The receptionist peers over her desk at us, Bella heading into her hourly care class so I can get some work done at home.
“Does she have an older brother or sister?”
I shake my head.
“Yes,” I say tightly, wanting to conversation to stop here. It won’t. I just know it. I brace myself for whatever bit of ignorance is coming next.
“Poor little dear. One day you’ll be a big sister!” she says casually, not even looking at us.
I freeze. Bella looks up at me with confused eyes. The receptionist reaches for the phone and I can’t think of what to say. I have to say something. I can’t just pretend. I’m angry and hurt and it just bursts out:
“She was. It didn’t work out.”
The woman giggles nervously and nods, like I cracked a super funny joke she doesn’t quite understand, and turns away.
Instantly I want to take it all back, that wasn’t the well planned, loving bit I’d wanted to say. It didn’t work out? My children weren’t a van that broke down on the side of the road. And yet – in that instant between the comment and a phone call, I can’t think of how else to tell her.
All I can think of is how much I wish people would just mind their own business. Who cares if Bella is my only? Why make that comment to her?
We walk down the hall and I’m shaking from my own answer and her ignorance. Trying to remind myself, “She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know.” I don’t even care though. Don’t tell my daughter that one day she’ll be a big sister when you have no idea why she isn’t already. Now I’ll spend all day wondering if I should bring it up again, let it go, and how to talk to Bella later about it all. This is so, so hard. Even with a baby on the way – it’s just a constant reminder of no guarantees.
Bella puts her hand in mine. “I hope this baby lives,” she says softly. I squeeze it hard and look down at her, my heart aching from wanting her to finally have a sibling to hold and love on. Of all I hate about this, seeing her hurting is the very worst part.
“Oh sweetheart, me too.”