Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why I am not...

...the person to talk to a pregnant woman.

Several months ago I ran into an old friend (I did not blog about it then because I did not know if she read this blog and I wanted some time to pass so that it was not obvious who it was). She was pregnant and due any day with his first child. I was standing there, with Brayden, catching up with her, talking all about the excitement of pregnancy and things to come.

After we said goodbye, I realized that the conversation felt awkward for me. Not once did she talk to Brayden or even acknowledge his presence. It was like one of her fears while being pregnant, was right in front of her...a severely disabled child.

I have come to realize that I am not the best person to talk to a pregnant woman.

Before I go into all my reasons, I want to give a disclaimer that it is all worth it to have a baby in your arms, no matter what happens.

I do not really enjoy being pregnant. I spent way too much time sick and sick enough to require quality time with IVs and medication. And it happened with each pregnancy.

Then after the baby comes, I am a mess. No sleep, your body is a mess, emotions...everything just turned upside down. The newborn phase is not my favorite time. I do not feel like myself until the baby is at least 3-4 months old.

But why I really have a hard time talking to a pregnant woman is two reasons.

First, I always hear people say, "It does not matter if we have a boy or a girl, we will be happy as long as it is healthy." And what if the baby is not healthy? Then what? Would you love that baby any less? I know that people do not mean anything bad by making that statement but just stop and think about it.

Second, we did not know anything about Brayden until after he was born. All the pregnancy tests looked great...the ultrasound, blood work, etc. all looking normal. Even his delivery day things looked fine. The delivery was the easiest of all three boys. We thought Brayden was a healthy baby boy just like Carter and Luke. It wasn't until about 24-48 hours after his birth that the doctors began to question his head size and then proceeded with all the tests.

I rejoice with each person I know is pregnant. I am excited for them. I know that they will love the baby and their experience in their own way. But please just don't ask about my experience you might not want to hear it.


Devon said...

I so know what you mean about the 'everything was normal until' thing. It does put a different spin on the joys of pregnancy and having a newborn. I find it particularly disappointing that a friend of yours refused to acknowledge Brayden...these things aren't catching!!

Leah said...

and then what happens when the mom of the special needs child is pregnant with another? all of the fears are realized and you have to push them futher and futher down....until the tests comes back....we had no idea with wyatt for 5 weeks after he was born. and now, we can know after just 4 months of pregnancy. sheesh, the choices....and i hear you, almost all of my friends have been having babies in this last year. it is a hard thing to deal with for sure....

The VW's said...

I feel the same way that you do. And, it bothers me when people say it doesn't matter as long as the baby is healthy. What does that mean for people who's baby was not born healthy?! We can't change anything and we love our children regardless!

I always feel apprehensive about talking with someone or having my blog shared with someone who is expecting a child with Down syndrome or who just delivered a child with DS. I feel like "our story" is not a good one to share with others who are just getting into this "life." Gavin is FAR from the average child with DS and I sometimes feel guilty sharing his story, because it makes me feel like I'm giving a "bad name" to Down syndrome. But, one thing that I do share with these families is that this will change your life forever, but it will be the best thing that ever happened to them too.....if they allow their special child to teach them the lessons that they are here on earth to teach!

All this just to say that I understand what you are saying! Love, Hugs and Prayers!!!

Mo said...

Wonderfully said.

David Ring (google him), a grown father/husband, with cerebral palsy gave a sermon on the exact same thing...the topic of expectant mothers saying all they want is a 'healthy' baby. It's VERY touching. I can give you more info on the dvd set of sermons if you'd like; all of which are very inspirational. You, just like him, hit the nail on the head with this one. Nice job.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Very well said! The "as long as the baby is healthy" comment is tough to swallow. Like you I had no idea about Emily's CP until she was born. So I understand what it is like to take that all in while you are dealing with hormones and recovery and all of that.

The Bilslands said...

You wrote this so well. I am not the best either, I am a terrible pregnant person... and I think about the "as long as they're healthy thing" as well now, its like Evie not being healthy didn't change my love for her and definitely didn't make it "okay" that she isn't here now... thank you for your honesty and for sharing your experiences with us =)


TMI Tara said...

I am with ya there!

Andrea said...

After our miscarriage, when I was pregnant again and people would ask us what we wanted, we would say that we just wanted a baby to hold. We don't ask people that question anymore because we think it's kind of dumb. I also tell people that I never trust an ultrasound so when they ask if everything looks good, I just tell them "as far as we can tell but who really knows?"