How many children do you have?

How many children do you have?

It’s a simple question, one which we ask countless times when meeting new people, making polite conversation, at soft play, weddings and parties, during drunken exchanges in poky pub toilets with other Mums who can’t handle their drink. And for most of us it’s easy to answer, just a number, a name, an age, and it’s said even without thinking, forgotten as soon as it’s left your mouth, swiftly moving on to the next question without a second thought.

But for us, for bereaved parents, it’s a very difficult question to answer and instantly triggers a whole chain of thoughts, emotions and worries. It’s a case of instantly weighing up the situation, predicting how the other person will react, what kind of conversation it will lead to, whether, actually, it’s just easier to simply say four.

And yet often I find myself thinking, easier for who? For me? Absolutely not, because for me it leads to feelings of guilt and self loathing that I denied a baby who is very much a part of our family. I will inevitably go home that night and beat myself up over the fact that I didn’t include Joseph alongside the others, that I allowed the taboo of baby loss to make me feel that I should stay quiet about a child whom I carried, gave birth to and held in my arms.

And yet for others? More often than not, it is easier to stay quiet, to avoid the inevitable conversation that follows. “Oh five children, wow!” they will say, “How old are they?” And I will find myself answering, “Two, three, four and ten.” and watch as they mentally calculate the numbers, maybe thinking hang on a minute that’s only four, perhaps assuming that I must have twins, or more likely that with five children I struggle to remember what day it is, let alone the age of all of my children.

But for others who look at me questioningly and press, “Didn’t you say five?” I have to bring myself to answer, to tell them, “My second son was stillborn. He would have been ten.” And a light hearted conversation, polite chit chat, or a passing comment, suddenly becomes an awkward silence, the mood instantly changing, a look of sympathy and the flustered response of, “Oh I’m sorry.” And when they swiftly move on, probably off to down a large drink at the bar, I’m left  apologetic, with regret, and, even worse, at times, embarrassed.

Dove0015

Sometimes, and I’ve never said this out loud before for fear of others thinking that I have lost the plot entirely, when a random stranger asks me how many children I have, I simply reply “Five.” And when I am asked how old they are, I tell them, “Two, three, four, ten and twelve.” And I omit to mention the fact that Joseph died, or that there are now only four, and I nod and laugh in agreement when they tell me that our lives must be manic, that I have my work cut out for me, that my hands must be full. And for a moment, just a split second, I allow myself to imagine that there are five children to go home to, that our lives are every bit as crazy and manic as I’m sure it must be with five, and I relish in that moment, imagining how it would feel to live a life without one of your children constantly missing.

Over the years you would be surprised by the number of people who have failed to include Joseph in our family. Not just strangers, but family members and friends, those who I would have expected more from. And possibly even more surprising, I have lost count of the number of health professionals who so easily omitted Joseph when discussing our children. “So you’ve had two children?”, one midwife asked me during my booking in appointment with Eva, a pregnancy which I was already hugely emotional and anxious about. “Yes that’s right.” I had told her, “Lewis in 2004 and Joseph in 2006.” And she had stopped writing in my green notes, put down her pen, and peered at me over her glasses, the look on her face still etched in my memory, four years on,, “The stillborn??” she had asked, He doesn’t count.” And I had been so shocked, and so deeply hurt that, it was only afterwards when I cried in my car on the drive home, I berated myself for not correcting her, for not telling her that, in no un-certain terms, he did count. And he does count.

Losing a baby has taught me that there is so much more to a Mother than meets the eye. It made me all too aware that the childless lady I chat to on the bus may still be a Mother, that the happiest of family photos may well be hiding a heart breaking loss, that a Mother’s eldest child isn’t necessarily her first, and that every single baby counts, no matter how short their stay. But most of all it taught me that a Mother isn’t defined by the number of children in her arms, but by the number of children she carries in her heart.

And so the next time someone asks me how many children I have, I will tell them, without hesitation, there are five.

 

 

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132 Comments

  1. November 11, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    I can imagine how hurtful it must have been to hear those words “He doesn’t count”. I can’t imagine how insensitive some people are. You would think that as health professionals they would be trained not to be that way 🙁

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Thank you, you’re right, but perhaps they see it so often they have become hardened to it somehow. It’s devastating though and so wrong. xx

  2. November 11, 2016 / 9:53 pm

    Oh god I wouldnt have been able to hold my tongue! Of course he counts and in many ways more than most… some people honestly!

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 12:09 pm

      Thank you Rachel. xxx

  3. November 12, 2016 / 7:41 am

    Oh sweetheart, you know? Nothing good ever comes from this question does it? I can’t imagine the pain that might cause. I have a parallel pain when people ask me how many I have and the answer is one. People should just stop asking this question!! Sending love and hugs always xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 12:04 pm

      I agree, it’s so important to realise that this is such a difficult question to answer for far too many. Love to you. xxx

  4. November 12, 2016 / 7:41 am

    That is an awful thing for someone to say, what a uncaring individual. I can not imagine what you went through losing your son, Yes he does count.. I feel emotional for you reading your post 🙁

    I remember miscarrying and I will never forget the look on the nurses face. I was in bits, crying so much and she was like a counter assistant at a shop. As if to say hurry up and go now, next customer 🙁

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      Oh Claire I’m so sorry to hear that. I think sometimes they become hardened to baby loss, as they deal with it every day, and perhaps in some way protect themselves by becoming void of emotion. I’ve had twenty miscarriages so we have experienced a whole range of reactions with doctors and nurses, and there are some who have been just awful ,referring to the baby as “the product” and others who have been so loving and warm and sensitive. Love to you mama.xxx

  5. November 12, 2016 / 7:59 am

    I’m sat here in utter shock at your Midwife’s comments. Having yet to fully explore healthcare in a pregnancy after Leo, I am curious what kind of comments we will receive. What a callous and unnecessary thing to say and I understand why that still sits with you. He counts, they all count. Thank you for continuing speaking he bereaved mothers voice xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 12:02 pm

      Thank you lovely. I so hope that you never experience that with Leo, although the number of health care professionals who referred to Joseph as “the stillborn” is just terrible. He was a baby, with a name, and he mattered. I won’t ever stop including him or talking about him, just the same as I talk about my other children. Love to you, my fellow brave mama. xxx

  6. November 12, 2016 / 3:52 pm

    What a terrible thing to say, you wouldn’t believe that a health care professional could be so insensitive, I can only imagine how you must feel. Last year my niece lost her beautiful baby boy, it’s heart breaking and we will never forget him.

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:59 am

      I’m so sorry to hear that, how devastating for you all. I have found health care professionals to be the worst for referring to him as “the stillborn” or acting like he didn’t matter. It’s heartbreaking really. xx

  7. November 12, 2016 / 4:16 pm

    It’s such an innocent but loaded question when you don’t know someone’s story. If I were in your shoes I have no idea how I’d deal with it. You are a very brave woman

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:58 am

      Thank you lovely. It’s very hard isn’t it, you never know what someone has been through, or is going through. xx

  8. November 12, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    How insensitive of that midwife, I would have complained for sure. You are right thought, always say you have 5 even if you omit the fact that Joseph is no longer with you

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:57 am

      Thank you Kara, it’s important to me that I do or else I just end up feeling terrible. xx

  9. November 12, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    How on earth can a midwife be so insensitive. Joseph will always matter.xxx

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:56 am

      Shocking isn’t it? Thanks lovely. xxx

  10. November 12, 2016 / 10:50 pm

    If I was in that position I’d probably think should I include the little angel baby or not but when it comes down to it I probably would mention it because weather they are here or not they are still family and they are still with us

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:44 am

      Thanks Karen, you’re right. I think sometimes people just don’t know what to say and they become quite awkward and embarrassed which then makes me feel terrible. But still, that’s their problem! xx

  11. November 13, 2016 / 7:50 am

    A thought provoking read this, so emotional. I can’t imagine those discussions and I don’t know what I would do either in those situations. You can only do what your heart tells you to do.

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:42 am

      Thank you Elizabeth. I think you’re right. And my heart tells me I should be open and say there are five, whether people want to hear that or not. xx

  12. November 13, 2016 / 12:17 pm

    I can’t imagine the loss you may feel but over the years I can relate to this question. You see, we have never had children and yet at my age it is automatically assumed that I should and do have them. For some I understand it is a choice whilst for others it is something that they don’t have a choice over. No-one asks me which category I fall into they just automatically make an assumption because of the lifestyle I have chosen.

    I think that talking about children is a very emotive subject and one I have long stayed away from so not to cause pain or hurt to anyone.

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:41 am

      I’m sorry to hear that Tam, whether that is a choice you made or a choice that was made for you, it’s a difficult position to be in when people make assumptions of you. I think asking if someone has children is very much considered a conversation starter but it’s important that we are mindful that their answer may be painful to them. I have a friend who had a daughter who died and she did not go on to have others, she constantly gets told that she should have children, that she is missing out, that she’ll regret it when she’s older, and my heart absolutely breaks for her. She IS a mother and those comments absolutely devastate her. Love to you. xx

  13. November 13, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    I’m always so conscious of asking people a question along those lines – especially people I’ve just met. You never know what people’s circumstances are or what they’ve been through. I always worry about asking people who are struggling to have children too. So sorry to hear about Joseph xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:38 am

      I completely agree. I’ve had women open up to me about their own losses when I have shared mine, which has been lovely, and although sometimes it gets quite emotional (especially when we’ve had a drink!), it’s lovely to be able to share our children without fear of awkwardness or embarrassment. xx

  14. November 13, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    Well of course you have five children, there’s absolutely no question about it! Good for you for making the decision to answer five next time you’re asked. Your little boy is part of your family and always will be. Thank you so much for sharing such a brave and heart felt post #dreamandsparkle x

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:36 am

      Thank you so much. I think we try so hard not to upset other people that sometimes we end up upsetting ourselves in the process. Time to put myself first for a change and to hell with those who still see baby loss as a taboo. Thank you again. xx

  15. jolene
    November 13, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    ah you are so right to include joseph in your answer.. because he is you child and a part of your family every day for the rest of your life.. so don’t feel bad or apologetic be proud

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:36 am

      Thank you so much. xxx

  16. November 13, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    This post made me think of a few good friends who have lost children and how those babies/children remain such integral parts of who they are. Midwife sounds like an idiot, I totally would’ve complained. But thanks for raising awareness with this post so other might know how to talk to people experiencing loss.

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:35 am

      Thank you Laura. I have had several midwives, and doctors, refer to Joseph as “The Stillborn”, as though he mattered so little he did not deserve a name. It’s heartbreaking and with hindsight, I so wish I had complained, but you know when you’re so shocked and upset you just want to get out of there and burst into tears, shocking really though isn’t it? xx

  17. November 13, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    I seriously cannot believe that someone said that to you! How awful! I want to reach out and give you a massive hug. I work in the NHS and would never dream of saying that to anyone. #DreamandSparkle

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:32 am

      Thank you Nikki. It was said by far more midwives/doctors than you would ever believe. The number of people who referred to him as “The stillborn” was shocking. He had a name, he was a baby, he mattered and STILL matters. It’s really quite devastating that some people fail to see that. xx

  18. November 13, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    Oh goodness, how painful this must be for you. What a horrid and insensitive comment to make regarding your son. Of course he counts!

    My little brother passed away when he was 8 weeks old, he was the twin of my other brother, who is still alive. I’m guilty of sometimes mentioning I have 4 siblings, when in reality I have 5. It’s hard to explain to people I find. #EatSleepBlogRT

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:31 am

      Ahh Sarah, I’m so sorry to hear that. You mustn’t feel guilty for that, I think sometimes we do whatever it takes to avoid uncomfortable conversations and to protect ourselves. There are times when I have said I have five children and burst out crying for no reason, which is hugely embarrassing and also REALLY awkward for the poor stranger who simply asked how many children I have. Love to you. xx

  19. November 14, 2016 / 12:08 am

    I wish I could give you a massive hug – people are so insensitive sometimes! This post made me cry – silly #pregnancyhormones! You are an amazing mummy!
    #EatSleepBlogRT

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:28 am

      Ahh I’m sorry you cried but thank you, they are so insensitive aren’t they? xxx

  20. Mackenzie Glanville
    November 14, 2016 / 7:14 am

    Just today I had to fill in a question box for my osteopath that asked me how many pregnancies I had had, of course I wrote 6 and I felt a mixture of sadness and love. I know 2 of my pregnancies were lost quite early (first trimester) and my third later, but still they are all my babies I carried all of them, sang to all of them, spoke to them all, and miss them dearly. I close my eyes and imagine the chaos and love of 6 children. It is my happy place! And you gave birth to Joseph he is your son, you have five children. You have every right to feel proud and to say his name.

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:26 am

      Thank you Mac. I always say I have had twenty pregnancies, it’s important to me that people know that there were fifteen babies who we never got the chance to meet. It’s just such a taboo still isn’t it? In some ways it is far easier for me to include Joseph than it would be for me to tell people I have TWENTY children, can you imagine? Every baby counts though, that’s the important thing. xxx

      • Mackenzie Glanville
        November 18, 2016 / 5:57 am

        yes that would get them talking wouldn’t it. They are all precious. Thank you for linking up with #mg too lovely

  21. November 14, 2016 / 9:33 am

    Hi just popping back via #MMBC. Sending love and hugs to you, your hubby and all five of your children x

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:25 am

      Thank you lovely. xxx

  22. November 14, 2016 / 10:15 am

    Of course Joseph counts. I can not believe that a midwife would say that to you. How insensitive. #marvellousmondays

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:25 am

      Thank you so much. I felt really sad that she felt that way, especially knowing that she probably has experience of delivering babies who are stillborn. xx

  23. Kat
    November 14, 2016 / 10:43 am

    It’s just horrific that someone would say “he doesn’t count”. Especially a health professional who no doubt deals with bereaved families every day. Of course Joseph counts. You carried him and you held him. He counts. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s so important to share these things to raise awareness and also to give you a chance to release all those thoughts. Xx

    Kat

    • Laura Dove
      November 14, 2016 / 11:24 am

      Thank you so much, it’s so lovely to hear that he did count, although I know he did, it’s always nice to hear others feel the same. xx

  24. Mackenzie Glanville
    November 14, 2016 / 11:23 am

    popping back from #mg thank you for sharing this xx

  25. November 14, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    Beautifully written. I cannot believe how insensitive people can be. I can imagine the officiousness of the midwife and I can also imagine your tears. Alison x #mg

  26. November 14, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    My sympathies for your loss, and my admiration for your courage in raising awareness of such an emotive topic. You do *all* your children proud. #MMBC xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:35 pm

      Thank you so much, that means such a lot. xxx

  27. November 14, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    Beautiful post. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m with you on this. It doesn’t matter if your truth makes strangers feel uncomfortable.
    I also can’t believe the health professional told you your son didn’t count. Of course he counts.
    #mg

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:35 pm

      Thank you Lucy. I think the older I get the more I feel this way. I used to worry so much about what other people thought of me where as these days, I really don’t care. If it makes others uncomfortable then that is THEIR problem, not mine! Thank you for reading. xxx

  28. November 14, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    Oh my goodness that’s a horrid thing for a midwife (or anyone) to have said. I’m so sorry about little Joseph. That must have been absolutely devastating. Not fair. #MMBC x

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:34 pm

      Thank you so much. Thankfully I KNOW that he counts, he is a huge part of our family, but for someone who very much believed a midwife like that, my heart breaks for them. xx

  29. November 14, 2016 / 3:00 pm

    Thanks for your courage! Yes, miscarriages also count, only mothers know how difficult it is to walk that path and imagine every day what their child would be like. Let’s make it normal to include these children when we’re asked how many kids we have. #bigpinklink

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:33 pm

      My miscarriages are a whole new blog post as although stillbirth is very difficult for some to understand, I think miscarriage is often harder when it comes to ignorance from others. We lost fifteen babies to miscarriage and that number makes people feel hugely uncomfortable. Thank you for your lovely comment. xxx

  30. November 14, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    I can’t believe she said Joseph doesn’t count. I am angry for you and I don’t even know you (although I do read your blog and am familiar with the story of Joseph). That treatment is disgusting, I think if it had been me I would have been sick with rage! He does count and I am so glad you talk about him even when you’re not sure how others will react. x

    #bigpinklink

    (http://accidentalhipstermum.com)

  31. November 14, 2016 / 4:27 pm

    Oh Laura, another beautiful post from you that made me well up. I am shocked that a midwife said that to you – of course Joseph counts. I think you summed it up perfectly that it’s how many children we carry in our heart that matters. #bigpinklink

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:30 pm

      Thank you Ellen. I think any parent would be hurt to be told that their child didn’t count, whether that child is here in our arms or sadly gone too soon. I carry twenty children in my heart, five I was lucky enough to hold in my arms and fifteen little babies who we never got the chance to meet. It’s so important that others realise what a sensitive subject this can be. xxx

  32. November 14, 2016 / 6:34 pm

    Wow that midwife was a right bitch! It is such a sensitive subject, one where it is all dependant on how the parents want to handle it and should be respected in that way.
    #MMBC #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:29 pm

      Haha I love your comment, she really was. Sadly she wasn’t the only one, we had one doctor refer to Joseph as “it” which was excruciatingly painful. He was a fully formed baby, born at full term, that I gave birth to and held in my arms for 24 precious hours. I will never understand how anyone could be so cold. Thank you for making me smile. xx

  33. November 14, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    What a horrible midwife! Joseph very much counts! I can’t even imagine what I would do in that situation. A mother is still a mother, no matter what. I’m so sorry you experienced that though. Thank you so much for linking this up with me, also popping over from #bigpinklink xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:28 pm

      Thank you lovely, I wish I had said something at the time. Hindsight is amazing isn’t it? xxx

  34. November 14, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    “He doesn’t count”. So cold. Of course he counts. How anyone could think otherwise is beyond me. You’re strong and you’re right. Five it is.

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:27 pm

      Thank you Grant, It’s shocking isn’t it? It will always be five, unless of course there are six. Haha! xx

  35. November 14, 2016 / 9:55 pm

    I think you are so right, Joseph was part of your families life, people can be so insensitive, especially health professionals who often say things without a second thought as to what the effect might be. And of course his life mattered and his memory matters too. We’re all behind you with this, sending you lots of love and hugs x

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:23 pm

      Thank you so much. People really are insensitive at times, I feel sad for anyone in the same situation who perhaps isn’t strong enough to be confident in their belief that their child did, and does, matter. xxx

  36. November 14, 2016 / 10:40 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. This was so beautifully written and made me tear up. Of course his life mattered you still carry him in your heart, as any mother would.

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:21 pm

      Ahh thank you so much Joanne. That’s lovely of you to say so, he was a special little boy and is a huge part of our family. xxx

  37. November 15, 2016 / 9:57 am

    Of course he counts what an awful thing to say!! What a beautiful post as always xx #twinklytuesday

  38. Leri
    November 15, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    Such a beautiful and heart wrenching post. Thanks for sharing this story. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to go through the loss of a child, and can imagine that the pain never really goes away. But I agree with you that they do matter, and should matter, always.
    #mg

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:19 pm

      Thank you so much. That’s really lovely of you to say so. xxx

  39. November 15, 2016 / 2:48 pm

    Beautifully written as always. I can’t imagine what a seemingly simple question must be like to hear and then have to answer. And I can’t believe how heartless that midwife was to you. Good on you for standing strong and for including all five of your children. #bigpinklink xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:18 pm

      Thank you Cheryl, I am so proud to tell people I have five children but I do struggle when people respond in a negative way. Thank you for reading. xxx

  40. November 15, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    Oh what a cruel and thoughtless thing for the midwife to say, that’s awful, of course he counts! I went to the doctors recently about an ankle injury and at the end of the appointment the gp asked me (as I was walking out the door) “you’re medical records mention multiple miscarriages, how many have you had?” I thought it was an odd thing to ask but answered 5 miscarriages and one ectopic and his response was “oh, that’s what it says here, I just thought it might have been a mistake. Have a nice day.” WTF! I honestly don’t understand what goes on in some peoples heads.
    #EatSleepBlogRT

    • Laura Dove
      November 15, 2016 / 5:17 pm

      What?? How utterly cruel and callous!! I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriages, it must have been very hard for you to go through. I have been asked similar several times to be honest, we have had 15 miscarriages and doctors/midwives often asked if there was an error as “Surely no-one has that many!”. I wish people would think before they spoke, I guess there are many who don’t have the same philosophy!! xx

  41. November 15, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    And so you should say 5! And for the midwife to say that is disgusting! I think I would have broken down there and then after dealing with so much heartache then to be told my baby doesn’t count. I’ve never lost a child so I don’t understand the pain at all but that doesn’t mean that we can’t all empathise which is clearly what the midwife was missing – empathy!
    Thankyou for sharing, sending hugs your way x #MMBC

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:47 am

      Thank you so much. I would expect more from a midwife, and especially a woman who may have had children of her own and known how it feels to carry a baby and give birth. Some people really do need to think before they speak! xx

  42. November 15, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    Beautiful piece lovely, I literally cannot believe the words your midwife muttered, quite possibly in the wrong profession I would say! And you should definitely say 5 lovely, he is and always will be a part of your family. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:46 am

      Thank you Hannah. I totally agree, although perhaps as midwives they have become hardened to baby loss in some way? I’m not sure why anyone would feel that way about a baby who was born, whether sleeping or not, but he is a huge part of our family and always will be. xx

  43. November 16, 2016 / 10:59 am

    I cannot believe that a midwife a supposed professional carer would utter such heartless words, that must have been soul destroying. He was born and should be acknowledged. You are a mother of 5 and that cannot be taken away from you. A very touching post. #bigpinklink

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:54 pm

      Thank you Jo. With hindsight I wish I had said something, complained and taken it further, but I just remember wanting to get in my car as quickly as possible so I could cry in private. He was a very special little boy and will always be a huge part of our family, thank you so much for reading. xxx

  44. Sam
    November 16, 2016 / 11:32 am

    I cannot believe that midwifes comment. How insensitive. You should most definitely say you have five children, because you do. I was once told by my doctor I would never have children because I have endometriosis and pcos. He was so blunt about it. I managed to last until I got home before breaking down. One year and 11 days later my daughter was born! These people are supposed to be professionals but I suppose as they deal with certain issues daily it becomes the normal for them in a weird way. They should still ensure they are sympathetic and understanding though shouldn’t they.
    #BestAndWorst

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      Oh gosh that must have been awful! And yet here you are, a Mummy and proving him wrong! After our fifteenth miscarriage we were told by one doctor that we might as well give up, and I did complain at that and thankfully saw an amazing consultant who made sure I went on to have not just one more baby, but three!! xx

  45. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    November 16, 2016 / 3:45 pm

    Oh Laura, I’m staggered at the fact that a midwife of all people could say something so cruel. Absolutely you’re a mother of 5, and if your answer makes people uncomfortable then that’s their issue and not something you should ever feel you should skirt over.

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:50 pm

      Thank you Katy. It shocked me at the time but sadly we heard it time and time again from so called medical professionals. I’m definitely learning to be stronger with my responses, even though it can be hard to explain, it would be like denying Lewis or Eva, and the fact is there are five children, whether that makes people uncomfortable or not. xx

  46. November 16, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    Hi Laura, we have family friends who have lost both of their children. And I have often wondered what they say when they are asked if they have children. It is something I am sure will come up in conversation one day, when the time is right, but reading your post brought it home to me of just how difficult it must be for them. They are my parent’s age and as children, me and my sister would play with their children.

    For them meeting people who don’t know they lost both their children must be difficult. Especially if they are asked about how they are doing or if they have Grandchildren. A parent should never have to deny a child for fear of upsetting other people. Child loss shouldn’t be seen as a taboo subject, people who have lost a child or children should be treated with the respect they deserve not be told that their children don’t count.

    Thank you for linking up to the #MMBC.

    xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:48 pm

      Oh gosh Debbie, that must be devastating for them. I can’t even imagine how anyone moves on from that kind of loss, I guess you don’t. I would imagine they find the question very difficult but I like to think they say they are parents of two, because they are, absolutely. xx

  47. November 16, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing such a real and honest post, of course you have 5 children, how dare anyone every tell you otherwise. I can’t imagine what going through that must have been like, sending loving thoughts x G x #bestandworst

  48. November 17, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Ah lovely this is something I hadn’t thought of. I think it’s really great you have written about this – it’s important for people to know! Of course Jospeh counts, what an awful thing that midwife said to you. Geez! You were pregnant, you had a baby. What possibly doesn’t count there? Thank you for sharing your post with us at #BloggerClubUK xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 4:22 pm

      Thank you. I think we often ask questions during polite chit chat without really thinking of the connotations. I’ve always been very open in that Ill tell anyone what we have been through, but some people find that REALLY uncomfortable and that in turn makes me feel uncomfortable! It’s difficult at times for sure. Thank you though, of course he counts, some people are just completely insensitive! xx

  49. November 18, 2016 / 7:34 am

    What a read emotional wreck when I read stuff like this. I can’t imagine what you went through and how it feels I have a friend who lost a twin at birth and she still finds its hard to talk and it was 4 years ago now. X X X x

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:45 am

      Thank you. I’m so sorry to hear about your friends baby, it must be very hard to lose a twin and have a constant reminder of everything you have lost. I cant even imagine. xxx

  50. November 18, 2016 / 9:41 am

    What a shitty woman to tell you Joseph ‘doesn’t count’! I struggle with this question myself, having lost a baby at 12 weeks old to cot death. Even now, when he would have been 30, whether I include him in my ‘child count’ depends on if I’m feeling up to the explanation.
    Sending hugs.
    #bloggerclubUK

  51. November 18, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    I love this post. I lost my little boy at 18 weeks. The hardest part was people finding out afterwards. We lived in a pub so VERY public. One night a man came in to celebrate the birth of his son (about 2 days after I lost mine) and I remember the awkward silence as he said “oooh it’ll be you soon” and all of the other locals looking down into their drinks embarrassed. But worse was the look of horror on his face. I’ll always feel like a ruined that mans special night. He felt guilty for celebrating and I felt guilty for ruining it. I’m not sure what the answer is or how we get there but I do know that writing openly about it the way you have in this post is a step in the right direction. Thank you x

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that Zoe, how utterly devastating. I think one of the hardest parts after losing a child is the reactions of others, it really shouldn’t feel as awkward as it does to speak about our children. Never feel guilty for mentioning your child, it has taken me ten years to realise that but I find writing about it and talking about him is so therapeutic. Love to you brave mama. xxx

  52. November 18, 2016 / 9:56 pm

    Gosh, I can’t even begin to imagine and I don’t even have any words of wisdom for you. Sending huge hugs xx #MarvMondays

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:57 pm

      Thank you so much. xxx

  53. November 19, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    Such an innocent question – but I can only imagine the hurt that it can lead to. As for what your midwife said that is disgraceful and so thoughtless. You are so brave and have a beautiful family, you are absolutely right to stand up and say you have 5 children. If that makes people feel uncomfortable that is their problem, not yours. Sending you huge hugs x #eatsleepblogrt

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      Thank you so much. It’s so reassuring to hear that others see me as having five children, as of course I do, but it means a lot to me. Thank you. xx

  54. November 19, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    Oh Laura. I so feel like I was meant to read this post this week. Just the other morning, I had exactly this type of conversation with one of the other mums at my daughters school. It felt a little akward but I didnt want it to, I wanted to say to her its ok that it feels awkward. I know how hard it must have been for you to have just said what you said. I wish there were more open, comfortable conversations on baby loss so that moments like those were more comfortable if that makes sense? Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily x

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:50 pm

      Oh gosh this made me cry, I love that you say it’s okay that it feels awkward and I just felt such a rush of emotions at what a relief it must have been for that mum to be able to give you an honest answer. You’re so right, it shouldn’t have to feel awkward at all, thank you so much for reading Emily. xxx

  55. November 19, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    Ahh what a tough post this must have been to write. I felt your emotion and it’s no wonder you find it a strange question to answer. Thanks for linking up lovely #bestandworst

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:45 pm

      Thank you Helen. It’s always going to be difficult but the fact is, it shouldn’t have to be. xx

  56. November 20, 2016 / 10:01 am

    I can’t believe what your midwife said. How utterly insensitive. I can’t imagine the amount of emotions you go through when asked this question. You should absolutely always include all of your children. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:41 pm

      Thank you Lisa, there are far too many people who speak without thinking! See you Tuesday! xx

  57. November 20, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    I can’t believe the midwife said that! Sometimes their comments are unreal – like when I described how my second miscarriage in a row had happened and the midwife told me ‘it’s best like that’. Where are these people trained? #twinklytuesday

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:38 pm

      Gosh what a terrible thing to say!! It’s scary really that these are medical professionals who deal with parents each day. I’ll never forget her comment, those things really stay with us don’t they? xx

  58. November 20, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    Of course you are right to include little Joseph, he will always be a big part of your life, he is your beautiful little boy.
    I can’t believe the mannerisms of that midwife, you just don’t expect a midwife of all people to be so cold and abrupt.
    Sending loads of love your way lovely lady! xxxx

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      Thanks lovely, he really is a very special little boy. I’m always surprised at the reactions of others when it comes to baby loss, but for a midwife to act that way was just shocking! xxx

  59. November 21, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Oh Laura, this is so moving and I was so cross reading what that midwife said to you, I actually said out loud “how dare she”! But seriously you are absolutely right, there is so much more to being a mother than the number of children in your arms. My dad is one of 8 kids and the first was a stillborn too, followed by my Dad & my Grandma never refers to my Dad as the eldest. Absolutely beautiful post. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 21, 2016 / 9:29 pm

      Thank you so much Bridie. And the fact that you were cross really touched me. I’m so sorry that you Grandma lost her baby, and your Dad his sibling, it must have been even harder back then as it really was even more of a taboo. Thank you for your lovely comment, see you tomorrow for #dreamteam

  60. November 21, 2016 / 11:22 pm

    I’m horrified yet sadly not surprised. Well done you though – keep doing what you are doing. Thanks so much for linking this to #sharewithme

    • Laura Dove
      November 22, 2016 / 9:18 am

      Thank you so much. xxx

  61. January 2, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Beautiful post as usual! People sometimes don’t realise what they are getting into. To them it is a simple question… Much love, so nicely written! So happy you got mentioned on Kicks Count xx

    • Laura Dove
      January 2, 2017 / 8:48 pm

      Thank you so much, and for sharing this earlier. I’m so touched. xx

  62. January 2, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    Crying at the thought of that horrible midwife calling Joseph ‘the stillborn’ and that he didn’t count. Awful woman.
    He does count, more than she will ever know <3

    • Laura Dove
      January 2, 2017 / 8:49 pm

      Thank you so much Nicola. Every baby counts, it saddens me that a midwife of all people wouldn’t think that way. Thank you so much for reading. xx

  63. Mrs H
    January 2, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    Such a beautiful post and one that brought tears to my eyes. I wrote something very similar last year. I found it so much simpler when I was pregnant with Little Mister H. Being able to say that it was my sixth pregnancy but I only had a daughter seemed in a small way to acknowledge the babies that were not here with me. But I don’t think I will ever fully be able to answer the question of how many children I have? Hugs Lucy xxxx PS. I can’t believe that midwife. That is completely uncalled for. I would have hit her (probably not though, I am sure I would have reacted as you did).

    • Laura Dove
      January 2, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      Thanks lovely, much love to you. As much as I struggle to tell people that I have five children, I find it impossible to tell people that there have been twenty. I think with it being such a high number it almost seems comical, although you and I know that it isn’t, it’s just a ridiculous number, and it’s so desperately sad that we feel we have to keep quiet about that. Often if I have a conversation and someone offers their own story of miscarriage, I will share mine, and say that there have been fifteen babies who we never got to meet, but it makes people feel so awkward, even when they have suffered their own loss, that I feel very guilty for mentioning it. One day I would love to be able to share my story without having to worry about what others thought, one day…. xx

  64. May 1, 2017 / 9:55 am

    Of course you have five children, it’s definitely the number of children you hold in your heart and Joseph will always count. I can’t believe how insensitive that midwife was 🙁
    xx

    • Laura Dove
      May 1, 2017 / 5:58 pm

      Thank you so much. I still think about those words, almost six years later. I am very lucky to have five children and twenty pregnancies. Some never get to experience even one. xxx

  65. May 1, 2017 / 12:59 pm

    I’m so sorry. Sorry for your loss. Sorry for the fact that other people don’t get it.
    Don’t ever feel like you need to adapt your reply or emotions. Every single person is responsible for their own reaction and emotions, not you, the mother who lost her child. If they can’t deal with it then that’s on them. Not you.
    #postsfromtheheart

    • Laura Dove
      May 1, 2017 / 5:56 pm

      Thank you so much. I think that’s the conclusion I have eventually come to. I have five children, if someone finds that awkward or uncomfortable, that’s their issue not mine. xxx

  66. May 1, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    This actually fits well with the post I shared today from my friend Jen. But it’s something I often consider on days like Mothers Day and things. A good friend of mine recently lost her baby at birth, I so wanted to honour her as a Mum as she is the best but it was tricky to know what to do. In the event, I just spoke to her and told her that she was the best!

    • Laura Dove
      May 1, 2017 / 5:55 pm

      Ahh I’ll have to check it out Laura. I think that’s the best thing anyone can do for someone missing a loved one, be that a child or a parent or a friend, just speak to them, say their loved one’s name, and know that you are there for them. That’s all we ever want, to have them acknowledged. xx

  67. May 1, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    I think I’ve commented on this before but I enjoyed reading it again #postsfromtheheart

  68. May 2, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Wow, that midwife was a complete heartless cow. What a thing to say to somebody. I hope you complained so that she can never hurt somebody like she hurt you ever again.

    #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Laura Dove
      May 2, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Ahh thank you Nicola, you’re so right, why be in that job if you have no empathy for something like that? It’s something that has really stayed with me, I did complain but only the following year when I was back pregnant with Megan and by that time she had left. xx

  69. May 5, 2017 / 9:36 am

    An utterly beautiful post. You are right, he very definitely does count. Sometimes professionals can be so busy ticking their boxes that they forget that people are humans. Hopefully offer the years she has learnt more care. Sending much love #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Laura Dove
      May 5, 2017 / 9:41 pm

      Thanks lovely. You’re so right, I often wonder if she is still practicing and I hope that she has learnt some compassion over the years. xxx

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