“How many children do you have?”
Cue record scratch.
The most innocent question that suddenly leaves me feeling like I’ve been punched in the stomach.
I freeze for a second, like a deer facing headlights and my brain scrambles, searching for the right words.
To avoid pity and hollow platitudes, I could say four. But that doesn’t sit right with me. I’ve done that once before and it left me feeling sick and guilt ridden. After all, I do have five. Sterling will always be our #5. He deserves to be counted.
Now, I’ll always say five. There are days when I just can’t bear my Sterling being invisible, so I light up my phone screen and show off his photo. I say that he died at 6 days old but that our love for him lasts a lifetime and beyond. And sometimes, I just say five and leave it at that- unless I’m asked where the fifth one is, of course.