Last Sunday, Doug and I were at a new church and were confronted with the most loaded question that now plagues us. “Do you have any children?” This is the first time we had been asked that since Dougie died. I immediately looked to Doug with a lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes. I had no clue what to say. I don’t think Doug did either. What is the right answer to that? So many things run through your head…
Well I could say yes but then we will be asked how many kids do you have, boy or girl etc. But if I say no, Will I be denying our precious boy. But if I say yes, then they will ask details, and do I really want to tell this complete stranger about the most devastating, earth shattering thing that has happened to us…. the answer is no, I’m not ready for that.
Bravely, Doug answered no. Instantly I felt a tug at my heart. I heard Dougie scream “What about me Mom?!” The lady, who had no clue what she had just stirred up inside of us, continued to show us the church nursery, telling us that one day when we do have kids, this is where they hold Sunday school.
Doug and I didn’t say a word to each other after this and the service started. I sat there numb. I wasn’t sure what just hit me. I prayed for Dougie to please forgive us and asked for some guidance. Afterwards, Doug and I broke down. We weren’t sure what the right answer was to that question, but one thing is certain…the answer isn’t no.
Until now, I never realized that question could hold so much meaning. A simple question, that most of the time is one simple answer. But what if it’s not a simple answer…what if the answer is much more loaded than you ever anticipated. I can’t blame someone for asking this. It’s a common question, especially for a married couple of our age. But please the next time you ask this, understand that the answer may not be simple. This question can evoke a whole new sense of loneliness to someone who has lost his or her child. Don’t stop asking this question, but when the answer isn’t a simple yes or no, please be prepared to listen and most certainly, don’t ask more questions. They will offer you all the information they want to. And sometimes that will be one simple word.
2 thoughts on “Loaded Question”
I remember the first time someone asked me this. It happened two times in one day. For one I simply answered “yes” and returned the question. For the next I cried and explained everything that happened. There is no “right” answer and you have to choose the best answer for yourself and your family. Some are adamant to include their baby in the count and that is perfectly acceptable. Some choose not to if it’s too hard to share or if it’s not someone they know well or if they want to share only the living children they have and that’s perfectly acceptable as well. You’ll find the best balance for yourself and know it’s okay to change your answer.
I wrote such a similar blog entry recently. I hate that question. The answer for me is yes, but how do you say I am childless mother?