Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Awkward Moments

"Is this your first baby?"

Its a simple question, really.  A common question.  So common that I got asked it twice today.  

Yet each and every time someone asks me, I have a split second where I feel paralyzed....unable to breathe.  I already know my answer, but I have to give myself a little mental pep talk before any words will leave my mouth.

Stranger:  Is this your first baby?
Me:  {default answer} Actually, I had a one year old daughter that passed away this summer.
Crickets:  Chirp, chirp, chirp

Pleasant exchange, right?  People don't know how to handle this type of loss and I know that my response puts them on the spot.  I stand there and watch as their faces go blank and their shoulders slump ever so slightly.   Out of a lack for words, they always say "I'm so sorry." Sometimes I wonder what they are sorry for most...the fact that we lost a child or sorry that they brought it up in the first place?  From there a variety of things happen...

1)  They ask more questions.  What happened?  Had she been sick?  Is this baby ok?   
2)  They change the conversation as quickly as humanly possible.
3)  They pretend to be distracted by something, forcing them to leave the conversation all together.

I can't blame them.  It's like I've taken our happy conversation about my pregnancy and then, out of the blue, sucker punched them in the gut.  

Wouldn't it just be easier to answer a simple "yes" and avoid all of the weirdness? 

Stranger:  Is this your first baby?
Me: {absent-mindedly} Yup.

All is well in the strangers world and they walk away with a smile.  Meanwhile, I'm left with a heavy heart knowing that I had just lied about the best thing that ever happened to me...

I cannot deny Charlotte's existence.  She was my first child.
I cannot pretend like she never happened.  She made me a mommy.
I'm sure that in 20 years when people ask about my children, she will be included in all of the answers I give. 

No child will ever replace her...


  1. I cannot imagine what that is like. I know you do not need to worry about anybody's discomfort. I have some friends... they lost their 2 children in a car accident a few years ago. It was awful and still chokes me up thinking about getting that call from my husband. They went on to have a little girl and are now pregnant again. I know they struggled with this as well. But, like you, they still count their precious first two. They are about to have number 4. Not number 2. Their little angels are a proud big brother and a proud big sister. Their third and fourth child will never replace those two. They are adding to their family. They also tell their daughter about them all the time! She recognizes their pictures and will grow up hearing stories of what they were like.

    Will be praying for you!

  2. My answer has always been that we have another already in heaven . There have been times when I thought it would be so much easier to just say that She was my first , but it never comes out that way . Even if I do say yes ( about Miranda being an only child now) I will always pipe up a few minutes later and explain . I can't imagine it ever being Any other way.

  3. Almost 41 years later, I still say that I have 5 girls!! You will never replace and never forget. So often I think about Charlotte meeting her Aunt Staci ♥ and knowing they now have perfect hearts.