Advanced search

To say 5 and not 4

(26 Posts)
3littlebadgers Wed 27-Apr-16 12:22:51

I have a small baby, which is a conversation starter wherever I go, people love a baby, and it is lovely people want to celebrate him with me.

The thing is I always get asked if he is my first. He isn't, he is my fifth but I only get to hold four in my arms as dc4 was stillborn last year, sad I was overdue. I still love her so very much despite only getting to hold her for such a short amount of time. I don't feel any different about her than any on my other dc. So when I'm asked if the baby is my first I say he is my fifth, because to me there will always be five children in my heart.
Five is quite a lot, and people are often shocked and ask about the ages of the others, or the split of boys and girls, and it usually comes out that I lost dd2. Sometimes I'm ok and can handle having that conversation and other times, like this morning, I get teary, which isn't fair on the person who was just trying to make conversation.

So am I being unreasonable in saying 5 not 4 when talking about my dc, if it means I might end up breaking down on strangers? I so wish I could get to say 5 and go home and hold all 5 of them sad

PaperdollCartoon Wed 27-Apr-16 12:30:18

flowers poor you.

You can absolutely say 5, he is your 5th that's not in the least misleading or unreasonable. You could say straight off 'he's my 5th but one isn't with us anymore as she passed'. Gets it straight out there and most people won't probe anymore.

MintyBojingles Wed 27-Apr-16 12:33:09

I'm so sorry for your loss flowers

From experience- my brother passed away when I was a teen, when people asked me how many siblings I had I either washed over it by just telling them about my other sibling, or if I felt strong enough I told them the truth. It took me many years to be able to speak about it without getting emotional, so I tried to skirt the issue, but hated feeling like I was denying his existence.

Not sure if that's any help, you certainly shouldn't be ashamed to mention your precious DD, but it's up to you as to whether you feel strong enough to talk about her.

Boiing Wed 27-Apr-16 12:34:23

I'm so sorry for your loss. flowers I wouldn't call it unreasonable, say whatever you like, but it might be easier on you and on the other person if you just answer "I have four children". I am always surprised when people ask about how many children etc, it feels very intrusive to me. I often get asked by strangers if I want another child, and I have to answer 'I'd love some but biology keeps letting me down" and somehow I'm in the middle of a very personal conversation. Big hugs xxx

QueenArseClangers Wed 27-Apr-16 12:36:51

Oh darling, you have got 5 babies.
So sorry for the loss of your beautiful girl.

We have 5DC and one of my son has a friend who has 3 living brothers and a sister who died when she was about 6.
If the opportunity comes up I always referr to the parents as having 5 children. On Mother's Day we wished the mum a lovely day from one mother of 5 to another.
It's so important that this isn't forgotten as your daughter is part of who you are flowers

Letseatgrandma Wed 27-Apr-16 12:40:38

If it makes you upset and you don't want to be, I'd just say 4. It doesn't mean you've forgotten, it's just self preservation.

FreedomMummy Wed 27-Apr-16 12:41:40

I have a friend who lost a baby similar to you and when they are talking to people they don't think they will ever see again she says they have 3 children. (Their baby was their 4th) However when they are speaking to people they will have an ongoing friendship/aquaintance they say they have 4 children.

Not sure if that helps but you ANBU to speak of your baby as your 5th as that is exactly what they are.

The above example may just help protect you in certain situations.

ceebie Wed 27-Apr-16 12:43:07

You seem to be in a quandry with yourself - you want to say 5, but in some situations you don't necessarily want the ensuing conversation about DC4?

I presume this is dependant upon who you're talking to. Friends and family would know about DC4, so is this about finding a way you are comfortable with discussing numbers of children with strangers or passing aquaintances?

Is there another way of putting it, for those occasions when you might not necessarily want to talk about DC4 at that moment?
for example
'Is the baby your first?'
'No, there are three older siblings at home.' (and you can choose to add 'and another in my heart,' or not, as you feel able at the time).

Obviously, saying you have 5 DC is always fine, if that's what you choose to say.

So sorry for your loss flowers

cocochanel21 Wed 27-Apr-16 12:43:50

I know how you feel.

DD2 is 7mths. When I was 7mths pregnant Dd1 died. When people ask is she your first? I never know what to say and also I have a 23year age gap between my dds so people are always surprised and will comment on it.
Sometimes if i don't want to have the conversation I feel terrible afterwards that they think I only have one child.
I find it really upsetting having that conversation with strangers.
Sorry I've not being much help to youflowers

BillBrysonsBeard Wed 27-Apr-16 12:49:04

So sorry for your loss OP flowers You most certainly have 5 children. I agree with others to just say 4 if you don't want the difficult convo with people you will probably never see again, they're just passing the time of day so doesn't matter what you say... but say 5 to people who know you.

loosechange Wed 27-Apr-16 12:51:34

I think it is entirely reasonable for you to do what works for you in the situation. If you are feeling teary and don't want to get more upset you could say 4. Otherwise, yes, you have 5 children, sadly only 4 of whom are living, and you can say you have 5, regardless of how it might make the other person feel.

I think this has been put more eloquently further up.


CountessOfStrathearn Wed 27-Apr-16 13:00:17

I sometimes answer that question with, "We have 4 at home", or "I have [and then list boys/girls with ages]."

Pinkheart5915 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:01:03

I don't think it's unreasoanable to say 5 not 4.

I had a stillborn dd a few years ago, last year I had a lovely ds and when people ask how many I have say 1 if I don't want a difficult conversation but everyone that knows me knows I have 2.

Those of us that have had stillborn babies are still mums to them too so of course you have 5 children!


ChatEnOeuf Wed 27-Apr-16 13:01:38

For me, it mostly depends on who I'm talking to, as described above.

I have DD at home and DS who is not - as well as others along the way. I usually answer that DD is 'my big girl', or that she's my only one 'right now' when asked if she is my only child. Those who pick up the subtleties are those who care, they know more than those who were just making conversation.

YANBU to answer however you please - it doesn't have to be the same each time. Saying your DS is your 4th child (but 5th baby) doesn't deny that DD2 existed, it just protects you on days when you're feeling fragile.

Glad to hear your little one is here flowers

Artioo2 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:06:14

I lost my second DS last year aged 5 months. I'm currently pregnant and get similar questions a lot. I always answer truthfully that this is actually my third, and if it's an acquaintance I know, (rather than some random on the bus) tell them that DS died. It can be a bit awkward and people can be embarrassed and not know what to say, but for me, saying this is my second or fudging it somehow, would feel like denying the existence of my son, which would feel so wrong to me. I don't want to hide him, or even hide what happened to us. I say it in as straightforward a way as possible, and try to say something to move the conversation on quickly - to help the person I'm talking to more than me! I have ways of phrasing it that I've found work best for me.

My grandmother lost a child at 22 months, and the advice back then was just to get on with things and not dwell on it. So her younger children, born after this loss, never knew about this until they were teenagers. It was never mentioned. My dad, who was 5 at the time he lost his brother, has always been affected by this apparent denial of his existence. So I strongly believe it is better to talk openly about this kind of thing, to mention it in passing where necessary, to tell people. They asked you the question, you are simply answering as is best for you.

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Wed 27-Apr-16 13:08:40

I think you should say whatever you feel like, I don't think there's a right or wrong way with something like this flowers

I lost my sister a few years ago. When someone asks my mum how many children she has she always still says 4. If people ask how old she'll say our ages and then say "dd1 would have been x years old". People generally understand and don't pry (unless they're particularly insensitive/nosy).

Minisoksmakehardwork Wed 27-Apr-16 13:13:24

thanks. I have a friend who has 3 children, through her eldest sadly died at 4 months old. She always says 3, starts with 'the eldest would be however old now and the younger two are their current ages. People can either realise and choose to comment or not or are oblivious. Either way she's not denying her elder child so she's happier about it.

MentalLentil Wed 27-Apr-16 13:23:03

Bless your beautiful heart, I think you're doing exactly the right thing flowers

OvO Wed 27-Apr-16 13:28:03

My DS2 would be 9 now and I still have this problem.

Even on MN I'll talk about my DS1 and DS3. I'll also tie myself in knots trying to word a post that includes my living DS's but doesn't deny the existence of my ds2 - as sometimes it doesn't feel right for the thread to mention my DS2.

When asked how many children I have by a new person I usually go with, "I have two living children," then pause for a beat for them to work out what I mean then I quickly add, "they're 11 and 8." So they know, but by adding their ages I've moved past that awkward moment.

harryhausen Wed 27-Apr-16 13:29:56

Yes, you absolutely say 5 not 4.

My good friend had 2 dd's. One died aged 4, and the second only a few months later at 2.5 yrs (complete fluke).

She has gone into to have 3 other children. However when she was pushing her 3rd baby in his pram she was often asked if he was her first. Some days she's just say "no he's my third" other days she feel strong enough to say "he's my third but my elder 2 CDs died" and other days she's just smile and say "yes" as she didn't want to say anything.
She also found it hard taking him to baby groups for similar reasons.

You do have 5. You absolutely do. thanks

DixieNormas Wed 27-Apr-16 13:55:57

it depends who I'm talking to, on here I tend to say ds4 instead of Ds5. Same with people I don't know

travellinghopefully12 Wed 27-Apr-16 14:05:15

My mother always says she has four children. My brother died of cancer, but she still has four children.

I do the same when asked how many siblings I have 'two brothers, one sister' and then when people ask what they are all doing I sometimes sense they feel awkward but it feels like it would be a horrendous betrayal to say 'one brother, on sister.' He is our brother, and my mother's son, even though he died ten years ago.

Love x

3littlebadgers Wed 27-Apr-16 14:11:39

Thank you all for all of your kind suggestions, and for being gentle with me.
In my mind I'm happiest with saying five, but then sometimes I see the look on the face of the stranger and it just sets me off. They look so sad and then I feel bad for doing that to them. But then I imagine saying four and my little girl being hurt that I forgot her as crazy as that seems.
I like the idea of saying "dd2 would have been 1" it's not quite as sad as saying she died but it's nestled in there. I'm going to rehearse saying it in my mind so I feel more prepared. Thank you you lot flowers I feel a bit better now.

ThunderButt Wed 27-Apr-16 14:55:50

I now tend to say that I've had 5 but our 2nd child died shortly after she was born.

I used to say that I had only 4, then would get upset with myself afterwards as it felt like I was denying DD2's existence however short it was, and that would be a slight on her, not that she'd know it of course but still something like maternal protection kicks in, not sure how to define it!

I have realised that I don't have to put someone else feeling a bit awkward above my own feelings. It is the truth after all.

SovietKitsch Wed 27-Apr-16 15:04:51

I'm making a mental note not to ask this question again, I really wouldn't want to put anyone in this position. I am so sorry for your loss flowers

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now