After eighteen months of tirelessly grieving, missing my baby, searching for answers and struggling to cope, one particular question has continued to plague me.
A question that for most requires a yes or no answer. It’s black and white. It’s simple. It’s not leading and it’s usually asked in small talk conversations where new friends are getting acquainted, people are sharing stories, introductions are being made.
But for a bereaved mother, it’s loaded, and heavy, and impossible.
‘Do you have kids?’
How can I answer that without explaining how my perfect angel is no longer here, but forever in my heart? I have been practicing for months and the answer has been sitting right there on the very end of my tongue, just waiting for the perfect moment when I was finally ready to not answer yes or no.
I’ve compared stories with a dear friend of mine who recently married but has not decided whether or not she and her husband will choose to parent. She too is frustrated with a similar question – ‘Are you going to have kids?’ I told her to simply reply with, ‘I don’t know. Are you going to have a colonoscopy?’
I know in my empathetic, understanding, and loving brain that all of these questions are well-intentioned and not invasive nor judgmental. But the fact is, sometimes the answers are just plain hard.
So, finally, after eighteen months of practice, plenty of avoidance, tears and awkward silence, and trial and error, I was recently asked the question again.
I was sitting at a welcome lunch at my new job with my new team who took time out of their busy days to have a meal and hear about me and tell me about themselves. After we chatted about my previous work, where I’d gone to college and how my husband and I met, the question was asked, “Do you have kids?”
“Yes,” I answered with confidence. “I have a son in Heaven.”