How many kids do you have?
It’s a question we will face throughout our lives. For most people it is just small talk, but for moms of angels it seems anything but small. This episode is going to give you the answers you need to be able to handle this question with confidence, every time it comes up. You have to check it out if you have ever struggled with knowing what to say….and I don’t know any loss mom who hasn’t at some point.
Free 30 minute coaching session:
Stock music by Zingdog on Pond5
This episode, I really wanted to jump in with something practical for you to use whenever this comes up, and it’s gonna come up all the time. So I hope this is really, really helpful and practical for you. I wanna talk about. When people ask, how many kids do you have? Or possibly similar questions, like if you’re pregnant and they say, is this your first?
Things like that. We get these questions. We’ve all been there, right? We’ve been in standing in the grocery store and there’s. We’re just minding our own business and there is some sweet lady that just wants to make small talk and it doesn’t feel like small talk to us. Or maybe they express something about how, look at all your cute boys and do you wanna have a girl and your angel is a girl?
Anything like that. So you know what questions these are and you know which ones are the hardest for you. Oh, maybe have a twin, less twin. There’s just so many, but they all just come down to these questions that should be really simple and not that big of a deal. That just seem like such a big deal for those of us who don’t have all of our babies here.
So these can come, like I said, from total strangers. Or from new acquaintances. Uh, we moved after we lost Lauren. And so when we got to our new town, it was a little bit of a challenge because where we lived before, everyone knew our story, everyone knew what we had been through. They had kind of been through it with us, and then we moved somewhere totally new and had to navigate all of those introductions and questions and.
Also for our children, like they have to answer those questions. If you guys have living kids, you know that when they start the school year, lots of times they’ll have this, how many brothers and sisters do you have? So it’s really common and it’s something that comes up over and over. It’s not something we just answer once and we’re done and we’re gonna have to deal with it probably our whole lives.
But especially if you’re kind of in that. Those childbearing years or you’re raising a family, I mean, it just is gonna come up often. I was just watching the TV show A Million Little Things, and if you guys don’t watch it, I think it’s a really great show and they really deal with grief quite well. And as the show has gone on even into its second season.
They’re still dealing with their loss and I’ve enjoyed watching it. It really shows like the ripple effect of the loss of one person. And if you haven’t followed along the father of the story, John died by suicide right at the beginning of the show. And in this episode I was just watching, the family has a new baby that’s been born since he has died and.
They wanna get a family picture from their photographer that has kind of taken their pictures all along, all their birth announcements, all their Christmas cards, just every family picture this photographer has been there for. And so the wife, Delilah, is on the phone with him talking about getting this picture, and he’s just talking back to her and says, Hey, tell John not to get a haircut.
Um, not to cut his hair too short ’cause he has to airbrush that and just making conversation and they show Delilah sitting there realizing that this photographer doesn’t know what has happened. Right. And her face just drops and it’s really amazing. Like it really shows that moment where she just. She knows she has to say something, but she just doesn’t know what to say or how to say it.
And it really made me think of this that I wanted to talk about on the podcast today. It’s like we’ve all been there where we just, this question comes up like, how many kids do you have? And you just freeze. And in that split second, you’re kind of going through all. This uncertainty, you’re panicking. You don’t quite know what to say.
And these thoughts are racing. Like if I do talk about my angel baby, is it gonna be awkward? Like what is the other person gonna do? Are they gonna just stop in their tracks? You’re thinking about other people and other situations where maybe it did just kind of like kill the conversation and. It was really difficult for you.
You know? Are they just gonna stop talking and move away from you? Will you become emotional? I remember right after my losses, it would be harder ’cause I’d feel like I might cry if I talked about them. And all those things are racing you through your mind about if you do mention your babies. And then there’s the flip side.
Well, if I don’t mention my babies, are you leaving them out? Are you just lying to spare everyone some awkwardness? And you don’t get to tell your true story. You don’t get to tell what’s on your heart. Kind of feel like if I don’t say anything. I’m a bad mother, right? So many racing thoughts, and again, this is in that split second that I’m talking about where you just almost stutter or it’s just, it feels like it’s taking forever To answer this question that should not take this long.
What I wanna tell you guys today is it does not have to be impossible. It doesn’t even have to be hard. It can actually be really simple to answer these questions that come up over and over. First, we need to identify why you think your answer is gonna be a problem. So in this case, the question is our circumstance.
So whatever the person says, like. Oh, how many kids do you have? That’s just a neutral fact. That’s just something that has happened, and you get the choice of whatever thoughts you want to have about that. Okay? So, and you get to answer however you want. For example, if you think I’m leaving her out, I’m leaving my angel out if I don’t say something.
So someone asks you this question, how many kids do you have? You choose to mention only your living children. That’s a neutral fact. The words that you said are just a fact. They’re not good or bad. There’s no judgment on them. They just are. Those are the words that came outta your mouth, okay? But then you get to think whatever you want about those words.
So if you think. I’m leaving my angel out. You’re gonna feel really guilty. And when you’re feeling guilty about that interaction, you might go cry in your car. Like if this was at the grocery store, right? You might get in the car and cry. You might beat yourself up inside your mind thinking that you should have done something differently.
And you might avoid people the rest of the day ’cause you’re really upset about this thing that happened. You’re just feeling that guilt. And so the result of those actions ends up being that you’re leaving yourself out. Right? Because a result always goes back to the original thought, which was I’m leaving my angel out with those words that I said.
And so as you go through your day, you’re not really. Thinking about yourself. You’re not taking care of yourself and loving yourself. You’re worried about what the other people think. You’re worried about what you should have done. You’re worried about, I mean, honestly, you’re probably worried what your angel might think if they knew that you didn’t talk about them or mention them.
And it’s just bringing up kind of this guilt that generally doesn’t serve us really well. It’s maybe not how we show up as our best self when we’re feeling that guilt and shame over words that we said in the same situation. When someone asks you how many kids you have and you answer with the number of living children you have, you could also think, no matter what I say, I love all my children.
You would feel really confident and you would answer the question. Go on with the conversation and go on with your day, and your result would be that you love yourself, right? You’re taking care of yourself and you’re taking care of your kids. You’re really being the mom you want to be because you’re not gonna let a little interaction in the grocery store or wherever, just totally ruin your day because really that question can’t ruin your day.
Only your thoughts about it can affect what happens inside of you. And so when you move forward with confidence, you’re gonna feel so much better and you’re not gonna have that suffering, that that guilt and shame is gonna put on you. ’cause it’s really not necessary. Right? We don’t have to feel bad about the words that we said in this case.
So that’s what I want you guys to understand is there is actually no right answer. You get to choose to say whatever you want and you can say different things at different times, right? If you don’t want to bring up your whole story in the middle of the grocery store, you don’t have to. But if you’re meeting someone new and you feel like.
They are gonna be an important person in your life, or you feel comfortable sharing and you do talk about your babies. You can be confident there that no matter what their reaction is or what happens, you are in control and you love your children and everything’s gonna be fine no matter what you say.
There is no right answer and there is no wrong answer. You just get to choose, and that’s a really powerful place to get to. I know again, this comes up all the time, and even me, I have done a ton of work on this and I really don’t have a problem with it, but I still find myself sometimes hesitating and that’s okay too.
It’s okay to hesitate. It’s okay to have to run through your options in your mind. Really quickly and answer that question or maybe deflect a little bit. Sometimes I’ll say, oh, I have a bunch of kids, and I still think it’s kind of funny that I do that, but I don’t beat myself up about it and I don’t judge myself ’cause I don’t think there’s a wrong answer and I don’t think beating myself up is really a useful thing to do.
Okay, so I’m just gonna go back over a couple of points. Again, really practical. I want you guys to really think about this and think about why it’s been a problem for you, whether you’ve talked about your angels, whether you haven’t, why is it hard, and what if it isn’t hard? What if this is like the easiest question to answer?
Just remember, if someone asks you how many kids you have or any of the variations of this question, questioning about your family, you get to choose what you say because you get to choose what you think and you are a hundred percent in control of what you do and what other people think is really none of your business.
And you don’t know what they’re thinking. You can’t control what they’re thinking. So worrying about whether it’s gonna get awkward or all of those things that we tend to struggle with, you really don’t have to, right? You just choose what you wanna say in that moment, and it’s all up to you, okay? It cannot be awkward.
Because awkward is an emotion and emotions always come from our thoughts. So maybe you talk about your angel babies and they go silent, or their face drops or whatever happens. That doesn’t have to be awkward, right? It’s only awkward if you decide that it’s awkward because you think it is, but it really doesn’t have to be.
The second tip is, There is no wrong answer, right? And there’s no perfect right answer. Those go hand in hand. You cannot mess this up, right? You just say what you say and it’s totally fine. And then the third step is always you need to have your own back, which means. You are not gonna dwell on it. You’re not gonna beat yourself up.
You’re not gonna go over and over in your mind what you should have said or why you didn’t, or how you feel bad about it. All of these things that we tend to do, you just have your own back and love you because you love your babies. And I know that a hundred percent. And you know that. You know that you are their mother and you care about all of them, the ones that people can see, and the ones that people can’t see.
And so you gotta be confident in that, and it totally changes everything. It truly does. So I’m gonna give you permission right now to just let go of any. Guilt or questions or all of those things that just spin around in our mind, and I’m gonna ask you to just practice this the next time it comes up, or the next time there’s an opportunity to talk about your family.
You just decide. And sometimes you can decide ahead of time and other times it’s just gonna happen. And whatever you answer, you totally gave the right answer and there’s. No guilt. You just own it and keep moving on with your day no matter what you said. Okay? ’cause I promise you can’t mess this up. And when you’re really confident and you’re coming from a place of love, your results are gonna be so much better.
It’s just gonna be a totally different experience. And I promise if you practice this, it’s gonna get easier. You’re gonna be able to handle this. Every time it comes up and it’s not gonna be a problem anymore. So I hope that’s really helpful. And just remember when you come from that place of love, I think that’s when we can make change and that’s when we can encourage people to maybe come at it a different way.
I know something that I like to use instead of how many kids do you have, is just saying, tell me about your family. And then it is just a little bit softer of a question. And we can encourage people to maybe use a little bit different language, but they probably aren’t going to, because you know what?
How many kids do you have, or how many brothers and sisters do you have? That’s just a question that’s not gonna go away. We’re not gonna change that. Just remember you can say, Hey, tell me about your family, and it just leaves it a little bit more open ended for people to answer and a little softer. Just get out there and be confident and choose a thought that really fuels you.
And like I said, the one that I love is no matter what I say, I love all my children. I know. I love all my children, whether I mention them or not, or I love talking about my angel babies. No matter what other people think, right? You choose a thought that really fuels you, that really creates an emotion that you want to drive that conversation instead of fear or panic or shame or any of that.
It’s gonna feel so much better. If you have any other questions or you wanna know more, don’t be afraid to sign up for a 30 minute session with me. It’s totally free. We can talk through anything, particularly if you struggle with this question. I would love to talk through it with you in a little more detail.
And just find something that’s gonna work for you so that moving forward, you don’t ever have to struggle with this question again, and that’s gonna give you so much freedom. So sign up on my website, smooth stones coaching.com. And I can’t wait to talk to you.
Don’t forget to subscribe, so you never miss an episode.