it, and womenfolk have done it since time began. Baby chicks try it when emerging from the shell. Ultimately it builds character, we claim blessings, and we create realities that serve our life purpose.

    Don’t work too hard at planning spreadsheets (as if you could be stopped!) because Providence may have a completely different scenario than you surmise. I speak this as someone who had high-risk pregnancies, NO support system (family was never close or available), knew devastating isolation with many heartbreaks; I had my own projections. The true surprise is that angels do step in, miracles happen, and STILL we are left swirling–wrestling with faith, searching for our core self, and shocked we might survive. It hurts! The former is the question/reality we choose (or which chooses us), the latter is the struggle that brings tensile grace/flexibility teaching us not to break. Be elastic. Remember Jacob limped after wrestling, yet he laid claim to a higher path. Oops, acknowledging that may be premature. Forgive me. You are beloved no matter what the future holds.

    Comment by Lorie Call — February 11, 2012 @ 8:34 am

  5. Oh, this post button! I tried to go back and delete “Oops, acknowledging that may be premature. Forgive me.” To no avail. 😦
    Can it be done?
    Please read the above without that part. It makes more sense. You are beloved no matter what the future holds, with none, one, or more children.
    With time, we will discuss what the Jacob/Israel wrestling story means. It goes to the heart of my post. Love you!!!

    Comment by Lorie Call — February 11, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  6. Lindsay, I love you. Sometimes I worry that I’m missing some of life because I don’t ponder and reflect the way you do. Thanks for teaching me how through your blog!

    Comment by Nikki — February 13, 2012 @ 6:11 am

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