How do I answer the question --"Do you have any kids?"--?
This first expert is from a blog post I wrote a few weeks after Luke was born. It was part of a writing that I could not and still can not seem to make much sense of for a reader. Like I said, I think it just goes to show how there is no clear way to explain each awkward situation and my inability to answer clearly.
The first week back at church we thought if anyone inquired about our baby we could just tell them, "We left him at home." Can you imagine what people might think?! They'd think we were completely irresponsible and a little bit crazy (which might be kinda true). We thought it was better that they think we're crazy than us try to have to explain why our son wasn't with us at church. Luckily, no one asked.
Here are two incidents from the past week and how I responded:
I was cutting my friend, Genn's, hair at her house. A friend of hers, whom I did not know, came over to see the new cut. Making small talk, she asks if my husband and I have any children. I respond, "Yes, we have one son." Choosing not to elaborate I leave it at that. She asks what his name is. "Luke." And we discuss the spelling of the name. Then she inquires, "How old is he?" I inform her that he was born the same weekend as Genn's baby.
All of my statements are true. Yet it was somewhat deceptive. This woman thinks that I have a handsome, nearly, 6-month-old baby probably being watched currently by my husband who is on his way to pick me up for our dinner date.
When in reality I am the mother of a child that is no longer living. I am a mother that takes fresh flowers to my child's grave. I am the mother that aches to hold a baby that is my own.
Yet how could I tell her that? When she is making small talk, how could I inform her of my reality?
Tonight a woman at a Relief Society activity (not in my own ward) casually asks if we have any children. I fumble over words and say something to the affect of "...well no, i mean...not currently living...with us..." and scrunch up my face in confusion at the words I said that just came out of my own mouth. That fumble of words didn't even make sense! Not living with us? Did we give him up for adoption? Does he live with someone else?
Yet how do I tell a stranger, without making her sorry she asked, that our first and only child was stillborn, while sitting on the other side of me is a pregnant woman of twins, nonetheless, (which chances are more likely that her babies will suffer a "cord accident")?
I hope to never deny Luke's existence. He is my son. He is my child. Yet sometimes it's just not the right time to tell someone of the horror of your reality or the horror that could potentially be their reality.
Sorry to any woman who has started reading this blog and has the fear of your baby's umbilical cord tying in a knot ...or a fear of any other thing that may cause fetal demise. I wish I could tell you it doesn't happen. I wish I could tell you it won't happen to you, but that's a reality I can't promise you. And that's a truth I hate to bring to any woman's understanding.