“Is she your only child?” That’s a question I’m still struggling to decide how to answer. Often asked harmlessly by acquaintances, like last week at a kid’s party, it’s a question that throws me into a downward spiral for days. Of course, they see my perfect, sweet four year old daughter running happily about and wonder if I would like to have more beautiful children like her; Or even more importantly, do I plan on giving her a sibling? And the obvious answer to me is, We have other children. We have a son. My equally treasured and loved baby, Owen, whom we lost unexplainably towards the end of my pregnancy this October. And, if we’re speaking honestly, I also had another child I miscarried too early to know his or her gender, so technically we have three.
But how honest should I get with those who don’t know my circumstances or how devastating their question is to me? I try to be candid of course; I explain my losses, trying not to get upset, and hoping that it won’t make me into the “Debbie Downer” of the party. Most woman are sympathetic, especially those who are finished growing their families and have no fear of my bad luck rubbing off on them. But I get this feeling from other young moms who are still in their childbearing years that what I’m saying might be too much for casual conversation. Though they listen (with terror in their eyes), I feel like I need to censor what I say so as to not worry them if they plan on having more kids. Truth be told, I am worried whenever I hear of anyone getting pregnant and all I can do is secretly pray that everything goes better for them; That they can get to keep their healthy babies. Please God. Don’t let this happen to anyone else.
My son is gone and that’s a pain I have to continue to endure until I get to hold him again. Meanwhile I am trying to wholeheartedly enjoy the special moments I get to share with his sister. I know I am lucky and have a lot to be thankful for, but I am still struggling to be okay; the pain, sadness, loneliness, emptiness, hurt and anger of losing our son makes my postpartum depression even worse. Our loss has changed our lives and challenged me to try to rebuild my heart from all the shattered pieces. I’m not there yet, but I’m in therapy and trying to focus on the good, taking it one moment at a time.
At the end of the day, I just have to tell myself this is God’s plan. I heard a DJ on the radio yesterday say, “we have one child in the target and the others still in the quiver”. With that he was saying, our children are like arrows and the target is heaven, so we have to remind ourselves that the ones we have lost have already made it to that amazing place. Meanwhile we all must continue to take aim at that bullseye and try to earn our way in. It somehow gives me a little peace knowing we have our son waiting in the target and the rest of us will hopefully join him when it’s our time. Our three children will still get to play joyfully together some day; This is God’s promise of eternal life for all who follow him and a truth I cling to when I am desperately missing my son.
So I guess I’ll just keep on trying to be honest when I reply to that no longer simple question… It may be painful, but it’s true; We have three children, although only one is with us now.