Yesterday it occurred to me that it would be so much easier to dodge those well-intentioned so, do you have any kids? bullets if parents like My Beloved and I had a title - a one-word name given to people in our particular circumstances. The childless parents.
When you're a child and your parents die you are an orphan. Why isn't there a title for grown-ups when the unthinkable reverse happens?
My typical reaction is to drop my head, nervously shift my eyes back and forth in their sockets and listen to my heart pounding in my ears while I determine how to tell whoever has just innocently asked for a piece of information they probably don't want to hear, that my son died.
It's gotten to the point where it's not as emotionally painful as it is just plain deflating. I'm a normal person when I meet a stranger, but the instant they ask that dreaded question I become a pitiable wretch. And I know they think of me as "the woman whose baby died" anyway, so wouldn't it be so much better if there was an actual name that could be used instead?
Do I have children? No, I'm a ____________. End of story.
Well, end of story unless you have a hairdresser named Eduardo who prods you into telling him the whole story and then wants to know about the current status of your fertility.
I know people would still look at me as a pitiable wretch even if I had a title, but at least delivering the information that would lead them to that conclusion wouldn't be so awkward.
So I propose we name ourselves, we childless parents.
And while we're at it, we should think of a name for those who have living children in addition to ones that have died. That would allow those folks to include their missing little ones when they answer "yes".
So, any thoughts?
I'm only half kidding, by the way...