Because Not All Babies Are Healthy And None Are Perfect

“When did you find out? At her ultrasound or when she was born?”

gender reveal 1

I could tell she wasn’t asking me about Adelaide’s gender.

gender reveal 2gender reveal 3gender reveal 55

I always feel for first-time pregnant mamas who start asking me questions about Adelaide’s disability. The fear in their eyes is unmatched. Even though they try to hide it. Because we use expressions like ‘perfect baby’ and ‘as long as it’s healthy’ and we think if we don’t focus on gender, but on health, that we’re safe. That our society has made some sort of advancement concerning life.

gender reveal 6gender reveal 27gender reveal 8

But all we do is place unrealistic expectations. There’s nothing wrong with hoping and praying and desiring a healthy baby. On the contrary. Good parents want healthy babies. No parent desires disadvantage or deficit.

gender reveal 9gender reveal 22gender reveal 7

But we don’t prepare people for the reality that babies aren’t perfect. Not a single one. With or without disability, babies don’t come into the world the way we think they will, or latch right away, or sleep through the night, or stay on a perfect schedule, or poop only when wearing a diaper.

gender reveal 10gender reveal 24gender reveal 11

And some babies are not born healthy. And some, like Adelaide, are born looking healthy. And you don’t learn until later that a baby’s brain is abnormal. That no surgeries can fix what’s wrong. That you may have just gained a lifelong roommate. All your visions of the future change.

gender reveal 29gender reveal 13gender reveal 20

But it doesn’t change worth. Adelaide is no less worthy now than when she was a ‘healthy’ newborn. And her value as a human was there when she was conceived. And when her ultrasound was ‘perfect and healthy’ and we had no clue.

gender reveal 32gender reveal 14gender reveal 33

I look at this mom-in-the-making and say, “At her 9 month appointment. We found out shortly after her 9 month appointment.” And that woman looks panicked. Because our society tells you that you can announce your pregnancy after 14 weeks to be safe. And that you can get ultrasounds and fluid checks and blood tests to be safe. Or that you’re safe when they shout that APGAR score. But we’re not ever safe. Because we conceive, carry, and bring into this atmosphere imperfect human beings.

gender reveal 38gender reveal 12gender reveal 42

You can eat all the right things and do all the right things and be blindsided by a baby who doesn’t fit the norm. And we don’t prepare people for it at all.

gender reveal 41gender reveal 17gender reveal 31

Our society, by its laws and practices, actually frowns upon bringing unhealthy, imperfect children into our circle. Because we place ‘healthy’ on a pedestal and our culture worships perfect. Not only should that child be whole and without defect, but she had better be a star athlete and he had better be top of his class.

gender reveal 16gender reveal 34gender reveal 35

And 75% of children with an extra chromosome are killed in the womb. Not deemed good enough for America and our culture of ‘healthy and perfect’…but we think we’re better than the Third World, because we don’t care about gender. Except that we do. Abortions based on gender don’t just happen outside our borders. American women end lives, because they don’t like the gender of a person.

gender reveal 4gender reveal 46gender reveal 60

So we assign value based on our wants. Do we want a boy? A girl? Healthy? Later in life? With a different person? After high school? After college? After career? After ‘me’ time? We determine the fate of children. Trying to fit some mold of perfect. Healthy children at the perfect time of life.

gender reveal 57gender reveal 36gender reveal 39

When our culture perpetuates this false reality of being able to choose ‘the best’…choosing who gets to live…it leaks into all arenas of our culture. Teaching our children that life has value when it’s valuable to us. That we choose the value. That we control it all. But we don’t.

gender reveal 15gender reveal 45gender reveal 56

Babies form in the womb and surprise us all. Sometimes the ‘perfect, healthy’ baby isn’t. And she is still worth the same. Her worth is unmatched.

gender reveal 41gender reveal 18gender reveal 52

And I can’t explain all of this to this frightened, pregnant stranger, but her baby is worthy. No matter what happens, that baby’s life is worthy. Boy or girl. Uneventful natural birth or emergency c-section. Home after 2 days or in the NICU. Or never going home at all. That baby deserves a chance.

gender reveal 43gender reveal 30

That imperfect baby, who will surprise you one hundred times a day. That baby may be healthy. That baby may have birth trauma. That baby may get cancer at age 6. Or 36. But, Mama, that baby is a miracle. All babies are miracles. Don’t fret about the future, but don’t buy into the lie that you can control it either. None of us can. Control and healthy and perfect and viable are illusions. Leave this Sonic playplace and buy something fun for your baby. You won’t regret it. I never regretted buying hairbows and frilly socks for Adelaide. We still buy those things. Plus seizure medication and wheelchairs.

gender reveal 47gender reveal 58gender reveal 51

Enjoy the little things and don’t fret. But somewhere in the back of your mind, remember that your baby is sugar and spice and everything nice and an imperfect human, with immeasurable value and worth. Don’t ever think that he’s less because he’s imperfect. Or that she’s more because she’s healthy. Just remember you are carrying a miracle.

gender reveal 50

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

8 thoughts on “Because Not All Babies Are Healthy And None Are Perfect

  1. Love this! You are so right. When Kenzie was born we were told she was “healthy and perfect.” That gave us a false sense of security.

  2. Aimee says:

    Lovely. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. My baby is beautiful just the way he is.

  3. Erin says:

    Thank you for this. I have read this over and over the last two days. This should just be common place and common knowledge. It’s not though because it wasn’t until I read these words that I myself recognized this truth. Thank you for writing this and sharing this. It is eloquent and accurate and beautiful.

  4. Ash says:

    Discovered you through the Mighty – beautiful words. Truth. My 9yro son has PKU. I too have been asked if we found out “before.” My factual answer is that there isn’t an “easy prenatal test.” What I really want to say is “does it matter?” Good job, mama.

  5. […] So many people think they do have the answers for me and other moms in the special needs community. That they hold our M*A*S*H cards and the spiral ends once you get a diagnosis. And it’s almost worse when you’re in the undiagnosed club. Too many variables. They forget that any child at anytime has the potential for glitches in the DNA. And that perfect babies do not exist. […]

  6. […] and children cast off due to imperfections. We do it here in these beautiful United States, too. When new life is inconvenient to us, we shout it with […]

  7. […] actual comment on a post of mine edited by The Mighty and picked up by Yahoo […]

  8. […] Because Not All Babies Are Healthy And None Are Perfect […]

Please Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: