Thursday, October 21, 2010

How many children do you have?

Sometimes it seems simple questions in life make you think about all you have been through. I had my yearly visit this morning with my OB. I walked into the office with the medical assistant and talked about my 2 kids. She sat down to ask me the normal questions and said "You have had 4 pregnancies and have 2 children?" I answered, "No, I have had 4 pregnancies and I have 1 living child". I am sure at that point she may have thought I had lost it, but she entered the information as I had said it. It got me to thinking about such a simple little thing and how life is just not so simple for Moms who have had losses.

How many children do you have? Seems simple enough right? Not for me. Every time I am asked that question I struggle with the answer. In reality I have carried 4 children in my body and I have adopted 1. 4 of the 5 are named, so they could be listed easier than explaining an early loss, but still I usually say 2. Of course I have more than 2 children. I more than anyone want to acknowledge Emma and Connor, but sometimes it is like a can of worms. I could go from a one word answer to a very long story of the past 3 years. I guess it depends on the day I am having, the person I am talking to and the situation we are in. It is very easy to see that I have 2 children. They are laughing and fighting, pulling me away from the question at hand. It is the 2 who are silent that bring me this dilemma. Am I doing them an injustice to not mention their names, not to acknowledge their short lives? I guess this is a struggle that won't go away. I know I am so lucky to have these children standing in front of me. The ones who there are no questions of, they speak for themselves. I have friends who have lost babies and they have no one to hold. Not only do their hearts and empty arms ache for the children they long for, but when they hear these questions what do they say? They are Mothers. They have carried children in their bodies and lost them, as well as a part of themselves. They, like myself, will never be the person they were before. Such simple questions like, How many children do you have? Can bring up so many thoughts. Thoughts that I would have never even pondered years ago. Now I find myself squirming with anxiety at the mere thought of answering. Sometimes I say 4, sometimes I say 2, sometimes I just smile and walk away. I guess each day will bring a new answer, because I may never know the "right" way to answer everytime.


  1. I also have a hard time with that questions. And sadly it depends on the situation on how I answer. I hate not always adding in Isabella, feel like I am not acknowleding her and her short life. But sometime it is just easier and sometimes I know if I have to explain it I just might breakdown, on those bad days I seem to still have.

  2. Seems like such a simple question but it's really not for people who have lost their children. Whenever I am asked I always think 'what should I say?' Sometimes people are weirded out when you include your dead child(ren).