Telling Little Miss
Today we went to church. I knew she’d probably be there, so for the entire drive there I silently prepped myself to see my dear friend who is due within two weeks of when we were. She’s tiny and beautiful and I knew she’d be showing, now at 10-12-ish weeks. I had been thrilled to be expecting alongside her; pregnancy is always more fun with a friend who shares the journey with you, no matter how many times you’ve done it before. Two friends here in town and a close relative all announced pregnancies within two weeks of our announcement, and I was so excited to be in such good company. I dreamed of baby get-togethers while on maternity leave and my child having a cousin so close in age to get to know.
But today wasn’t dreamy. I knew it would be hard. So I gave myself a mental pep talk as we neared the church. Within moments of entering the building I saw her. She smiled at me, looked me in the eye, and told me it was good to see me. We hugged. I could see in her eyes that she was sincerely glad we’d come to church that day, and though her words were simple, I knew in her heart she meant so much more with that hug than just “welcome to church, my friend.” And I loved her for it.
I managed to hold myself together for about 30 seconds before I quickly shuffled to the door and dropped our church bag on the bench outside. My vision blurred with tears and through muted sorrow I heard my 4-year-old. “Mommy, what’s wrong? What is it, Mommy?” I looked down at her beautiful blue eyes, her brow furrowed in concern as she peered up at me. “What’s wrong, Mommy?” she demanded, pushing her way in front of me and touching my arm intently.
She needed to know. I had wanted to tell her for a week–well, “wanted” is a misnomer–but had never felt the moment was ready. Now here I was with her full attention, and as worried as she was, she was adamant that I tell her why I was crying.
So I just said it.
“The baby that was in my tummy died. And that makes me sad.”
The tears spilled down my cheeks as Husband put his arm around me. I sat down on the bench and Little Miss fell against my chest, tears dripping down her own sweet face now. “I’m sad, too, Mommy,” she said quietly.
We made it back inside with dry-ish faces, though Little Miss didn’t want me to leave her in her classroom. So I sat there with her, and she climbed up on my lap. She didn’t sing the songs and though I tried I found it very difficult.
When her class was over we went into Miss Bennett’s classroom. My sweet pregnant friend approached Little Miss and complimented her ensemble for the day. Instead of saying thank you, Little Miss blurted out to her, “My mommy was going to have a baby, but it died and now she’s not having a baby anymore.” I heard it, saw the tears in her eyes, and couldn’t choke back the sob that instantly rose to my throat. I dropped what I was holding, fell to my knees next to my sweet, precious daughter, and held her tightly as we cried. My friend grabbed us tissue and helped Little Miss dry her eyes.
People were walking past us; we were in the doorway of the classroom, in front of a busy hallway. I didn’t care. One mom asked if anything was wrong and I didn’t want to explain it so I smiled and said, “We’re okay.” I don’t think she believed me.
As we knelt there on the floor, a soggy tissue in my hand, we talked–my friend and I. Little Miss interrupted and with eyes full of innocence, said, “Mommy, you should have gotten the baby out before it died!” Somehow I explained to her that it was only “this big” (holding my fingers an inch and a half apart) and could never have lived outside my tummy. That it didn’t grow like it should have. That we’d try again.
We made our way to church, where a member sang special music that pushed me to tears again. A song I’ve known since I was a teenager.
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all my tears
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cuz deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child
Little Miss has hugged me many times today, and told me this afternoon, “I’m sorry the baby died, Mommy, and I’m sad for you.” I hug her back and kiss her sweet soft cheek and say, “Me too, sweetie. But I’m ever so glad I have you.”