Friday, July 06, 2007


I think I may have sounded overly flip, or cold, or uncaring yesterday, when I said that I hadn't worked very hard to have children.

Please, allow me to clarify. Actually getting my children here, bringing them to my family, was not the kind of struggle that many parents have experienced. There were no struggles with infertility, there was no gut-wretching or hand-wringing or wondering if I would ever have a child.

That said, parenthood itself, actual MOTHERING, the act of being a MOTHER…that…that has been hard. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, to be truthful.

Becoming a mother was easy. Being a mother is not. I’d like to think that actually being a mother might come easier for those who struggled much harder to become a mother. But I don’t know. Is it?

Having admitted that I do not find motherhood easy, I find myself, on occasion, faced with a feeling of melancholy, a feeling that I have trouble articulating.

Eight years ago, when Gabriel was just a vaguely formed creature, tap-dancing madly on my bladder, I believed him to be a her. I was quite certain that the child I was carrying was Veronica.

We had chosen the name Veronica for a girl, and had narrowed down our choices for a boy to three – Gabriel, Sebastian, or…Josiah? Or was it Jonas? (I cannot remember and it’s not really relavent anymore.) I was sure it didn’t matter, because I was carrying Veronica.

Except that I wasn’t carrying Veronica at all.

On the day I learned that Veronica was, in fact, Gabriel (or Sebastian or maybe Jonas), I was sad. I cannot remember how long I was sad, just that I was sad for a while, and then after a while I wasn’t sad anymore, and I just assumed that I would have Veronica someday, and then Gabriel was born…Gabriel, my sweet, sleepless, beautiful boy. My charming, sleepless, funny little boy. My stubborn, sleepless, strong-willed son.

Did I mention sleepless? Like, three years of sleeplessness?

And being a mother was hard. And being in law school was hard, but, not as hard as being a mother.

By the time we began to talk about having another child, we settled on an international adoption, and I had not thought about Veronica for a very long time. The child I so briefly imagined I was having. The daughter I so briefly imagined I was having.

And I won’t tell you that I dwell on this...Spectre? Non-person? Veronica…I don’t dwell on this un-child, this might-have-been, this never-tried-for-daughter, very often at all.

But, there is one child who conjures up the essence of Veronica for me, and that is the daughter of my friend CB. (Who is probably reading this right now and wondering why the hell I am bringing this up, and all I can say is that I need to get it out of my head). CB’s daughter, K~, was born only a few months after Gabriel was born. Nine weeks later, I think. So, perhaps she would remind me of the non-Veronica in any case, being as she was a girl baby born around the same time as my son. But, I think the real reason is the fact that K~ looks EXACTLY like her older brother, only, you know, like a girl. And for some reason, some reason I do not understand, looking at her and her brother together, makes me wonder what Gabriel’s biological sister would have looked like. Because I think Veronica, had we made even a cursory attempt to actually bring her into being, probably would have looked as much like Gabriel as K~ looks like her brother. And I’m wondering if it’s possible to miss a child I never tried to have.

You’re all thinking I’m off my damn rocker, right now, don’t you? You may be right. This is a particularly bad and horrible day, a day for remembering, a day for thinking about what might have been and what ought to have been, and for regretting the seemingly innocuous choices of others that seem irrelevant until they become unfairly tragic – like, oh, just by way of example, when a very dearly beloved person decides to stop for a cup of coffee that ultimately leads to his untimely death at the hands of a sausage truck driver who was changing a CD instead of looking at the road...just by way of example.*

So, I find myself, sitting in my office today, feeling sad for someone who was and who, by all rights, still should be; and sad for someone who never was, whose existence was only fleetingly imagined for a short period of time before an ultrasound tech confirmed her to be not-her. And simultaneously wondering if feeling sad about the Veronica-who-wasn’t, is some kind of unforgivable betrayal to the daughter I DO have. The Lana-who-is, so to speak.

You might note that Lana is not named Veronica. And that is because, well, there are MANY MANY reasons why Lana is not named Veronica – the most important being that her name is LANA. But, also, even if we had given her an entirely new name at the time of her adoption, it would not have been Veronica. She might have been a Sophie, or an Anya, but, not Veronica. Because that is not who she is. She is Lana, and I’m learning to love her, and she astounds me every day. And I honestly hope that she never knows that I ever wondered what might have been. Because, truly, if we had conjured Veronica into being, Lana would not be with us now. Of that much I am certain, and that would have been a sort of tradgedy in and of itself.

*TTT…it’s been six years. You are still missed. I wish you could see your daughter’s face – she’s so beautiful it could break your heart.



Blogger mam said...

You write so wonderfully and honestly, LM. Thank you for your truthfulness about's good to hear a real voice, validating on my hard days and the hard days to come as we begin parenting, and giving assurance too that the good days -- possibly even the easy days? -- are out there too.

Friday, July 06, 2007 5:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...


While going through IF treatments we conjured up a Charlotte. A beautiful, red haired blue eyed little girl (being that we are both irish with blonde hair and redheaded mothers) that was going to be the result of all the money, turmoil and years of trying to concieve.

She does not exist. Nor will she ever exist. And I miss her sometimes. Every once in a while I will find myself thinking about biology and having children that don't look like we do. And while now it seems irrelevant, it does creep in sometimes, especially with medical stuff.

You know I got your back with the sleepless thing. And being a mom, I guess motherhood, is one of the hardest things I have ever made an attempt at but as you say, the kids amaze us and that has to make the freaking NON-sleeping worth it.

I miss Charlotte sometimes like you miss Veronica, would she have slept, probably not.

Friday, July 06, 2007 9:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

For me being a mom is harder than it was to become a mom (ok, at least the first two times)... I have a friend who waited over 8 years to become a mom, so probably for her that part was harder... but then her son is only 11 months old, so the jury's probably still out on that one.

About Veronica... I think that's part of life, the might-have-beens... I still think about the child I miscarried from time to time. I'm convinced he was a boy, though I have no proof of that whatsoever - and I didn't re-use his name when it came time to name my other 2 sons. Somehow it seems that name was already used, you know?

Saturday, July 07, 2007 1:16:00 AM  
Blogger S. said...


I wonder about having a healthy biological son, with 46 chromosomes. About taking a healthy baby home from the hospital with me and not visiting a baby in the NICU. About having a son who didn't need a special needs trust. Not, of course, that I don't love L. just as he is...but it does feel like a betrayal, to him and to our future have these thoughts. Fortunately they don't come too often. And if it wasn't for the experiences we have had, we wouldn't have recognized that our daughter is in Vietnam.

Sunday, July 08, 2007 8:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>And I’m wondering if it’s possible to miss a child I never tried to have.<<<<<

Yes. Absolutely. It is more than possible to miss a child that you never tried to have.

I am a bio-mom to 2, a step-mom to 4 and a PAP for VN adoption.

I know, in a pratical sense, that we will never be able to bring more than one or two IA children into our home.

But I have room for (and sometimes mourn for) all the children I could love, if I had unlimited resources.


And Veronica could never be Lana. It is just as you said, she. is. Lana.

Love your posts, LawMommy. Thanks.

Sunday, July 08, 2007 9:25:00 AM  

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