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  • Writer's pictureShelbi Bailey

"How Many Kids Do You Have?"

I’ve had this blog in the works for 3 months now. Maybe not long for some, but anyone that knows me knows that once I have an idea I usually jump right in and give everything to it. However, as I tried to decide what my opening post would be, I had no idea. This week I got a cold sweat realizing I want to launch in September and I still had no idea. Then, tonight as I was talking to a friend, I realized how I wanted to open my website. I want to explain my why.

This family picture isn't my favorite. Ben looks like he's about to ninja kick me for being a jerk and forcing him into the hell that is family pictures, but I digress. I struggle to use the better picture because Henry isn't there.

I moved to a new city 6 months ago and with that has come the obligatory new person phase. As a young mom this always comes with the #1 question out of everyone’s mouth, “So, how many kids do you have?” It’s been 2 years since my loss, 6 months since my rainbow was born, and still I struggle every time I am asked this.

Any loss mom will know this feeling. I love talking about my son. I even love talking about the heartaches of the disease he carried. I feel loved when people include him in our conversation, because that is acknowledging that he truly was here. He existed. He had a life. His life had worth and continues to have worth.

But, this isn’t the kind of topic that is easily broached with a complete stranger. “Yea, there are 2 kids here, but one is in the ground.” A bit heavy for a first “park date”. I had a friend that lost a child before I did and I remember being freaked out that she was so open about her child. As if that wasn’t reverent enough to respect her sweetheart’s life. Then Hank was gone and it clicked. But I still remember life before Hank, and therefore I spare them awkwardness and bring myself a little heartache.

His hair!! It kills me how much hair he had compared to my other (also hairy, but slightly less) babies!

I don’t write this post as a criticism of anyone that has ever asked me this. I know that I will ask the next mom I meet! I write this to explain how this came to be.

I want my family and extended family an friends and everyone else to know, Hank is a huge part of my life. He always will be. I’ve always hated saying I have only 2 kids. I hate that I can’t include him in everything. I hate that a holiday comes and I feel weird talking about my memories of him that everyone has heard a thousand times. I hate when he isn’t remembered even if I understand. I hate this part of my life because I love him so much, and it’s a love that is so difficult to understand.

So, instead of losing my mind every time he is overlooked in any way, I created this website to allow myself an outlet for my grief. To include others and allow them to grieve. Most of all, I wanted to create a space where I could share my life with my boy as if he were still here. To thank him for all that he has done. For how he changed me.

The end of Hank's life he was on an ECMO machine. Unfortunately he was so little and his liver had failed already. So, even modern medicine wasn't enough to save him.

Henry “Hammerin’ Hank the Tank” David Bailey is my Why. Why I do this. Why I don’t hide this part of me that makes others uncomfortable. The part of me that makes myself uncomfortable. I want others that have felt this hurt to know, you are not alone. I want to mourn with you. I want you to read my words and feel peace. This is for you. I don’t know you, but I know a similar pain. Hopefully this can help.

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