Ok, so let’s say we do have another baby (as you all know this is something we are very hopeful for). That baby will always have a big brother. We will always have 2 kids (god willing this IVF process works!). But it leads to so many questions that I know how to answer for myself, or at least I think I do. However, they all seem to carry many underlying thoughts and internal questions inside these questions that seem so simple. These questions aren’t ones I would have ever thought to ask myself without having lost our first child. Another “perk” to being in this shitty club.
In no particular order:
Question 1 – how would we sign Christmas cards from our family? This may seem like a silly question but it’s something I’ve recently thought about. Do we just write my name and my husbands name (and hopefully our future child’s name)? That doesn’t seem right. Quinlan is still part of our family and it’s a family Christmas card. I once heard a mom who lost her daughter in the Newtown shooting say that she would sign cards with her and her husbands name, her living children’s names, and then include “and the spirit of” her daughter that passed. Is that what we would do? Do we come up with some sort of an abbreviation to include after our names so those receiving the card know that Quinlan is always a part of our Christmas story? Or do we just write “Quinlan”? Something I think about. Something as simple as how to sign a Christmas card. I guess I’ll let you know come Christmas time.
Question 2 – how do I respond when people ask if I have any children? I will never say “no, I do not have any children” or after another baby “I have one child”. That response, to me, is cringeworthy. However, I know the response of “I have a son, but he passed away” comes with the facial expression, the apologies, the sadness, all from total strangers. Lately I’ve been finding myself replying with the above response, and then as quickly as possible say “but we are really excited to hopefully expand our family very soon”. Cue the sad, contorted facial expression turned jovial with an added “oh! That is exciting”. But not wanting to show TOO much of the obligatory pep that people have when talking about hope for a future baby, because they also now know my first born is no longer with us. And then if we do have another one, my response will still be “I have two children” but then knowing there will most likely be a follow up question of “Oh how old are they?” I will again have to get the “Oh I’m so sorry” face. How easy would it be to just say “We’re hoping to have one in the future”. Yes, it would be easier, but we’ve never been a family to take the easy way out.
Question 3 – don’t we want two more kids so we don’t have an “only child”? This one is a tough one. And it’s one I’ve kinda had a hard time with. My future child will never be an only child. Yet he or she would be raised as an only child. How do you define that? How do you raise a child by him or herself, but make sure they know and understand that Mom and Dad have two children? “Don’t you want two children to grow up together?” My answer to that is: Yes, more then anything in this entire world would I want my children to grow up together. But that will not happen. I will never have a picture of all of our children together. I will never know what it’s like to have my son holding his little brother or sister in his lap. I would do anything for that to happen. How lucky for a little boy or girl to grow up with Quinlan by their side. Of all those on the “shitty parts of losing a child” list, this is absolutely right at the top. But in spite of all that, I can’t say I want two children just so they can grow up with a sibling. If we are lucky enough to have one more, then yes, we will have two children. And they will always know they are not an only child. This question sounds so confusing, but at the same time, it’s obvious to me. Even though, it’s not an obvious scenario. I’m continuing to confuse myself.
What it ultimately comes down to, the biggest question of all, is how do we ensure that Quinlan is never forgotten? How do we make sure he is never “replaced” by another child? How can we engrave in all our hearts and minds that he is and will continue to be a huge part of our family? He is our first born, he will be the big brother, he will always be our son, even if he’s not here. I don’t want any of that to be forgotten.
In the meantime, I suppose questions will be asked, answers will be given, and cards will be signed.