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June 11, 2012

Hunger

Filed under: Adoption, Motherhood, Personal, Pregnancy — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 3:55 pm

I wrote this last Monday, but promptly forgot about it amidst the busy week.

Yesterday I held a just about two-month-old baby during Relief Society. I could hardly take my eyes off her, observing/remembering all the baby things babies do that Miss Addison most decidedly does not do. I forgot how charmed  I am by the little things: watching them gently suck pacifiers (something Addison never actually did — maybe that’s why I don’t remember how cute it is); seeing their lips break into momentary smiles; listening to them grunt, trying to get comfortable (or poop). My right arm felt dead afterward, but it was worth it.

Despite how much I enjoyed it, I realized this surprising fact: I’m not really baby hungry anymore. I still like them, I still want one, but there’s no ache there now. There’s a few newborns at church and I remember seeing the first one come to church in March, at just a few weeks old. His mom picked him up to shush him and I started crying. I just wanted to shush a baby so badly. And not someone else’s where I wasn’t quite sure how he wanted to be held, whether he wanted my shoulder or the crook of my arm. I wanted to shush a baby and know that I was the very best shush-er for that little one. But unless I’m mistaken, I think that was the last time I cried for a baby. And that aching hunger has been replaced by something calm and peaceful: my time will come again. Someday.

I’m surprised at how quickly and gently that ache went away. I thought it would hang on me, maybe drive me back into therapy (not that we could afford that right now). I credit it to God and Addison. She doesn’t let me hug her often or long, but one-and-a-half seconds turns out to be just enough to remind me that I have already been given an incredible gift. (And shenanigans like Saturday’s remind me that it won’t be the worst thing for Addison to be older when a sibling comes along, lest I have another child to manage while fishing her out of fountains.)

But despite the baby hunger dissipating, I still feel some sorrow about pregnancy and labor and delivery. This just doesn’t compute for Neal. In his mind, my pregnancy was 9 months of absolute hell and complete incapacitation. But when I protest with all the things I was able to do, I can only come up with finishing my stats class and going to church.  Being out of bed 7 hours a week for 7 months (fewer after the appendectomy) is not exactly a ringing endorsement for pregnancy. And don’t even get Neal started on the terror of labor.

I remember it all differently, of course. Not that it seems rosy, but it seems amazing, almost magical and so incredibly worthwhile. I still can’t believe that I, of the strange and never-ending health problems from infancy (when I was a baby my parents came into my room once to find me bleeding out my eyes) to now, carried and delivered a girl so robustly healthy that she is forced to run everywhere and sees the doctor only once per year! That is a miracle worth suffering for.

Even while I can think of many advantages to not having another pregnancy, when my mind starts to wander, I routinely picture myself with a big, round belly again. I don’t miss the rash, but I sure do miss that belly (and the little girl punching me from inside it). And when I think about never being part of another labor/delivery, I feel sad. I still read lots of birth stories, but it’s not the same as being there with a laboring women, or myself, watching the intense highs and lows unfold.

Is it weird that I don’t even think about having another biological child anymore, but I do still dream of being pregnant and (most of) what goes along with it?

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12 Comments »

  1. I really do understand that feeling. I was fortunate to be able to have my two kids. But it was easier to decide not to have any more kids than it was accepting I wouldn’t get to be pregnant again. And Nathan kicked my butt. Sometimes I still wish I could have that feeling (the good parts) but it’s fading. And I’m getting to the point where, now I look forward to the day(even though it is still many years away) I can watch my daughter become a mother – whether by adoption or birth. On a side note – I feel like I got cheated on the birthing experience with Nathan. Sure I labored, I felt what it was like to have my water break, but then he was just cut out of me. It took a long time to come to grips with that. So I don’t think it’s weird, I think you’re right that there is this amazing thing some of us get to experience. I’m glad you had the chance 🙂 Addison is a cutie!

    Comment by Enelo — June 11, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    • It’s good to learn more about your experiences, Jolene. It makes me feel hopeful that these feelings will fade in time.

      Comment by llcall — June 12, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

  2. Definitely not weird. There is something miraculous about growing a baby. I mean we become co-creator’s, how awesome is that! And now you get to experience another equal marvel- adoption!

    Comment by Ishkhanoohie — June 11, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    • Well said, lady.

      Comment by llcall — June 12, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  3. I totally get what you’re saying here. This is a weird and very personal thing to leave in the comments section of a blog, but you have created a forum where such revelations seem ok. 🙂 My husband and I have long had a plan for our family: two children, 2-3 years apart, born before I’m 35. Part one of the plan — Archie — was a success. He is 13 months old now. Healthy, happy, the joy of our lives. It’s time to start thinking about baby #2, and I find myself feeling surprisingly sad that I’ll only get to experience that miracle of pregnancy, labor, delivery, etc. one more time unless we change our plans.

    Comment by Chelsey — June 11, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    • Cold and impervious heart? I don’t think so, Chels. Reading your comment made me realize something: I would probably feel this way even if I had 2 pregnancies, or 3, or 4. It would probably always be hard to accept that that part of my life is over.

      Comment by llcall — June 12, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  4. Uhhh bleeding out your eyes? I think we might need more explanation or else you are leaving some of us–ok, ME–a little freaked out 🙂

    Also I don’t think it’s weird at all (answering your last question, not referencing the eyes comment :)). It is perfectly normal to mourn and take longer to grieve over certain parts–the minutiae even–of something that brought you such happiness. It is hard to think of any other experience that is simultaneously so difficult and so joyful–except maybe fostering and adopting. Maybe one day you will mourn your last visit with a social worker….

    Comment by kei02003 — June 12, 2012 @ 2:55 am

    • I’m not sure I can say anything that will be that reassuring about the whole eye-bleeding thing. I don’t think they ever figured out why exactly, and just chalked it up to a strange infection. The real lesson is to be a “squeaky wheel” when it comes to your child’s health (especially if they’re unexplainably bleeding). My mom was that squeaky wheel even though the first doctor/nurses told her to just wait it out. After seeing a specialist, she was told that it was likely that she saved me from full or partial blindness because of her persistence.

      Comment by llcall — June 12, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

      • Wow that’s amazing. And scary!

        Comment by kei02003 — June 12, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

  5. I think I also have mixed feelings here too. I’m wondering if we’ll have more kids biologically, or if adoption would be better. Somehow my body is just not cooperating right now. I wonder about getting pregnant again and then it freaks me out to think of what can happen with all the weird and scary health problems I’m dealing with now and things I know we’ll have to deal with during each pregnancy. I figure that whatever is right, the Lord will lead you to it. Maybe it’s adopting 7 kids like Nikki’s amazing cousin (or maybe just 1 🙂 ), or being a foster parent. Who knows. My brother and sister in law just had a first baby and are considering being foster parents now as well.
    All that aside, I hope you’re doing well. I love you, I miss you, we should video chat sometime. 🙂

    Comment by Sabrina — June 12, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  6. So you’ve probably been told this enough times already, but you’re not weird! I have found myself feeling my abdomen a few times since having E and wishing that the rumbling I felt were a baby moving instead of gas (for more than one reason . . . oh dear!). And I will always mourn not getting to have a vaginal birth.

    Comment by v. blanchard — June 13, 2012 @ 12:27 am

  7. Oh, but I’m glad you’re able to move past the intense baby hunger. That is a really hard thing to feel!

    Comment by v. blanchard — June 13, 2012 @ 12:28 am


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