Ninapintasantamaria's Blog

{June 22, 2009}   What do you say when…

someone asks you “So, is this your 1st?” I’ve been telling everyone the truth, which is yes and no. I then have to explain about my little girl, well, I was 18 weeks along and that no, we didn’t name her, and oh, well, um anencephaly is a lethal fetal anomaly that causes….*sigh*
So, as you can see, this sets me up for a lot of awkward stares and questions. I’m not a shy person, and I’ll tell you just about anything you want to know, right down to the size of the Mt Vesuvii (The New Official Moniker for “the girls.” I’m gonna need a crane to hoist ’em into the truck soon). But, I don’t want to give too much information, and I certainly don’t want to dis-count her, as she was my 1st child, and I don’t like making people ill at ease, if I can avoid it. One of those southern things, I guess. I was raised that you make everyone as comfortable as possible, and try to include everyone in the conversation. That was my mother coming right out of my mouth. Or fingers, as the case may be. I wish I could find a way to tell the truth, but not necessarily have to go into so much detail. I’m just not that graceful under pressure, I suppose. I’m out of ideas, yet again. Any thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I’m not sure what I will say when and if that situation presents itself to me. Like you, I don’t want to discount the babies I’ve lost, but strangers don’t understand and won’t really care to hear about my losses. I’m sorry I don’t have any great advice… just know that you aren’t alone in this situation.


Just say no this is my second but we lost our daughter at 18 weeks gestation. You do not have to elaborate any farther than that.

When I get asked how many children I have I say four but one was lost due to an ectopic. Then I move the convo right along.

^WiseGuy^ says:

That’s a very awkward situation…Just say that you have an angel in heaven, and this is your second.

Good Luck!


Hailey says:

When people ask me about if I have kids or anything, I say I have a son who died at birth. Then if they want more details, I’ll explain his chromosomal disorder. I’m like you– I’d never want to pretend like he never existed. So I’ll mention him, even though it is an uncomfortable situation for others. Pain and loss are a normal part of life. People try to avoid the subject so much because it’s uncomfortable, but that sometimes only makes it harder for people when they actually experience pain and loss.

Nina says:

Thanks, Hailey. I like that idea. Can I steal that method? Apparently, our husbands are acquainted. And I think your husband has been out to the house! Not that I knew the difference, cause my husband has no manners and never introduced me!

Hailey says:

Steal away. 🙂 I know, I think it’s so funny that our husbands know each other! He told me that he went to your house for lunch one day, but he didn’t get to meet you. Maybe we’ll all get to meet sometime!

CityGirl says:

Probably anyone asking if he’s your first has kids themselves. Childless people don’t think to ask that question. So if you look at the questioner and say, “Yes…and no.” I’d think she’d get the idea. If she’s been preggers, she knows 1) what it is, exactly, that you’re getting at or 2) better than to pursue it.

Does that make sense?

becomingwhole says:

Hmmm, CityGirl, perhaps childless people are sensitive enough to not ask that question, depending on the reason for which they are childless.

This is a tough one for me, Nina, but I kind of also like CityGirl’s “yes and no” answer. Also raised to be polite and make others comfortable at any cost, I am becoming more comfortable with at least the IDEA that if someone makes me uncomfortable, it is ok for me to make them so also. Thinking about pain and loss is not always comfortable. We would all rather think about bunnies and puppies and perfect little babies born exactly on their due dates who never cry and sleep through the night but life is not like that.

Ok. Unscheduled rant over. I’m sorry I don’t have anything more of substance than a rant, but, hey, that’s the kind of readers you attract :).

rosesdaughter says:

I get asked is this your first pregnancy a lot. Then,I have to say no. Sometimes I leave it at that and watch them squirm since they asked such a personal question. But hey, I wasn’t born in the south. :)When someone asks if this is my first baby, then I just say yes. I REALLY dont feel like going into details.

Lorza says:

I am southerner too…and the whole burden of making sure YOU are responsible for other’s comfort is tiresome. If they ask you, then they should be ready for the answer. I would say no, my first child passed at 18 weeks. If they ask more, tell them….if not leave it at that. You can help with their comfort by filling in the awkward silence after the 18 weeks part with immediately saying something related to current pregnancy. Most people don’t want to acknowledge as death/tragedy, but don’t want to change the subject as to seem insensitive. If you change the subject away from the tragedy it doesn’t seem so bad….you could even throw out a question to them to get the focus off of yourself. Depends on what your mood is like at the time you are asked! Good luck with that one!

I am sorry about your daughter. That is a heart breaker.

I’ve never been in that particular situation and it’s a pretty “natural” question for some to ask. But when I’m asked if we have any siblings in between my two I’m always honest, sometimes rude because I’m crabby, and say “we had some problems in between”. I would just be honest so as not to discount your daughter. I’m truly sorry you have to go through this. I hope you get some useful information.

geohde says:

I never know what to say. These days I’m far enough along the track that I don’t mention my first girl to those in the supermarket (because it makes them uncomfortable) but I do to friends.


Melissa G says:

I think it’s important that you acknowledge your angel too. If you use the proper tone, like matter of factly, then it won’t be as awkward. I agree with Hailey that sometimes the things left unsaid make situations more uncomfortable for someone dealing with loss.

Congrats on your boy!


Leah says:

Thanks for visiting my blog. Its always comforting to know there are others out there who understand what happened to us – I’ve never met anyone in real life who had an anencephaly baby, but now I have met a few in the blog world. And now we are about the same amount pregnant. Yay for us! I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

On how to answer that awkward question – depends on who asks for me and how I am feeling at that moment. I like the “yes and no” option.

I agree with some of the others. I think I would just say, “we have one in Heaven,” or “this is the first baby we’ll be able to bring home from hospital” if someone asked. Then if they ask for further details you can provide them at your discrimination.

My sister’s best friend was killed in a car accident when they were teenagers. Years later, I remember someone asking the girls mother, “Are these your only 2 children?” She quickly said, “we have 3, but one is in Heaven” and then she moved the conversation along to something else.

I hope you find an “answer” to give that makes you comfortable.


Val says:

Most of the time, I just say Z is my only “HUMAN” child which generally draws a laugh, deflecting a potentially painful conversation w/a little humor…
But I have been wrestling w/the issue of when DO I tell Z about his deceased sister (he’s 11 now) – 12? 16?? 18??? Never?!?!?
I may just write up her story for his half-assed “baby book” – a journal I’ve been quite negligent in keeping since he was 11 mos old…
[I plan to give him the journal when he leaves home]

lkregula says:

Why do such simple questions have some of the hardest answers?


Michelle says:

I say do whatever makes you comfortable. My aunt lost a baby at 5 months and she still says she has 5 children, one is in heaven. It’s a tough concept and I believe the child in heaven shouldn’t be forgotten.
~Michelle *ICLW*

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