So, Do You Have Kids? | Anchors Aweigh


So, Do You Have Kids?

"Do you have kids?" This has come to be the question I dread being asked. What should be black and white is so many shades of gray. It's not a rude or intrusive question by any means, and most people just ask casually as a conversation starter. The thing is though, when I hear that question, I immediately have to make a choice: say what I truly believe or say what others want to hear. 

I went over to my good friend's house a couple of weeks ago for a girls night. Her sweet mother was there whom I had never met. She started going around the table asking who had kids. My heart started beating faster and my palms started sweating. I was the last one in the circle, and I knew what was coming. When she came to me, my answer was "Uhhhhh, yes, but she's in Heaven". She couldn't have been sweeter in her response, but the mood instantly changed and the conversation grew more somber for a little bit. It had been almost 4 months since Taylor went to Heaven, and this was the first time I had to answer this question. 

I spoke to my dad about it the next day on the phone. I was just so torn about how to handle this going forward. In my heart, I cannot honestly say that I don't have kids. I just can't. I believe with everything that I am that I have a daughter and that she will always, always be the one who made me a mother. This hand print and foot print tell me I have a child. 

Society, however, doesn't see it that way. She is not here in the flesh, so to the world, I do not have a daughter. I am supposed to say "no" when people ask if I have kids. It's the socially acceptable thing to do. It's the comfortable thing to do. For everyone else, that is. One thing my dad pointed out is that this internal conflict will never end. Even if we are blessed with 10 healthy children, when people ask how many kids we have, do we say 10 or 11? 

This is something I have really struggled with over the past couple of weeks. Answering "no" to this question feels like I am denying that our Taylor Grace was ever here. Answering "yes" invites more questions and will ultimately end in people feeling uncomfortable. It's a lose/lose, but I have to make a choice. A few days later, a store owner asked the same question when I was out shopping. I said "no". It was the first time I had said "no" to that question since August 11, 2014, the day we found out we were pregnant. 

Ultimately, I will always know and believe that I have a kid. If we have 10 healthy children, I will know we have 11 altogether. When spending time with friends and family, I can talk about Taylor anytime I want. When a stranger on the street just brings up the question in passing, I need to give them the socially acceptable answer, smile, and know in my heart that there is more to the story. I don't see it as lying. It's all about how you interpret the question. Do I have a baby here? No, I do not. This is the question strangers are asking, so I will give them the answer they are looking for. In my heart though, I know there is so much more to tell. The question is anything but black and white. 

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The Life You Love said...

Chelsea, I am always incredibly humbled by your posts about Taylor. Your honesty and courage when talking about her are beautiful. I didn't ever really think about things like this, the things that happen even months after your loss. Thank you for once again sharing such a personal and enlightening topic.

Ladonna said...

You are a mom and will always be a mom. Don't ever doubt that. But I understand how it can lead to other questions but God gave you your precious daughter.

Thanks for sharing your heart.

Jen said...

You will always be a Mom, there is no doubt about that. You have a precious daughter who is no longer with you but that does not make you any less of a Mom.

Bailey Kay said...

I can't even imagine how difficult that must be. I try to not ask questions like that because you never know someone's story. I tend to just say "So tell me about yourself." For me, sometimes it hurts when people ask if I'm married or in a relationship.

Traci@TheHallway said...

You are handling everything so well and your story is incredible! I think you are doing the right thing by all means! We lost our first baby right around 12 weeks, we were too early to know gender or name so for us it is something my husband and I will always remember and hold close to our heart, which is why I always say 3 pregnancies, 2 healthy babies! ;) You are an incredible momma to that sweet angel baby!!

Melissa said...

You are a mother now, and you will be a mother again, beautiful girl. I can't imagine the pain of such a reality, but I know that God will bless you tenfold for embracing your struggle with such grace.

Lydia @ This Marine Wife said...

Yes, Taylor made you a mommy, and she will always be your child. Just like what your dad talked about, I always stumble when people ask me how many children I have. In my mind, including my current pregnancy, I have 7. But, only 3 are living outside of my womb and 3 are in heaven. I too face that awkward moment when I get asked that.

Something you could maybe consider though is still giving the answer that is in your heart. You have no idea how many lives you could touch by being blatantly honest with your answer. I had decided a while back that I would always mention all of my children whenever I'm asked, and I can't even begin to tell you the number of good conversations that have come out of it as opposed to uncomfortable ones. I've had women open up to me about their losses, while others have asked me how I'm handling it. When they ask that, it's a wonderful and perfect opportunity to share about God's provision and strength through it all.

Of course, there are times when time just doesn't allow for those conversations. But, you never know who you could touch. You are such a sweet person, and your testimony through this is amazing!

Stephanie said...

You absolutely have a daughter and have experienced the joys and heartbreak of parenthood. I say trust what you feel your heart is telling you. God put Taylor Grace in your life and made you her mom for a reason. Whatever you decide, do it for yourself not for everyone else's comfortability. As always you are approaching this with poise and thoughtfulness. It is truly humbling to watch you in your motherhood journey. I continue to pray for you and strength. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story.

The Lady Okie said...

I've actually thought of this myself, and I think your post is really perfect. It probably depends on the person who's asking. Maybe in a passing conversation, it's quicker just to say "no," even though there IS more to the story and you DO have a child in heaven. But sometimes it's okay to say "yes" even if it makes others feel uncomfortable. A lady in my Bible study once did that. She has 2 children living and another who died shortly after birth. When she answered, she said, "I have 2 children on earth and 1 baby in heaven." In general, however, I think sometimes it's rude to ask that question. I know people are just making conversation, but we need to all be more aware of how that question can be painful. Thanks for sharing. You are awesome!


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