I never in a million years would have guessed that this question would carry so much weight for me. Make me feel so torn, uncomfortable, and just plain awkward.
This question is a hard one. And the answer is "Yes. I have a son. His name is David Holtan. He died."
That's the truth.
But the answer doesn't always come out like that. It’s hard to say and very uncomfortable to hear I’m sure.
Recently, I read an article about speaking the truth when you're asked that question. Your child whose life was cut way too short deserves to be honored and spoken about. The article encouraged you to always say yes to this question, even if it is uncomfortable. That if you don't, you're in some way dishonoring your child.
But not everyone can handle the truth, and sometimes, for social situation's sake, the truth isn't always necessary. And sometimes, I can't handle the truth. In a room full of strangers, people I will likely never see again, is it really necessary for me to say the truth? That my son died in utero and we don't have any living children? It feels weird. It feels like I'm seeking attention and saying things to make others uncomfortable. But then, why do I feel like I have to lie just to keep other's from feeling uncomfortable? Am I altering what I would say for myself or for others?
To be honest, some of it is for myself. I'm not ready to admit the truth. I don't want it to be true, and in some silly way I feel if I don't say it out loud, that maybe it's not. And I'm protecting myself, and Dave too. As soon as I say the truth in a social situation, we invite extra attention, and sympathy, that sometimes, we don't really want. It's just easier to omit the truth sometimes. I do struggle with the guilt of not mentioning him, but I am getting better about letting this go. I also feel frustration that I have to even think about this, and for most moms this question is one they love to hear, because they get to brag about their little bundles and maybe even show pictures of their littles. It just feels so unfair sometimes.
I've thought a lot about this question, probably more than I should think about a silly stupid question. But it's a heavy question for me. One that comes up a lot, and will continue to come up, even when we have more kids...it will just change to, "How many kids do you have?"
It's another inconvenience and awkward part of being a loss parent, one that I'll have to continue to navigate and figure out what's best for me.