Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monday March 3rd: Banana Bread and Babies

It's 4:30 pm. Hannah watches me prepare and measure all the ingredients to make banana bread. Slowly and carefully, she dumps each iten into the big silver mixing bowl. She samples the fruit and chocolate chips as she pours them in. The raisins are her favorite part. She cracks the eggs on the side of the bowl, as she's seen me do a hundred times, then helps me stir it all up. Hannah tastes the mixture, licking it off a fork, and proclaims "yummmm."
I mix the batter again, then say "ok, it's ready", meaning that it's ready to go in the oven. She thinks I mean it's ready to eat. She'd rather eat it now. I turn on the oven light, so that she can see the bread as it bakes.

Now it's 5pm. I say "I'm hungry. Are you hungry? Let's eat some dinner."
I put together rice, cheese, beans, carrots and chicken. Hannah sits at the kitchen table with me. As I'm pouring drinks, she asks "Mommy, is there a tiny baby in your tummy? We're going to have a new baby at our house, right Mommy? But I won't tell anybody, kuz it's a secret."
This is exactly what we told her back in December, at Christmastime, and so far she still doesn't know any different. But it breaks my heart. I feel like I am lying to her, by not telling her the truth. It makes me so sad...

I try to think of how to explain miscarriage to this precious, smart, beautiful little girl who just turned three years old. I think for a minute, watching her. How much should I tell? What will she understand? Is she really listening to me?

I say "Hannah, Mommy is not going to have a new baby right now. The baby that was in Mommy's tummy stopped growing. It's not there anymore."
Still looking down at her plate, she asks the inevitable "Why?"
"The baby stopped growing inside me. Remember when Mommy was very sad?" (Of course. I know she does. She remembers everything.) She nods yes: "You cried in your bed." She pauses, thinks for a moment. "Was the baby in your bed?"
"No Hannah, the baby ...is not here. It stopped growing."
I went on to say something about how we would love to have another baby, and I would tell her when it was time, but we might have to wait awhile longer. She didn't ask anymore questions, and went back to eating her dinner.

I wish I knew what she was really thinking.
What a conversation to have with a three year old.
But I felt that I needed to tell her. She deserves to know the truth. I want to be honest with her. I cannot lie to my child... but I don't want to hurt her or scare her, either.

Later, I wanted to tell DH about this conversation. He asked why I had even brought it up with Hannah. Before I could tell him much of anything, he said "Why did you do that? I think you told her too much." He did not know that she remembers, that she's been asking me about it every day or two, mentioning my pregnancy at random times throughout the week. He wondered at our daughter's memory, and seemed apologetic that I was upset by this. He didn't know.

My heart aches.

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