Oh my goodness, it's been ages since I've seen you. Don't you look adorable! There's definitely something different about you. Have you lost a little weight, maybe? Now, don't be shy. You've been through some big changes in your life lately, haven't you? In fact, a little birdie told me you had to make a special trip to the hospital because you unexpectedly went into labor after just four months of pregnancy and right there on the delivery table you birthed a tiny fetus that died before it could even take its first breath.

Isn't that right?

Oh, never you mind who told me. But shame on you for being such a bashful Betty and keeping a juicy tidbit like that from all of us!

I didn't even know you were expecting until they had to rush you to the ER in the middle of the night in that futile effort to keep your baby from coming out way too early. My, that must have been quite a surprise! The word going around is that you were a little stressed out by the whole thing.

Would you tell me one little secret? Was there even a chance your fetus could have been viable at that stage, or was it a lost cause from the get-go?

You know, it's funny we happen to be standing here talking about this now, because just a month or so ago I read something in a magazine about women who fail to carry their babies to term. I was thumbing through Redbook, and there was some great stuff in there: easy makeover tips, an interesting article on how to avoid having a miscarriage, quick-prep casserole recipes. I'm just curious—did you have a drink or two during your first trimester? Apparently that's just the sort of thing that can make your uterus spontaneously abort an unborn child.

There, there, dear! Don't cry. It's okay. You didn't know. Of course, if you had stopped by at some point to tell me you were in a family way, I might have been able to warn you about such things. Then you'd still be looking forward to experiencing the incredible joy of motherhood, and I could have given you that delicious recipe for Southwestern bean casserole with double-corn topping.

I guess the lesson here is, don't be such a stranger!

Now why are you all in a tizzy? I'm not one to gossip—you know that—and if some of us talk about that little mess you had in your down-below area, it's only because we feel just awful for you. It's no fun having a bun in the oven that never gets a chance to rise.

There's no use crying over spilt milk, though. Or in this case, spilt amniotic fluid. Sure, you can be a moping Mabel. You can sulk all you want to over this lost child who will never get a chance to form an intimate bond with you, never grow up to be its own little person, and never love you or become a treasured part of your life in any way. You can keep your shameful little secret all to yourself, and no one will ever know you have a harsh and unforgiving womb that rejected nature's greatest miracle.

But I'd suggest you count your blessings instead. You have a loving husband, a fulfilling career, and you've blossomed into a beautiful, healthy young woman who just happened on one occasion to bleed profusely from her vagina prior to expelling a dead fetus that went nighty-night up inside her.

It could have been worse, you know. If it had stayed up there, you might have had one of those stone babies, and those are just terrible. You ever seen pictures of those?

So instead of being all down in the mouth, remember this: You can always get preggers again. Was it really so hard in the first place? No, and I bet it was even kind of fun! So buck up, little trooper! March right up to that husband of yours, roll up your sleeves, and make yourself another baby.

And I hope it works this time, because unbaptized babies go straight to H-E-double-hockey-sticks.