Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How many kids do you have?

I hate that question. I know, I know, anyone who asks is just making polite chatter or seeking what to them is "innocent" information but to me it just starts the whole mind blowing but silent conversation in my head...not about how many kids I have, cuz I KNOW, but the whole, "what do I say, which is the right answer, how bad do I really want to make this person feel and do I really want to talk about "it" right now anyway???"

Today, when the grocery checker guy was scanning my food, he asked how my day was and I told him it was quiet since the kids were back in school. (So right there it's my fault, I brought the whole kid thing up) so he asks, "How many kids do you have?" And I have to wonder if he thought I was a little slow because I had to stop and think about all of the above musings and dilemma's before I came up with "2". And of course, I am saying in my head, "I'm sorry Caleb, I'm sorry Caleb, I'm sorry Caleb, you count, you count, you count, I just can't count you out loud...at least not yet."

The thing is I could have said "3", and not added any details right? But the next thing he asked was, "How old are they?" So if I had said "3", then I would have had to go "there" anyway. Or I guess I could have said, "Well, 10, 6 and my third is dead" or "10, 6 and a stillborn", I mean what's the right way to do that???? At least if I had said one of those, it would have nixed his next question, "Why'd you have them so far apart?", in a really condescending way. That one really pissed me off, more so than the "How many" b/c what f*ing business is it of his how I space my kids???? What if my apparently inappropriately spaced kids were the result of years of IVF and other forms of hell and nightmares so many of you know so well, what if I had one in between my "two" that had been the stillbirth, or 8 miscarriages. What if the spacing hadn't been by choice but by circumstance?? Then what? Does he really want to know that???

So now, I am more than a little peeved, because I am already upset in my head at what I feel was a total denial of my sons existence and now I am having to defend my reproductive choices to a complete stranger, who, in his little brain, is only making idle conversation. Jesus, I just wanted to buy some niblets, I did not come here to have my uterus or its abilities questioned!!!!

I remember when my friend, who works at my kids school, suddenly and so tragically lost her 5 year old grandson Robbie(he died from undiagnosed diabetes...sooo frickin scary what happened that I now have my kids tested almost every time we go to the dr...). When we got back to school that Fall, she was putting up photos of her grand kids on her desk. I asked her how many grand kids she had altogether as I had never really heard much about the older ones who came to her by way of a blended marriage. She told me , with tears in her eyes, "Well, 5 but 6 if you count Robbie." I looked at her and said "Why wouldn't you count Robbie? He's still your grandson." It never occurred to me not to count him, I had included him when I asked the question. But now I know, she was dealing with the same plate of shit that I just had served up to me today. She and I cried together that day for her Robbie and that plate of shit. The grocery clerk and me? Well, we pondered whether or not the Patriots would be able to pull off the perfect season.

Maybe we should run this more like an AA meeting. (NOOOO, I haven't been to one, just seen them on t.v., thank you very much) Hi, my name is ______________. I am a dead baby mom.

I have 3 kids.


Hope said...

This is very true. I have been a deadbabymom for 3years 3 months and 4 weeks. Still to this day sometimes I say I only have 3 kids. Some days it's just easier to lie then to go into full detail about Samuel.

c. said...

I have responded to that question twice with, "I have 2 kids." It broke my heart to do it. I don't know why I did it in the first place, probably to spare the "interviewer" any possible discomfort that may arise from any possible intrusive additional questions he/she may have. I continue to review possible responses to "the" question in my head. I have yet to come up with the most suitable "I have 2 live children and a deadbaby" response.

a- said...

"I have two boys who made it here safely" is my normal response most days. Most people won't go much more into detail than that.

Btw, I'm with you on the kid spacing question thing and I do hope no one has ever really asked you that question. It really isn't anyone's business but yours.

charmedgirl said...

i used to dread that question, even when i didn't yet have a dead baby.

i used to hate it, because when i said 'three', they would invariably ask how old they were. i would be forced to say they were all 2 (or whatever). yeah, triplets. you got me! the freak triplet lady! then followed the many fertility questions...which i'm way too (i don't know) c*nty to lie about. YEAH, i had ivf, OK?!?!

i only lied about p@ige once, at my first post-op appt and it was just so bad. she asked when i was due and i just said, "i had her last week," then cried about it the rest of the day. i think now, i'd rather just say i have a dead baby and let the other person deal with it. i'm not holding myself to it, just in case, but for now, i just don't have the energy to dance around it. i think the fact that i have triplets gives them a quick enough out...to just talk about triplets. and for once, i am relieved to talk about it. my reproductive life blows @ss.

HA! i've been in OA and so many times wanted to title a post, "hi. my name is joy, and i'm a deadbabymama."

Coggy said...

I don't get asked that question. Lucky otherwise WTF would I say? 'Errrr one, but he died. Um, yeah, well have a nice day.'
I have to go the dentists at the end of this month. He knows I was pregnant, I am going to have work done I couldn't while pregnant. He's going to ask. I have NO IDEA what I'm going to say to him.

missing_one said...

I know I answer depending on my mood.
My aunt (who lost her sister and brother at a young age) said, when asked "how many brothers and sisters do you have" She would always say 11, but only 9 are still here with us (or something like that). She said, "we always include them in the total. So that's what I usually say, "2, but one died."

Sometimes I do just nod and smile. I guess it is a little easier because I don't have to deal with, "oh, is he your first?" because yes, he was my first....I just had a second too.

kalakly said...

And as if by magic in my Family magazine today, a reader wrote in with, "I have four living children..." enough said. She obviously has at least one that isn't. And she didn't leave him/her out.
And A. puts it well, "I have two boys who made it here safely." I might try that.
If they still ask more entirely inappropriate ?'s I'll just revert to my "EFF U" response.
Charmer, I love diversionary tactics, especially when they come in 3's!

Jennifer said...

I can totally relate to what you're talking about. At work I run into a lot of people who knew I was pregnant and see now that I'm not. So of course, the assume I had a baby who survived. Sometimes I will let them believe that if their questions/comments are vague like, are you getting enough sleep? (i hope that's not sick, i just don't want to talk about it all the time). Sometimes though, if I'm in the mood, I will tell the person we lost our baby. That happened yesterday with our IT guy. He was like, oh, you were out on maternity leave when xyz happened, congratulations. So I told him that we had lost our baby. Immediately he spurts out that he and his wife are expecting. I was completely unprepared for that response so I returned with, oh don't worry, it doesn't happen that often. I'm such a loser. I guess my point for this long and embarassing comment is that I'm learning that no matter what, I don't think we'll ever be ready to answer these questions. And like my boss says, "Who cares what they think...I don't know them anyways."

Rosalind said...

I too like the 'I have two children who made it here safely' response...unless the person who's asking is a complete dud it shouldn't go any futher than that..

I find when asked I get nervous and I start to panic...It's easier at the moment to avoid an uncomfortable situation and say "I have 2 children" but, afterwards the guilt and saddness is so much worse