I know so many of us struggle with this question. It isn't an easy one to answer when your child(ren) resides in Heaven and not on this earth. Do you include your child(ren) that's gone or do you keep it to yourself? Everyone has their own answers and reasons for this answering this question. There is no right or wrong way to answer it.
I got to thinking about this question last week and this week when I was asked on several occasions at work. The first time it was someone I work with and see on a regular basis. Since I was back from maternity leave they asked me about that and then if it was my second girl. Then it hits you. You're set back for a moment because you're not quite sure how you should or want to answer it. Your mind works at a faster pace as it tries to process what to say. Does anybody else ever feel like this? Well, after a brief pause I ended up saying, "Nope, the third." And that was that. No more questions. That isn't always the case though. Some people are more nosy.
The other time was by a patient and my bff and coworker was with me. The patient asked us if we had any children and I just let her answer while I said nothing at all. I just really didn't feel like getting into it at the moment. Luckily, the patient was satisfied with just her answering.
Usually the question of how many children you have is followed by how old they are, which is another difficult question to answer if your child(ren) is dead. I find it much easier to answer both questions to strangers than friends or acquaintances. Strangers don't know any better and will believe that all your children are alive unless you tell them otherwise. People who know you at least a little bit can figure out that something doesn't add up, especially if your other children are with you (if you have other children) or they knew you were pregnant. Needless to say, things can get a little awkward. Of course, I've come to the point where I don't really care if it is awkward for the other person but that doesn't mean I don't still feel the awkwardness in the situation.
Sometimes I won't even tell people my daughter is dead. I just tell them how old she would be now and make them think I have 3 girls at home. Then they say stuff like, "Oh, I bet they keep you on your toes!" or "They'll grow up to be best friends" or something else that really isn't true but I wish were.
Even though I struggle with what to say almost every time, I've always included Carleigh. Maybe it's because I know I'll feel guilty if I don't. Maybe it's because if I talk about her I can connect with someone who has also lost. Maybe it's because I just want people to know she existed. Maybe it's because it just feels wrong for me not to.
I wish it were a natural thing for them to just be included and that (most) people didn't get all weird about it.
And you can't really blame people for asking. The question is a natural conversation starter. People talk about the weather and they ask about your kids. I mean, if you look back how many times have you asked that question to someone? I know I've asked it and perhaps I've even asked it to someone who has lost a child and they struggled with how to answer. You just never know. I guess now I'm just much more aware of how a seemingly simple question can be not so simple to answer.
6 days ago