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“How many kids do you have?” (Recurrent baby loss)
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VeryMeh · 13/02/2022 19:43

Feeling really down today. I am very lucky to have one child, but since having him I have suffered with recurrent baby loss. Some of these losses were later in pregnancy (18-22 weeks) and some were around 10-12 weeks but they all have names.

My child started school this year and we’ve started being invited to parties and playdates and getting. Naturally one of the questions that comes up regularly with the other parents is about how many other children we have. I don’t know what to say when I’m asked this - do I pretend my other babies didn’t exist (and then inevitably get asked “do you want to have any more?”), or do I bring the mood down and make everyone feel awkward by mentioning the losses? In general I’m not private about the fact that we’ve been through losses - I’ve done fundraisers for baby loss charities for example, but I just never know what to do in this situation.

I found myself on the edge of a conversation today nearly in tears, as they all talked about all their children, the differences between boys and girls, how stressful it is having multiple children, etc. I was just sat there trying to hold it together and hoping nobody would ask me.

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ParkheadParadise · 13/02/2022 19:53

I bloody hate that question and also dread it.
Depending on my mood and who I'm talking to.
I usually say I have 2 children, my older child died.
Dd2 will tell you she had a big sister who's in heaven.
Dd1 was murdered 6 years ago and sometimes I feel people ask although they already know and just want to gossip.
I have in the past said that Dd2 is an only child then went home and cried for saying that.

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VeryMeh · 13/02/2022 20:02

I’m so sorry @ParkheadParadise. That’s just so awful that people would gossip about your heartbreak. I’m worried about the subject of gossip too if I’m open with new people about how tragic the last four years have been for us.

Actually, I had one person ask me if I wanted any more children and when I said “it’s a bit complicated” she said “oh yeah I know, I’ve had a nosey at your Instagram” (where I’ve shared baby loss fundraising posts with our story)

I wish people understood more and accepted that not every family is the ‘perfect’ set up of mum, dad and two kids with a 2-3 year age gap.

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Bigbus · 13/02/2022 20:09

I’ve learnt not to ask such questions - I once asked a mum of a child who had just joined my youngest’s class ‘Is she your first?’ And the mum hesitated and then said yes. I later learnt she had an older child who had died. I would have not shied away from hearing about that but I guess she didn’t know how I’d react/didn’t want to go there at that point. I was just making conversation but you really never know what someone has been through and I’m more careful now.

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Laura0729 · 14/02/2022 08:47

I'm with you.

I have miscarried but from the end of the tww when the test was positive that was our baby in there.
However I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about this as emotionally I couldn't hold myself together.

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Rrrob · 14/02/2022 09:15

It’s a hard one. I hate that question. Dd1 died when she was a toddler and I’ve also had a mc. I also now have twins. Personally I don’t mention the mc. For people I know I will see again, I mention dd1. For random people in the bank, shops etc who ask if the twins are my first, I don’t. It used to hurt a lot and I felt awful not mentioning dd1 but it wasn’t worth the inevitable conversation.

It’s totally personal preference. If you want to mention your other babies I would suggest having some standard sentences you use (I do this and it helps me not cry every time).

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MrsTophamHat · 14/02/2022 09:22

I've had two miscarriages and I don't mention them in polite conversation really. I think people would feel they have to acknowledge it and then it means i'm talking about sad things all the time, which I don't want to do.

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TopCatsTopHat · 14/02/2022 09:58

Could you say ' a tricky question to answer for me, but that's a conversation for another day' simultaneously shouting the line of enquiry down but without revealing anything except don't ask. That could be alsorts of scenarios from child loss to step children to social services and on and on...

A breezy demeanour and change of subject to waft the conversation on
At least with a stick answer in your pocket you won't be sitting dreading the question so much.

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VeryMeh · 14/02/2022 10:41

Thanks all.

I think one of the reasons I find it so hard is the combination of late and early losses. If I had only had the earlier losses then I probably wouldn't mention them, and that's not because I don't love and miss them any less, but just from a physical point of view it was different. And there are probably lots of other mums around who have had an early loss before/ in-between their living children and they wouldn't mention those.

But then the later losses it was more like stillbirths, even if not legally recognised as that. So it feels wrong to not mention them. But it would feel wrong to acknowledge them and not the others.

It's such a tough one. I think I'm just feeling like a real sad case at the moment and over thinking everything.

@TopCatsTopHat I did once consider wording it like "he's the only one at home" or "the only one with us" but then realised it could be interpreted as having others taken off us by social services, and I obviously don't want people to think that about me. But maybe a stock answer about him being our miracle or something would be good to have, so people know it's been a struggle but don't have to ask any more questions.

Sorry for everyone else who's been through losses x

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BestZebbie · 14/02/2022 10:59

How about saying that you have "one living child"? Then everyone knows you are specifically referencing bereavement not social services/struggle to conceive etc, but people would tend to say "oh! I'm sorry for your loss" and move on if they got that reply (or possibly share their own story) rather than carry on asking about the details.

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