Lately I have had my fair share of “as long as the baby is healthy” comments. A medical professional even said “all you want is ten fingers and ten toes”… I know that people are just trying to be nice to me. They are making an attempt to start a warm and fuzzy conversation and reassure me that everything will be great with this baby. I get it! I totally do. But I don’t think people realize the power of the spoke (and written) word. They don’t consider the weight their words carry – the ones spoken and the ones they don’t speak!
I realize that this will be my third blog post about the crazy things people say to pregnant women, but if I can just make ONE person think before they speak, then my job here is done.
My relatives and coworkers joke with me all the time that I am not one for small talk. I either get straight to the point of a conversation, or nothing. I am not one to just fill the airways with idle chit chat. The need to hear my own voice is not all that great, unless I know that my words will truly make an impact. I feel that any conversation with the mere intent of passing time ends up being full of cliches and mindless soundbites. The danger of cliches is that people really don’t think about what they are saying, they just know that “cliche # 1” goes here, followed by a mindless and cold “don’t worry everything will be fine”. After that they can go about their day feeling that they truly listened and comforted someone else.
But having been on the same side of the table as someone who needed moral support from friends and family, the last thing you want to hear is a group of words strung together and uttered by a friend to just make THEMSELVES feel better.
So let’s break it down, what does “as long as the baby is healthy” mean? Or “all you want is ten fingers and ten toes” for that matter!? I get it – I know people are wishing me a healthy child – and a symbol of that supposed health is ten fingers and toes – I get that… but on the flip side of those comments are the words they did NOT speak… and like I mentioned before THAT is the danger of using cliches.
I know that no one sets out wishing for a child with medical complexities. However, the implied meaning behind “as long as the baby is healthy” is that a child with medical concerns is not as wanted and won’t be as welcomed and loved. I could not disagree more with that statement. I understand that the comments are coming from a good place, but the recipient may have traveled a journey that has opened their eyes and made them sensitive towards the deeper meaning, or rather the meaning behind the words NOT spoken.
One of these days I will have the courage to say what is really on my mind when I hear one of those comments. Some day I will say “The status of my baby’s health will not change how much I love him! I am an equal opportunity parent!”
Having had a child with medical concerns, I know for a fact that I will love a sick child just as much as a healthy one. My heart will welcome my baby, and my arms will embrace him without hesitation. Of course I never want to see my baby uncomfortable or in pain – medical conditions is not something you wish for. But they are something you make the most of, if those are the cards you are dealt.
However, in response to people who are only wishing me a healthy child – I have to repeat “I am an equal opportunity parent!! I love unconditionally, just as my baby does.”
I am guilty of this; my first was a preemie and had issues with his lungs; although he had no major issues once his lungs developed and were re-inflated (one collapsed at 24hrs old) I remember the stress. When I was pregnant with my 2nd, I was constantly asked if I was hoping for a girl – and nope, I was not. I didn’t care one way or the other, I only prayed that baby was healthy. I couldn’t imagine having gone through it again, with another one to take care of. Of course, had he not been healthy I wouldn’t have loved him any less – but it was definitely on my mind my entire pregnancy