The Questions-A Dad’s Point of View

One of the hardest things about losing a baby is the questions that are asked following the loss.  I’m not talking about the people who ask the questions about what happened.  I’m talking about the people who knew we were pregnant but didn’t know the baby died, or, maybe even worse, the ones that didn’t know we were pregnant and ask if we have kids.

Quinn was going to be our first child.  I talked about the upcoming baby and all the nervous emotions I had with anyone that would listen.  I probably didn’t go a day at the office without someone asking if I was ready for my life to change (ironic, huh?).  When Quinn died, I let my boss know I’d be out a few days and I let the one secretary I’m close with know so she could pass word along to the others I worked with.  I didn’t realize how much I had talked about Quinn until I came back to work 3 days later.  Most people I worked with offered their condolences and awkward clichés.  I smiled and clung to my favorite reply to the “how are you doing” question: “hanging in there.”

It became readily apparent if a person did not know what happened.  Instead of the sad eyes, head down, somber tone, their questions were asked expecting the happy answers I gave before we lost Quinn.  I could feel my heart race as they asked their question, “How’s Holly doing?”  When I always replied “hanging in there,” I hoped there wouldn’t be a follow-up.  A few times I was lucky, but often the follow-up question asked if she was ready to have the baby yet.

Other times, I was talking with a group of people where some knew what happened and some didn’t.  One of the people who knew asked how Holly was doing, somber tone and all.  I replied with the usual response, and another person, one who didn’t know, asked if we had any kids.

There’s no good way to answer those questions.  My answers depend on the mood I’m in as to how much detail I give.  Usually, if it’s apparent that the line of questions will continue until the baby is discussed, I tell them briefly what happened in general terms.  The horror fills their eyes and I know I immediately ruined their day.  I’m the one that ends up apologizing to them because I’ve had months to come to terms with what happened; they can’t even process it in the few seconds I give them.

I’ve answered the “do you have any kids” question multiple ways.  Some days, I just give a “no” and change the subject as fast as I can before the “do you want them” question comes, or, worse, the “good for you” type response comes.  Other days, especially when I’m feeling down, my answer is, “yes, I had one.”  Again, I know I ruined that person’s day with a just a few words.

Do I feel bad?  Sometimes.  But really, this is my reality.  If you want to know me, you need to know what I’ve been through.  Your experiences shape who you are as a person, and sometimes, it’s better to be blunt (like my wife) than pretend it didn’t happen.  By pretending it didn’t happen, you only end up feeling guilty later on.

3 thoughts on “The Questions-A Dad’s Point of View

  1. These questions are sooooo difficult. Excruciating. I’m a big question avoider – like I won’t even look at strangers for fear they might talk to me now (this wasn’t how I used to be). But I usually find that if someone does ask me, I’m just honest (blunt like your wife I guess). It can be disturbing to see their reaction, yes – I’m generally reminded of just how horrible what happened to me really is (not that I don’t already know, but it’s just become part of my everyday life, so I’m used to it I guess…). I find that I give not a flying eff whether I ruin someone’s day or make them uncomfortable. I mean, I’m uncomfortable too – I’ve buried my child. So yes, they can handle their several minutes of discomfort. So sorry you’re currently in this stage of receiving all these questions – it sucks. And I can’t say nine months later they’re super easy to answer either, but they come less frequently.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve learnt through very different circumstances that getting it in there as quickly as possible is my preferred method. However, this is when I meet new people and I’m met with an initial opportunity to ‘come out’. I am yet to encounter ‘coming out of the dead baby closet’ to strangers, as with Christine, I’ve avoided it. To the point of shutting my eyes through an entire hair cut so as to avoid any conversation! I agree immensely that people need to know the whole you, and if that makes them uncomfortable then so be-it. They can choose to get in or get out. We can’t. I hope it becomes smoother. It’s all such a mind-f. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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