How many kids do you have?
“How many kids do you have?”
It’s not a bad question. People who ask this truly want to know the person they’re speaking with on a deeper level. The intent is to connect, to understand, and to see.
I know this. The question doesn’t make me angry. It doesn’t offend me. But it’s honestly so very hard for my heart every time it’s asked.
Do I say how many children I hold here in my arms? Do I say how many children I’ve birthed and held? Do I share how many children I’ve carried in my womb? The answer is different for each. The response that I’ll likely receive back is different for each too.
If I say “one”, I often feel as if I’m betraying the others I carried and loved so deeply. If I say “one”, I’m often met with questions about whether I’d like to have more in my home or personal opinions on the ideal family size. If I say “one”, I feel unseen, unknown, and dishonest.
If I tell the truth, I’m opening myself to be incredibly vulnerable with someone I may have only known for a few minutes. I’m sharing something incredibly precious and even painful to me. I’m risking being viewed as a downer or silently accused as putting a damper on the day.
While it often feels like a lose-lose situation, I have found this dreaded question (asked at least once a week) to be an opportunity to quickly determine who my village is. I have also found it to be a great opportunity to share the gospel.
The answer differs day to day and I’ve found quick ways to respond that still feel truthful, yet wise.
It’s not a bad question, but it’s not one I ask anyone. I think of my sisters who are walking through loss and infertility. I think of my sisters who tearfully hope for a different answer. I want to know them better, so now I simply invite all to…
“Tell me about your family.”