Answering the dreaded question “how many children do you have?”

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how many children do you have

Ugh! The question ‘how many children do you have?’ is the WORST after you’ve lost a baby. It’s followed only in my most hated questions to answer stakes by things like ‘will you have a 3rd?’ and ‘are you done?’

 

How do I explain to an almost-stranger that I already have a 3rd, and a 4th and a 5th?

 

When you’re asked either of these questions you have two choices.

 

You either:

a) lie and just say how many living children you have (or that you have none yet) and then feel like you’ve somehow disrespected the memory of these babies that you’ve carried but not been able to raise.

or…

b) tell the truth and then somehow navigate the awkward conversation that occurs afterwards.

 

It becomes a bit of a minefield of awkwardness and second-guessing really.

 

You can no longer just simply answer the question, but instead end up weighing up

– how well you know this person,
– how awkward it’s going to be if you tell the truth,
– whether you’ve got pms and are going to struggle to have to hold it together
– how you’re coping with your grief this week
– frankly whether you can be bothered with the emotional rigmorale of it all.

 

I once heard someone use the phrase ‘I have three children at home‘ to avoid having to go into details, without outrightly denying the existence of her baby who died. I guess that’s a good idea, a way around the details, but I don’t know, for some reason I still feel weird saying this.

 

These days I mostly just go with the simple answer of two and feel comfortable in the fact that my other babies are still with me, despite the fact that I don’t ‘have’ them.

 

When it comes to answering will you have more – my answer is simply yes, because that’s what my heart says.

 

How do you answer this dreaded question after having lost a baby? Any smart response that I can add to my repoirtoir for those particularly annoying folk who don’t take the hint and keep digging?

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