I did not choose to just ignore the situation as most of their conversations and play included the new baby and neither of them would just “forget” that one was supposed to be coming.
However, I did choose to delay telling them for a few days. They were aware that mommy was not feeling well and had to go to the hospital one day (for the D&C) and I did not want them to associate that with the loss of the baby.
We had long since had conversations about how babies got in Mommy’s bellies. Our explanations were simple and euphemistic. We explained that God in Heaven makes everyone and when He feels a family is ready for a baby He gives them one. The baby takes a very long time to finish growing and then is born.
Saturday evening, I called both children to me and explained that the baby was not growing correctly and needed to be strong to be born so God decided to take him (we didn’t know the gender yet) back to Heaven where he could take better care of him. I said that once God felt that both the baby and we were ready, He would give the baby back. The depth of both children’s grief and their weeping was clear indication that they knew a life was lost. Their cries were not the cries of kids whose favorite toy was taken away, which is how I initially thought they would react. They came from deep within them. Grief, is grief, whether felt by the young or old.
Do I feel that I misled the kids? Not at all. I believe that God does have my baby and will take care of him.
After they calmed down a little bit we prayed as a family and thanked God for taking care of our baby. We prayed that our family dog Tyson and my Uncle Bill would keep the baby company until we met up with him again.
I feel that each family and each child is different. Only the parents can decide how to best deal with this loss and grief. I searched online and felt the articles I came across were sterile and didn’t apply to my family on a personal level. Then again, this was a very personal situation and required I handle it personally.
The happiness we felt and the impossible to hide morning sickness I had from the beginning of this pregnancy made hiding it from the kids seem silly. I am older so the likelihood of miscarriage is higher. (updated: I’ve since had another miscarriage but the kids did not know about it.) We’ll get through this like we do everything else. Together, as a family.