“Have a baby, mom.” My three year pleads with me.
“No, baby girl. I have you.” I look at her and smile.
She begs again, not really fully understanding what she asking. “Please, momma, I want a baby.”
“No, sweet girl. I don’t need a baby. You’re my baby.” I pull her in for a hug as she giggles and tries to wiggle her way free.
Who knows what has sparked this conversation in her sweet, little, innocent mind this Sunday afternoon.
I know one of her friends at preschool has recently welcomed a baby brother. Then there is the new baby episodes of Doc McStuffins that Madeline seems to play on repeat these days. We have been looking at her own baby photos a lot lately too. She’s been asking questions about the time she was in mommy’s tummy. I’m certain it’s just the combination of everything all mixed up together in her little mind that has her asking for a baby brother or sister on this day, but those words…
I think we were still in the hospital the first time we were asked when were planning on having another one. No rest for the weary, sleep-deprived, or newly recovering from a c-section momma. Must immediately plan for your next child before you have even figured this one out.
At first it was easy to just laugh people off.
“Let me get used to her first.”
“Maybe after we sleep through the night.”
“Maybe once she’s potty trained.”
Everyone’s replies are always the same, but she’s so sweet, precious, adorable, etc. DON’T YOU WANT TO HAVE ANOTHER?
The fact of the matter is my husband and I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out where we are with the idea of having another child.
We have become very content with the idea of our family staying the way it is now. We enjoy spoiling our daughter and focusing all of our energy and time on her. It’s something that we know we wouldn’t have if we had another child at this point. We also know that the only child that we really want is our Joshua and that’s not going to happen.
When most people look at our family they see a lovely little family of three. They don’t notice the one that is missing. It’s easy for them to look at our sweet three-year-old daughter and wonder why we aren’t ready to give her a little brother or sister yet, not knowing that she is the little sister.
When you lose your first born, it seems like people forget that they ever existed once you have another a child.
If I put Madeline in a “Little Sister” shirt, people look confused. I gently remind them that she has a big brother, he just passed away shortly after birth. They think it’s just some confused mixed up pregnancy announcement. As if I forgot that she would actually be a Big Sister if I was pregnant.
So the questions continue.
“Madeline would make such a good big sister.”
“So when are you guys going to have another one?”
Or my personal favorite, “Madeline needs a brother.”
Ask me how much that one cuts like knife.
I know these are normal things that every couple hears. This is not something that is exclusive to loss parents, so let me pause here and just say it really is no ones business when you choose to have a child, or if you choose to have a child, other than you and your partner and possibly your doctor.
For the well-meaning family members and friends, for the all-too-invested neighbors, co-workers, and clients – stop asking.
Take a minute to realize that these are very personal decisions. There are many reasons that a couple may not be ready or able to have another or even a first child. For those who looked at our family after our loss, they didn’t see us as parents who had lost a child.
They saw us as a couple without children. So they didn’t understand why their innocent question of when were planning on starting a family would often cause me to exit the room in tears. Just like now, when people ask us when we are planning on having another child. My heart is screaming out, I already HAD another child.
They don’t realize that the trauma of our first pregnancy and subsequent loss caused such fear and anxiety for our second pregnancy that we just don’t think that is something that either of us want to go through again.
Not to mention the actual physical risks. We have grown content and happy with our decision to keep our family just as it is. I just wish everyone else would be too.