Thursday, July 31, 2014

As long as they are healthy

I love seeing pregnant mamas.  I loved being pregnant.  One of the things I got asked when I was pregnant was whether the baby was a boy or a girl, and if I had preferences.  I hear this question asked to other people all the time, and you know what the most common response is, "as long as they are healthy, we don't care what the sex is".  I'm not judging people who say that, I know that I have said the same thing in the past. 

But here's the thing.  What does healthy mean?  I have three children with Down Syndrome.   One of them has no health concerns at all.  One has things we need to be watchful for, but is what I would consider healthy.  One of them has a heart condition, but only need yearly monitoring at this point.  So, all of them "I" would consider healthy.  We don't have daily hospital or doctor runs, no equipment needed in the home, no oxygen, no feeding tubes, no trachs, nothing. 

So what do we (including myself bc I used to give the same answer) really mean when we say "as long as they are healthy".  Does it really mean as long as they are typical?  As long as they are normal?  Are children who have disabilities automatically considered not healthy?  Are we really saying we will be happy as long as they are like everyone else? 

And then I wonder, what kind of message does it send to parents of children who have disabilities, to say, we will be happy if they are healthy?  Does that mean they should be unhappy bc their child is not typical, not healthy?  Does it mean that child won't bring them the same joy as a typical child?  Does it mean they won't get into trouble, climb onto tables and out of cribs? Does it mean they won't fill our hearts with such joy that it physically hurts?  Nope.  Pretty sure I have that feeling with all my children, including those with a little something extra.  Does it mean there won't be heartache?  No, but there is that with typical children also. 

I sat with a new friend today, and I saw the heartache that can go with an unexpected diagnosis.  But what I really saw?  I saw beautiful almond shaped eyes.  I saw a contagious grin.  I saw a beautiful baby.  I saw baseball games and friends and staying up late to eat ice cream sandwiches when i stared in his perfect face.  I saw acceptance in his mamas eyes, along with the sadness and I thought, he is perfect.  He is an amazing creation.  He was made exactly the way he was intended to be. 

I hear from parents all the time who had biological babies with down syndrome or other diagnosis, that when their babies were born, people didn't know what to say, or said, "i'm sorry", or things along those line.  Being on the other side, the side who sees what a joy these children can bring, now I think and say, "congratulations!  He/she is beautiful".  Just some things to think about the next time a family member or friends gets an unexpected diagnosis!

Because all children deserve some excitement when they come into the world :)

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