Monday, July 29, 2013

Just as long as the baby is healthy

"We don't care whether it's a boy or girl, just that it's healthy!"

This is something that everyone has probably heard couples say when they are expecting.  I'll admit that I even said it.  But that was before.  Before Luca.  Before I had a child who was not the epitome of health.  Before I had to learn medical terminology, how to change PICC dressings, change out gtubes, give daily injections, maneuver hospitals, manage a schedule of doctor and therapist appointments around naptimes, know the names of our favorite parking attendants at hospitals, know more about infections and antibiotics than I ever cared to, watch my child be put under sedation or anesthesia and be used to it, and sit in a hospital for weeks and months at a time.

I know that when I uttered that phrase when I was expecting, my intentions in saying that was to say that I did not care whether it was a boy or girl - we would be happy either way.  But that added phrase for a healthy baby?  Well, that is not what parenting is about.  Parenting is loving your child no matter what.

Is a medically fragile child less desirable, less valuable, less wanted?  No.  I have experienced first hand the beauty of having a child who has fought for life.  She experiences life differently as a result.  She is a beautiful, caring, loving, funny, clever little girl.

Of course, we all wish for good health for our loved ones so parents hope for a healthy child.  But saying that last part, at long as it's healthy, can be a bit offensive to the parent of the medically fragile child in the room. I did not know that until Luca.

Nobody should feel badly for saying that.  There is no bitterness or anger for people saying that.  Just hindsight.  I used to say it.  Now I would not.  If we were to have any more children, I would just say, we are excited for our new arrival, and leave it at that.  Every soon to be parent should hope and pray for good health for their child.  But know that you will love and care for that child no matter what.

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  1. I love this post! I've been having similar conversations with people recently, with the overall theme being that society seems to have adopted the idea that having a perfect child is what's expected, deserved even. And that while I understand everyone wants a healthy and happy child, one does not negate the other. There are plenty of children born with medical issues - Luca, me, children with DS - who lead happy lives, and who enrich their families in ways you could never predict. So thank you for sharing this. Hopefully someone will read this and think about the expectation of a "healthy" child a little differently.

    1. Hi! I could not agree more. Thanks so much for reading :)


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