Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Do You Have Other Children?

It seems to be happening more right now. People have been asking, "Do you have more children?" "Is he your only?"

I struggle with answering that. 

I am raising one child. However, I have five. Four are in Heaven, having died before they were born, for reasons the doctors haven't been able to figure out. 

So when I am asked, "Do you have other children?" I want to say, "not living;" or "yes, waiting for me in Heaven." 

Sometimes, I do, if the person asking seems to be genuinely interested in my history.   

Usually, though, it's easier to answer as if I am the mom of singleton. It requires less explanation and I don't want to seem as though I am being overdramatic or making a bid for attention. Certainly, I don't want to make someone who has asked an obviously friendly question feel upset or ashamed. It's not a bad question either, I don't think people should stop asking it of others. 

It's just that, sometimes, I feel a bit like I am betraying my other children when I don't mention them.


One year, I lost a baby in March that would have been due in August. This was my third miscarriage, and I had carried halfway under the care of a specialist. We discovered that the baby had died at the twenty week ultrasound. I had already planned not to attend CYC, the conference of the youth ministry I volunteer for, because I was supposed to be on the maternity ward. This wonderful community not only made room for me but surrounded me with a depth of love and care that still amazes me when I think of it. Everyone -- yes the men, too -- offered support, prayer, hugs and extra childcare for Jordan without my ever asking. I was afraid to approach one woman, who had lost three babies after birth, feeling she had suffered so much more. On Commitment Night she was a prayer partner. When I went over to her, she threw her arms around me, reassured me, and prayed fervently, fully understanding my loss. 

At times though,I feel as though there are people who just want women to "get over" miscarriages quickly. I have known of groups where they were considered unimportant, basically something to be ignored. If there is a point of education to this blog, it's this: When you have carried a life within you, however briefly, it's loss brings real grief. 

Erma Bombeck was an auther and comedianne. She could find humor in almost anything, but this is what she said of her miscarriage:

           I lost the baby.....
...As I lay there mumbling “I am so sorry,” the guilt was unbearable. Feelings of self-recrimination came and went like waves of nausea. 
I had now joined a group of women who had to give a child back. They look like other women and they function like other women. But there is an emptiness inside of them that never goes away. At any given time of year when no one knows what they are talking about, they will look wistful and remark that the baby would be three years old today, or five, or ten. They play with the probabilities...the would have beens...could have beens... should have beens... and forever question, "Why?"

The babies would have been 12, 11, 8 and 5. I know they are waiting for me in a perfect place, but I really wish they were here.

Do you have a story of loss to share?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story. It helps me to understand better what my friends may be feeling who have suffered a miscarriage. Blessings to you!

  2. This is one of the questions that I want to ask God one day. Why does He allow this when so many babies are born to mothers who don't want them. Shower all the love you have for the lost babies on the one God gave you until they can all be with you one day.

    1. That's on my list of things to ask God, too. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I don't have any children at all and cannot even imagine the strength you must have to cope!

    1. God gives the strength. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Melinda, thank you for sharing such a heart-wrenching testimony. Have you read "Heaven is for Real"? Yes, your babies are waiting for you.

  5. I've heard of it, but I haven't read it. I know they are.

  6. Very touching. Years back, I became pregnant inadvertently but lost the baby within weeks. I've struggled for years with a deep sadness that I felt I didn't have the right to feel, since the pregnancy was only ever confirmed from a doctor after the miscarriage. I barely had time to experience pregnancy symptoms, let alone connect with a life growing inside me, and after a short amount of time mourning, I felt like I should just move on; after all, it's not like I was pregnant for any "real" length of time.

    Reading your words, "When you have carried a life within you, however briefly, it's loss brings real grief." - it hit home, hard. Thanks for saying that. I think I really needed to hear it.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Angela. We really do have the right to our sadness, the right to mourn for however long we need to, before we move on. I am glad I said something that connected with you and hope it helps.