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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

parenting after loss > How many children do you have?

I have a hard time with this question and have tried all different ways of answering it. People treat it like it's such a simple question like, "Where did you get your hair cut?" but it can be a really difficult question for someone who has a child who has died. Sometimes I say "two" but then feel as though the answer isn't honest or "two living children" but then I always feel the need to explain which sometimes doesn't feel right either. People should stop asking this question, it's really a personal question. How do you deal with this question?
September 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEm
I too struggel with this question from time to time.
My oldest solves it perfectly, saying it as it is, after me little miss S came and after that X came.(rainbow baby)
Me on the other hand sometimes say "I've got two at home", "two living children" and only when I feel strong enough I say "three, but one is dead"
September 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScandinavian endo-girl
This really depends on the situation. If it's the checkout clerk at the store, I don't mention my daughter. If it's someone who is going to need to know this about me, then I say, "our guest, our daughter, was stillborn. My son is a 21 months." I just don't feel the need to share my daughter with strangers. If people are stupid enough to ask :so are you having a second? I tell them my son is my second, and we don't know about a third since our first died and pregnancy is complicated for me.
September 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAB
Our first not our guest!
September 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAB
Hi Em, I've posted before that if someone asks this I can say "I have three at home" or "I have three kids at home and our second daughter was stillborn". I only answer the second way if I feel like I am: 1. going to have an ongoing relationship with the person who asks 2. Feel strong enough emotionally to say the words out loud that day (I'm 5 years out from losing Shelby and some days are still harder than others) 3. Trust the person to most likely have a reaction that won't hurt me.
I used to feel guilty when I didn't mention Shelby but a therapist once said- how much you talk about her, how much you cry for her, these are NOT measures of how much you love her. I've learnt to be kinder to myself and do what feels right for me at the time. If I don't mention her it's because I love her too much to hold it together when I say her name or because the person I'm talking to can't be trusted with her story.
September 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Thanks to all for your replies. I especially like what you said, Shelby's mom, about how much we talk about our children or cry for them is NOT a measure of our love.
Well, I'm a middle school/high school teacher so I have a lot of young people who ask me how many children I have. This is a tricky question because though I will have an ongoing relationship with my students (at least for the duration of the school year), they may or may not react in a way that is sensitive or appropriate. When asked, I usually tell them about my son even though it's none of their business and some can be rude, just because I feel like it's another means of educating people. Like, look, these things do happen, even to your teacher who is a responsible caring healthy adult. But sometimes I feel like I'd rather not mention him either. I remember reading a post here once by a father who said as the years passed he preferred not to talk about his loss because he felt like he wanted to keep those memories private and sacred. My job is very public and so I want to always maintain professionalism, of course, but also to be friendly and approachable. If a student asks, "how many children do you have," I don't want to say, "none of your business," I guess "two at home" is fine or more info if I feel like it... GAH! But really I wish I didn't have people ask me.
September 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEm
Em, it was a sweet babyloss mama, who's a teacher who told me that at the start of every school year she's introducing hereselfe and here family with "Hi my name is xxx, and at home I've got a xxx who's 5 years and a xxx who's 37 years" , even before the students were able to ask about here family :)
September 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScandinavian endo-girl
I typically say I have a five year old son and a three year old son. It is true and feels much better than saying "I have two" when I've really had three. Also it tends to stop the common follow up questions about age and sexes so we can move on to something else.

If I predict we will have an ongoing relationship I will include my stillborn son as well.
September 24, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMom2htb
This is indeed the most difficult question... whenever I answer, with whatever response I feel confortable at the moment, be it the polite 2 or 2 at home, or the more exact, 2 alive, one dead and one who never lived... I always end up going over the conversation the rest of the day, thinking... should I have replyed differently.
It is always difficult...
Nevertheless, the polite politically correct answer is the best choice to avoid ackwardness... And I feel ever more at ease with myself that I love them all, but more the ones alive because the link and love grows daily.
Despite all, I never had any doubts that if it came to choosing, I would always prefer loosing unborn Pedro than my beautifull 10-y old daughter. And now, six months with Rainbow R., I know I love him and would not part with him... even for a lifetime with Pedro.
But this is how I feel today!
September 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarta
I too hate that question. Most days when I know I'm going to be in that potential situation I find myself getting worried and anxious before I even get there! I just hate it! I wish people would not ask. Wait for me to tell you if I want to! I get put into that situation a lot for work and I think I answer different every single time. It does depend on who I'm with and what the situation is. But usually I will say I have a son who passed away and I have a daughter who is 8.5 months. That response usually gets an I'm so sorry and then they move on. I think I sometimes get so worried beforehand that when it happens and I tell them about my son, I actually feel more at ease. It is coming up on 3 years on Nov 1st but it still does not get any easier. I am so sorry for your loss.
October 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSusie
Marta, that is so dann honest. Its something that we newcomers would rather curl up in a ball and cry over than admit. But man its true.
We know our living children, have seen them laugh, be silly and cry. We see there little faces when they are hurt and the thought of anything happening to them with their understanding more worldly brains is beyond what I could possibly imagine.
And yes, I too am dreading that question. I even stuttered this morning over "Do you have kids?" I had to really think about my answer even after dropping my son off at summer club just an hour before.
Peace to all us mamas x
August 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMachaela