Lindsay Kimmel

Like the mother that could guide me through this unfamiliar, heart wrenching path of desire and music. I’m using my words to express my longing for motherhood because song has always been a way in for me.

I can fight my feelings and stay up in my head until I hear a piece of music that beckons me down into my bones. That’s what working with Essence has elicited. Cascading into my body, putting words, and melody to my deep maternal longing. I’m endlessly grateful for Essence and her hunger for my own dreams to come to fruition. Having that support is not replaceable. She’s a gem of a human and an incredible musician.

I remember the day I got diagnosed with cancer. Tears blurred the fluorescent hospital lights as I sat there stunned. My body was in a plane but my spirit hadn’t yet arrived. I learned that devastation is both one-thousand tons, and weightless.   It’s hard to describe the fragility of that moment. One tiny poke and I would have shattered. 

I wasn’t sad yet about everything I was about to lose – the symmetry of my face, my able body, my health,  my identity in the world. I wasn’t even sad about dying. I’d be dead. The only thing I immediately mourned was the possibility of becoming a mother. To bring life into the world and experience that depth of love. To give my whole heart to a child or children I’ve been conceptualizing since I was old enough to say, “Mama.” Imagining that ripped away from me at 31 was  too much to grieve. So I didn’t. I looked up fertility doctors on the drive home from my first meeting with my oncologist. 

I had just found out that I was going to endure chemotherapy, radiation, and a daunting surgery. The fertility doctor and I worked out an aggressive regimen that allowed me to complete egg freezing within two weeks so I didn’t have to postpone treatment.  I had a very successful IVF round and the eggs have been on ice ever since.

The image that carried me through the pain was the little baby I’d be holding when it was all over. It’s the place I journeyed each time my  body was rolled into surgeries and MRI machines. While I was poked and prodded and turned into a cancer patient. 

Even in my darkest hours, lying awake at night in my rough cotton gown listening to the incessant beeping in my hospital bed after yet another surgery, I never let go of the possibility of becoming a mom.

Yearning for the love of my unborn child is part of what’s kept me here on this earth. It’s the way I became the protagonist of my own story.

A lot has changed since that terrible day in August of 2018. I went through a divorce, three more surgeries, and more treatment than I could have imagined when I first got sick. 

I’ve learned to live along fault lines. To settle into this home I’ve built on the side of a cliff. I’m continuing to stay in the both/and. I know I could get sick and die, I also know I could stay cancer free and here for a long time. I want to live in the light. I want to choose the better option. Whatever time I do have left I want to use it loving that child with everything I have.

That brings me back to now. It has been over a year of consistent health. I have no cancer in my body. I’ve miraculously found myself in love and in a relationship with a man that’s supportive and fulfilling beyond my wildest dreams.  He, Conor, has the same life philosophy as I do. And he’s going to be my child’s father. 

My oncologist has made it clear that after chemo agents, radiation, and surgeries, it’s not possible to gestate and carry a child. I’ve done a lot of soul searching, and accompanying research, around what comes next. There is more than one way to become a mom. I’ve looked into surrogacy agencies and unfortunately the cost is unattainable. It’s something I can’t afford at this point. 

It’s hard to explain the desire to want to have our biological child versus other pathways for motherhood and fatherhood. Our doctor said it best, “every women deserves to be a mother, every person deserves to be a parent, but sometimes our bodies get in the way.” We could be capable and loving parents of an adopted child, and we may still adopt a child one day, but while we are both young and able, we want to try to have our own biological child, even if by unconventional means.

In Conner’s words:

When I met Lindsay, I told her on our first date that I wanted to be a father. We talked about how we’d both been divorced, how we’d both wanted to be parents. This was before learning of her harrowing struggle against cancer, her treatments and surgeries, and the emotional and physical tolls she’d endured.

Seeing how she cares for the people in her life, myself included, our goofy little dog, her friends and family – I know Lindsay was born to be a mom. Lindsay is the person I know who has endured the most in life, yet always gives the most of herself to the people around her. And I’m so hopeful that someone in our closest circles might be able to help us make that a reality.

Given the delicacy of the situation, trust in this person is vital. Even if it’s far removed, knowing the woman that is going to so generously help us realize this dream gives us–me–peace in a process that has been fraught with uncertainty, sacrifice, and compromise. It makes me feel like this wasn’t all for naught.

In Essence’s words:

Lindsey came to me for voice lessons after receiving a terminal diagnosis for salivary gland cancer and enduring brutal treatments that left her not only fighting for her survival but infertile.

Her life dream has always been to be a mother. Her second passion is music. She froze her eggs in hopes she would survive long enough to find a surrogate and a partner to have a baby with, because she felt this to be her life purpose. By the time she found me she was in remission. (This project is unfolding in real time.)

Lindsay tells me this is her chance. She doesn’t have a lot of money to pay for a surrogate. I suggested we write a song about her desire to become a mother and all the love she has to give a child. I invited her to tell her story through music to be able to reach the people who might be able to make this dream a reality. She loves the idea. The songwriting is in progress as I type these words. I believe in the power of music to share important stories. Lindsay has one. I am beyond honored to help facilitate Lindsay’s song and dream of having a child.

History in the making! STAY TUNED!