How many kids do you have?

Today I had a meeting with a parent. She asked me, "How many kids do you have?" I still await the day when someone asks me, "How many children have you had?"

I remember the tears and angst this question caused me after Tripp first died. Although I don't well up with tears when I'm asked the question anymore, it still causes me angst. I ALWAYS hesitate, just for a brief moment when asked this question. I wish I could tell you that my "go-to" answer was two, but it's not. More often than not, after that hesitation, I say, "I have one. He's three and a half."

One is the easy answer. Two is the hard one. Two comes with awkward condolences and difficulties segueing back to "normal conversation." It makes me sad that I take the easy way out.

I can't find the post, but a while I read on still life with circles about how Angie doesn't always say she has 3. She sometimes says two and she says it to protect her daughter. She only shares her daughter with those people who have meaning to her. Ever since I read that it's been resonating with me. I am protecting Tripp. He is my 5 day old forever. He is precious. And it is okay if I treat him as the fragile baby he is. It is okay if I protect myself.

I am only beginning to feel this way. That it is okay to say one. I have to remind myself constantly that even though I say one, it doesn't mean that I only have one. I am a worrier and it bothers me to think that people might not know the love I have for Tripp just because I don't mention him.

I might say one, but I always think of two.


  1. I have found this difficult - and I also hesitate. I don't want to make others feel uncomfortable. But - I am at the point where I figure if I can show that I am comfortable with what has happened, that others won't feel the need to tip toe around me. While I do get sad talking about Oliver - it makes me happy to talk about him. He was a big part of my life, and he still is.

    When people ask me how many children I have, I tell them that 'I have had 2. My daughter is 4, and my son died just after he turned 2'.

    I got the 'have had' from you. It makes my answer so much easier to give.

    I may feel different once I get pregnant again though. That's when people ask how many kids you have a lot more often.

  2. Karen, thank-you so much for sharing. I always love to hear what other moms do. I like how you don't wait for someone to ask your kid's ages. The couple times I have said 2 I have paused after. Then when they ask the ages it gets awkward. I am going to try saying exactly what you do, because I agree that if I am comfortable with it, others will feel that.

  3. I don't think anyone but mothers like us understand how difficult "normal" conversations can be when you've lost your child. Both of you are handling it the best way you can. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to answer. It depends on who you are talking to and if you want to reveal it or not. It certainly has nothing to do with how much you love or miss your child. It doesn't make them a secret. Thank you for writing about this. I have written a post almost exactly like yours. From now on I will always ask others how many children they HAVE HAD, if I chose to ask at all. Having lost my girl a couple months ago I've stopped asking that question all together. Thank you again for your post. Much love to you.

  4. I don't know how I missed this before, but did you realize that you and I posted about the exact same thing (how, as parents who've lost children, we deal with people asking if or how many kids we have ) on the exact same day? If that's not kismet I'm not sure what is :)


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