“Sarah, you haven’t been eating, have you?”
She looks innocently at Dr Ross, eyes wide and sincere. Sarah Jane hadn’t wanted to go to her appointment today. It was the first one since James left. Lately, every kick reminded her of the life she wasn’t going to have. It was easier to go through the motions. She went to work, did the minimum required of her, and went home to bed. While Cat was fed (for the most part), she had barely eaten anything herself. It had been like that for the past week, ever since storming out of Milliways. And she hadn’t been back.
She takes a breath and glances away. There’s a small shake of her head, but small enough to be noticed by her doctor.
“You can’t stop eating, especially not now, Sarah. Valerie needs the nutrition to keep growing. You do want her to be healthy, don’t you? I know how important your daughter is to-- Sarah?”
Her head was buried in hands that were growing increasingly damper by the second. The medical gown hitched across her bulge as she brought her knees upward on the table. She had been holding all the tears back day after day, but she couldn’t anymore. Sarah keeps crying until she starts to hiccup. She misses him. She misses him so much.
Dr Ross continues to stand there patiently, a hand on Sarah’s shoulder. When Sarah Jane finally stops crying, she asks gently, “What is it, Sarah?”
“I don’t… it’s… James and I are separated,” she replies. “I don’t know if he loves me anymore and I just… I wish I never got pregnant in the first place. Then I could… I could forget about him, and this, and resume travelling and…”
“Sarah, do you want this?” Dr Ross interrupts gently. “Because the way you’re treating Valerie right now isn’t fair to her. She needs you to stay healthy and fit. I don’t know the situation between you and your husband, and I won’t pretend to. It’s only two more months. You owe it to your daughter to see this through. And after that, if you’d like, we can make other arrangements.”
Other arrangements? Sarah hiccups again, looking up at the other woman. What other options are there? She’s pregnant and stuck in someone else’s world and she always will be as long as she has her daughter. There’s adoption but…
“I don’t want to. I… both my parents died when I was younger. I want Valerie to know hers,” she answers, taking a steadying breath. Adoption would be so simple. It would make the heartache go away, wouldn’t it? “I can’t… I.. I think about it lately, but I can’t.”
She just wants James back. She wants those vows they said to each other back in September to mean something. Sarah doesn’t understand how he could fall out of love so quickly. They had been so in love four months ago. There was that wonderful honeymoon on Eiattu and the promise of a wonderful life together. And then, somewhere, it all went away. She didn’t even notice that moment. She had been so content.
“I want James back,” Sarah cries. She tries to pull her knees up further but can’t. Her stomach sticks out far too much by now. It’s absolutely unfair. If anything else, she is so very tired of being pregnant. “It’s bloody pathetic, but it’s what I want.”
“I can’t help you with that.”
“You have to eat, Sarah.”
Dr Ross sighs, giving Sarah a pointed look. “You will, won’t you? James will have to get involved if you don’t, and I sense that you don’t want that right now.”
That catches her attention, and Sarah Jane finally looks up again. She nods weakly. As much as she wants James, she wants to be strong more. She can be mature. She just fails at it when pregnant and alone. But James doesn’t have to know. He never has to if Sarah has any say in the matter.
“I’ll eat,” she relinquishes. “I promise.”
“I want to see you in two weeks. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned.”
Sarah Jane nods. She can do this. She can do it if it’s just for Valerie and for no one else. Her world has shattered and that’s something she doubts that she can ever explain to anyone. She is almost certain that James won’t ever come back. In essence, she’s been abandoned once again. First, there was the Doctor. And then there was James: she has no right to hold him to a life he abhorred, after all. Valerie is helpless in all this.
Valerie doesn’t deserve any of Sarah Jane’s problems. Her life isn’t hers anymore. She’s tried telling herself that again and again and again. Even hearing it from others hasn’t helped. She can’t be that carefree, reckless girl anymore, living life only for herself and her own happiness. Valerie deserves more: she only deserves the best. Sarah can do that, can't she? Be the mother Valerie deserves?
Sarah Jane nods again, placing a hand on her stomach. It hurts. Absolutely everything hurts right now. She’s afraid of being alone, she’s afraid of being abandoned again. She’s too much in love with James to have it hurt any less. She's too much in love to be certain of anything right now.
“I’ll eat,” she repeats again. “And I’ll take care of Valerie and I’ll see you in two weeks. Honestly, Dr Ross.”
Sarah nods. “Really.”
Still, the word sounds hollow to Sarah Jane's ears.