Saturday, May 1, 2010

As long as it's healthy...

I went to my cousin's baby shower this afternoon. It was a very nice shower and she got some really great gifts...many of which were gender-neutral since she and her husband have decided not to find out the sex until delivery.

This of course provided the opportunity for lots of discussion about what everyone "thinks" the baby is. Which I find hilarious. I really do think it's crazy that people really think they "know" the sex of the baby. Twelve years ago, my mother was so convinced that my brother's wife was having a girl that she had a closet full of girl clothes when my NEPHEW was born. She had to return everything!

This conversation ALWAYS leads to this comment "it doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's healthy". It's just thrown out flippantly...without any real thought behind what that means. And for some reason, it really bugs me. It's not the comment, it's the lack of thought behind it that irks me so much.

Today I wondered if the speaker (or anyone in the room) even thought about the fact that my boys "weren't healthy" when they were born. I concluded that maybe about 2 people in that room probably thought about that (even though almost all of them know about the boys' premature birth and Ben's CP). And it bugged me. I know I need to get over this, but for some reason, it really bugged me.

And I'm not even sure why. I almost feel silly posting this. I mean why on earth should someone's common-every-day-comment bug me so much?

I think it's because it shows me that they (as in the general public) don't have a freakin' clue how lucky they are to have a "regular" birth with the resultant "normal" child.

Another cousin of mine had a baby last week. The baby and mother stayed in the hospital ONE night and then went home. ONE NIGHT! And the baby went home...without medications...without oxygen or monitors...without numerous appointments already set up with neurologists / cardiologists / opthamoligists. I bet my cousin and her partner have not spent one minute thinking about how fortunate they are to have a "healthy baby".

And for some reason this lack of appreciation gets to me. I guess I just want them to really know how freakin' fortunate they are. And appreciate the perfect little bundle that they get to take home. And not just EXPECT to get a healthy baby...because many of us don't.

P.S. I hope that this post doesn't rub anyone the wrong way. After re-reading it, I realized that it may sound like I do not consider myself FORTUNATE to have Ben. And that is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case. I feel blessed every single day that I get to be Ben's mom. I really do.


  1. Oh I totally get this. I mean, yes, you do want a healthy baby, but I know someone on Facebook who is pretty much complaining every day because she has a newborn and her husband is deployed and I know it's tough, but GOSH, she has two healthy children.

  2. I get you. Totally. The better response to all of those 'do you know what you're having' questions would be something like, ..."as long as he/she is happy". That is all we have control over. Happiness is a choice, regardless of health. Oia proves this to me every, singe day.

    And on a side note, I delivered what seemed to be a healthy baby. Fairly smooth delivery, sent home two days later. It was not until my daughter was nearly 4 months old that we learned of some vision issues and then 8 months old that we learned she had CP. My point is saying this is that in some cases time will tell the 'health' of your baby, not moments after delivery.

  3. I totally get this too. thank you for writing it. I don't think people really think about this. I'm sure before the boys were born that I probably said this a hundred times to other expectant moms and didn't mean any negative connotation to it. I think we have a completely different perspective now and its not something I would just flippantly say anymore. Our lives are forever changed and give us a different view. Not better not worse, just different. I ADORE my sons (just as you do) and I wish they didn't have their challenges but now that so easily said statement makes me want to say "and if your baby is not healthy, then what? you won't love them any less or wish for anything different than exactly what you have: your baby(ies)!

  4. Oh Ladies. Thank you so much for commenting. I almost didn't publish this post. I felt like maybe I was whining too much.

    Katy - glad you get it. I hear ya about the complaining. I have a hard time listing to other mom's complain about "normal" kid things.

    Mo - love the "happy" comment. You're long as they're happy is exactly the right comment.

    Holli - Yep, you're right...I'm sure I said this 1000 times before the boys were born and didn't think a thing of it.

  5. I totally get this, too. I am pretty sure that I am the only person I know in real life who hears how far along someone is in her pregnancy and then does them mental calculation of how much NICU time the baby/ies would have if born at that moment. (That totally sounds sick to say out loud, but I do it. Sigh) I suppose it is all about perspective, no?

    I love the "as long as the baby is happy" comment, too. I am going to start using it. I generally don't say much at all when this type of conversation comes up as it is.


  6. I absolutely, 100 percent get what you're saying. Every time a friend has a new baby, I can't help but think, "do you now realize how lucky you are?" I too, am extremely thankful that my girls are here and are OK, but yea, you really get the idea of what it means to take things for granted when go through prematurity and things like CP. Thanks for posting this, glad to know I'm not alone in these feelings.

  7. I totally get it, dear. I still have PTSD from my first daughter's birth and she is essentially healthy now, if a tad smallish. But to know what was in store for me? I certainly would not have said such things so cavalierly.

  8. CaryAnne,
    The thing I wanted to say is that there are NO guarantees.Yes, I have been irked by comments like this by others, too! You just never know and it's true that most parents really don't think about the possibilities.

  9. Caryanne,

    Having an unhealthy child only happens to "other" people. I used to be one of "those" people. Then wham!

  10. 灰心是動搖的開端,動搖是失敗的近鄰。..................................................

  11. I love the "as long as he/she's happy" idea too.

    Yes, I don't think people think past the comment, to what if he/she ISN'T healthy... then what?!

  12. Caryanne,

    Don't ever feel silly about posting your feelings, I am constantly amazed at how we all think and feel almost alike. My granddaughter Beautiful Hailey has Athetoid C.P. an I can honestly tell you that I had no idea really how people who have children born with disabilities feel. How could I, until my life was touched by it I couldn't possibly get it, after all I was one of the fortunate people who gave birth to a child with out any problems, I am embarrassed to say I was young when I had my child and I can remember saying things just like that, "as long as he has 10 fingers and 10 toes" etc. etc. I think my biggest concern was that he wasn't born with red hair! I did not know better and I think it is totally up to us to educate people. How else will they know unless they too feel it in the gut? Hailey is only 3 years old and she has taught me sooo much,I think that my blog helps my family to understand more about Hailey and C.P. by reading what I write, they don't have to ask me questions, because sometimes they are afraid to hear the answers so I blatenly put it out there for them. By writing theses blogs we are helping them understand things they otherwise never would. So to all my fellow bloggers keep writing and lets keep sharing each others blogs for all the world to see, so they don't continue to say stupid empty phrases without first thinking about what they are saying. One of the stupid things I hear people say when I tell them Hailey has C.P. is "oh, i'm sorry" My response is "oh no, don't be Hailey is a beautiful little girl who brings so much joy to our lives.

  13. Interesting post... I have infertility issues, and I usually get irked when I hear people talking like getting PG was a breeze - like it was no big deal "oops". It seems we all have our "thing" about pregnancy/birth/child rearing that makes us want to hurt someone. :)

    Then I think about my own current PG responses... People are constantly asking me if I want a boy or a girl. Like I'd actually choose one. I really, really do this baby! I don't have a position on the sex! WTF? Really? Having had 6 miscarriages and my one precious boy, do you think I'd actually CHOOSE not to have a live baby if it weren't the right sex? Sigh.

    But, I can't respond like that... The person means no harm. So, I say very clearly and sincerely that "Really, I can see my son having a brother or a sister. Either would be great. We are simply hoping for happy and healthy." I say this because it is true, and I don't want to sound smug to the listener. After so many losses, healthy is kinda important to me. Perfect is not the goal, but generally healthy is. If we miss our goal - that would be fine, we'll make our family work either way, but I still have that basic goal. I think that's probably OK.

    Just so you know... I think you are right to take an amount of offense at the statement. Especially since most people say it so flippantly. Then again, there are are some of us though for whom the statement is the utmost fact, and we've lived the flip side for far too long.

  14. I know what you mean too.

    I personally LOVE the as long "as they're happy" statement, but just the other day I read a long thread of rants by special needs moms about how they hate that. ?! I'm beyond thrilled to have a happy guy after the MONTHS he was inconsolably miserable before he had a diagnosis and started therapies.

    My twins are far from healthy, but they are happy and that's a huge blessing.