Page 18 - 2017 Spring-Summer Issue
P. 18

How Many Children

                             Do You Have?

                             by Kelly Kittel

©MNStudio /

                             “Let’s pretend we’re at a cocktail party. It’s 5 o’clock          my red cowboy boots carrying a glass of chilled chardonnay.
                             somewhere, right?                                                 I figured my “prop” might come in handy and it definitely
                             We’re meeting for the first time and getting to know each         improved the rehearsals!
                             other. We’ve learned that we’re both parents, so one of the       How many kids do I have? As I continued, “And I’ll give you
                             very first questions you’ll probably ask me is, “How many         this quick answer—five. The conversation will move on, most
                             kids do you have?”                                                likely with me telling you all about my five children and you
                             Thus begins my TEDx talk, “Why We Should Share Our                telling me all about yours. We’ll smile and sip our wine and
                             Stories”. But it has also been the story of my life for the past  you’ll never know that your simple question has just kicked
                             two decades since our fourth child, Noah, died when he was        me in the belly. Or that I feel like I’ve just lied to you.”
                             15 months old. In the beginning, this question struck me          I do believe lying is a sin but, as I justify my public
                             silent with grief and it became even more gut wrenching           confession, “Because, I rarely give the correct answer to that
                             when people would coo it over and over again as my belly          question. Usually, I sidestep it. I don’t want to watch your face
                             grew with the promise of our next bundle of joy. Nine             crumple or hear you say, “I’m so sorry,” like so many, many
                             months later, it would bring me to my knees, the answer           others before you. I like to have fun and I want to keep things
                             completely inconceivable when Jonah was stillborn.                lighthearted. But every time I do that? I feel guilty. Because
                             So when the opportunity to present a TEDx talk arose,             I do believe we should share our stories. Maybe not while
                             this seemed like a good place to begin. TED stands for            standing in the grocery store checkout line or with a glass of
                             Technology, Entertainment, Design and their tagline—ideas         wine in our hand. But somewhere, sometime, someway...
                             worth spreading—speaks for itself, their goal to cultivate        Given that I’ve had 13 pregnancies remaindering 5 living
                             and share ideas. I wanted people to understand why that           children, it’s really more of a little white lie. I’ve become
                             seemingly innocent question strikes fear in the hearts of         quite adept at softening the blow when delivering my math
                             bereaved parents. And I liked the idea of stepping onstage in     equation in a diversity of settings and this was the idea I

                             1 8 |We Need Not Walk Alone
   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23