As a women who has endured infertility, loss, and sick infants, there are a handful of things that people say without a care in the world that really get to me. Today, it's been both of these, right around the same time. So I'm choosing to vent while my children sleep peacefully and their baby food is simmering.
#1. "We're going to start a family" or "our firstborn made us a family." I used to say that all the time, we tried to start a family. But, as time went on, I realized that Andrew and I were very much family already. We loved each other, were committed to each other, traveled together, shared our hopes and dreams, and shared a name. I'm not sure how having a child would make us more of a family. But to those of us who can't conceive, who wait years for that child, it makes us feel as though something is inherently wrong with us. Trust me, the guilt is already there on a regular basis, questioning everything, and this phrase only adds to the pain. Particularly for those women (and men) who are suffering silently.
#2. We don't care what gender as long as it's healthy. Heard this one while watching the Bachelorette (oh my goodness, I can't believe I just admitted to watching that trash...it's my guilty pleasure. And embarrassing...) It's the first time I've heard that since the boys were born, but I used to hear it all the time when pregnant and never thought anything of it. Who knows, I may have said it once in my life. Of course we all want our children to be healthy. No one wishes for a sick child. No one wants to see their children struggle to breath, surrounded by a team of doctors and nurses, hooked up to machines, faces obscured by tubes. Of course not. But again, this statement stings to those of us who have had babies who are not "healthy." I wouldn't change a second of Reagan's existence, however short it was, and this just casts her aside. I cherish those early months in the NICU, extra time I got to spend with my boys, time so many women never get, celebrating countless milestones most take for granted. Our journey has not been easy, but I wouldn't trade what we have and where we are today for "healthy." Do I wish Warren & Dean didn't have their medical issues? Absolutely. Would I like to be able to take them in public during the fall, winter, or early spring? You bet (especially this year as they are "big boys" now!) Would I like to hold Reagan in my arms every day, watch her laugh and play? Of course. But God has used each of these difficulties, these "unhealthy" children, in my life, in Andrew's life, in others' lives.
I know nobody means any harm when these statements are said. I know nothing was directed at me personally. I'm sure I offended women at one time with these very statements. So I'm just putting it out there for those who are tempted to "start a family" with their "healthy" child. It's picture perfect, but when it doesn't work out like we dream, the statements dig just a bit.