They are still loved. They are still valuable. They are still beautiful. They are still precious.
A healthy baby.
Isn't that what we all want? It's a common response to the question every expecting mother gets asked: Do you want a boy or a girl?
"It doesn't matter as long as the baby is healthy."
But what if that doesn't happen? What if something doesn't go quite right?
I'll admit that sentence came out of my mouth when I was pregnant with both boys. I didn't care if it was a boy or girl as long as the baby was healthy and could thrive. While our first was born by emergency C-section, after a little while they handed me a "perfectly healthy baby." We were thrilled, what a relief! And then along came our tiny fighter.
He wasn't and isn't healthy. He falls under the 'not healthy' category. Your child may fall under that as well.
What if instead of newborn cuddles you got a photo to look at while your baby is fighting for their life?
What if instead of that beautifully planned out sibling meet, they "meet" over FaceTime?
What if instead of hearing their sweet, peaceful breathing and see that sweet gassy smile you hear monitors, nurses, doctors and see tubes, wires, and machines?
When we throw that sentence around, it makes it seem that unhealthy babies and children are worth less, aren't as special, harder to love.
They are still loved.
They are still valuable.
They are still beautiful.
They are still precious.
You are their mom/dad, and for a reason. They are not defective, they're different and different is okay.
No, they're not a burden.
Their little heart may be broken, but that broken heart will fill yours with more than you ever imagined was possible.
They can give hope to someone who is looking for a miracle.
They may make a medical staff's day, brighten up the dark hospital room.
No one asks for "not healthy" but sometimes that's the card that gets played. We all want "healthy." Truth is, we can't all have that. A lot of us will have babies that fight, struggle and teach us more about life than we thought we could learn from such a small person.
Some children will fight, win and thrive. Some will fight for a long time and their struggle will be more long term. Some will fight and unfortunately, lose their battle.
But trust me, those kids are loved.
Having a healthy baby is not everything. It's something, it's important and we all want our children to be healthy. There's nothing wrong with longing for a healthy baby. It's our natural instinct. No one is saying that when that sentence leaves our mouth it means you won't love this child if they're not healthy.
But just remember, next time you say, "As long as the baby is healthy" ask yourself, "What if the baby is not?"
This article was previously published here.