When people see a pregnant lady, it somehow seems to invite them into starting some friendly conversation with the expectant mama. And almost always, it will start with some pregnancy-related questions; “How far along are you?” “Do you know what you’re having?”, etc.
But after you have had a loss(es), there is one question that causes confusion and maybe even a bit of anxiety:
“Is this your first baby?”
This is such a hard question to answer. I had a lady ask me this very question two days ago, and I told her it will be my fourth baby. I had assumed that the conversation would be done and I would never see this person again, so I figured it was a great opportunity to include Briela in the mix. Well, she continued asking questions… “Wow, your fourth? You sure have your hands full! How old are your other kids?” I was now committed! And I did not want to tell her that one of these kids had passed away, so I just told her the ages (and included Briela as being born last year), and then quickly snuck away before more questions could be asked, relieved to be out of there!
But man, this seemingly simple and innocent question can sure pose as a deep and difficult one to answer. For me personally, I have been pregnant 5 times, I will (once this pregnancy is done) have given birth 4 times, and I will be raising 3 children. What kind of answer is that?
Maybe it depends on who is asking the question. If it’s a person that you know you will never see again, maybe you can go ahead and include your deceased children as part of the family – or maybe you can simply include the children who you are raising, personal choice! If you know you will see this person again, maybe it’s okay to be more open and honest about the number of children you have verses the number of times you’ve been pregnant.
And that raises another question… how do you answer the question when you have a child who passes away when they’re 20 years old? Or 30? Or 5? Does that make it any different than one who was only 3 hours old? Or only lived in your womb? I suppose it’s subjective, and any given person can have their own opinion.
I had never thought to include Jocea (our miscarried baby) in the number of children we have when people had asked us this question until I had Briela. Once we lost Briela, it brought a whole new level of respect and importance to Jocea, and ever since has made me question whether to include her whenever I hear the “how many kids do you have?” question. I mean, she is alive and well in heaven… we just aren’t seeing her here on earth!
Either way, when a stranger approaches and is expecting just a quick and light conversation with a cute pregnant lady, I don’t think they expect to hear about death and child loss, and I don’t know how appropriate it would be to include that information. Who knows? Maybe they’d try to council you, or try to sympathize. I don’t think I’d want either from someone I don’t know, so I’ll skip over the full truth and give them whatever answer comes out of my mouth at the time. I don’t think there would be a wrong answer after all. It’s meant to be friendly conversation, so I’ll include whoever I want to when asked this question, and know in my heart the full truth.
Have you been in this awkward scenario before? Not knowing how to answer?
Do you have a specific answer ready to go for whenever someone asks you how many children you have?