She told us there was no heartbeat. She said it matter-of-factly, in a quiet apologetic voice. I felt my stomach instantly drop, emotion immediately clogging my throat. I wanted to tell her to check again—oh, please, please check again. I could see it right there on the screen, right there in front of me. How could the baby be dead?
How do you feel?
When I’m feeling low, it’s really hard to answer the “How are you?” question. Most people, when they ask that question, are not looking for an actual answer. When the clerk at the grocery store asks me how I’m doing, she doesn’t exactly have the time to hear me list every single one of my problems. She’s paid to swipe my bag of Bolthouse carrots across the scanner—the “How are you?” is just polite. (Duh.) “How are you?” is simply the cultural acknowledgment of another’s existence. But when I’m depressed, being asked that question stings a little.