The Healthy Baby CardDanielle
A recent discussion on birth choices, repeat cesareans, and traumatic birth experiences sparked a comment that is probably one of my top hated comments in discussing a negative or traumatic birth experience, especially with the mother who has gone through this experience.
“At least you have a healthy baby”
While I come from a circle of women who would give anything for a healthy pregnancy, or baby with infertility, miscarriages, and the loss of newborns to horrible undetected illness like Congenital Heart Defects, I don’t think the term, or phrase is something we can, or should be appropriately using especially in discussing of a traumatic birth, or experience in general.
After my first son was born, under less than ideal conditions, and a sub par experience at best, I knew I wanted to get involved with mothers who felt like I did. I had been bullied, robbed, and ultimately became one of the mothers who needed therapy, and help after my birth experience. Although during my years working with ICAN, and the local childbirth community I learned that there are mothers out there who put my negative experience to shame.
Which got me thinking after another post I read on Birth rape and childbirth trauma, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a negative delivery experience. It began as a post which compared the amount of time women use planning their wedding vs. the time they put into researching a care provider, hospital, taking childbirth classes, and preparing for the birth of their child. It then spun 180 in my head and the term at least you have a healthy baby flashed through my mind in terms of a horrible wedding disaster.
Let me set the scene :
Bride and groom are madly in love, and planning to get married on the 15th of September. Well the 15th comes, and on the way leaving their lavish ceremony, and planned celebration with their family, friends, and other loved ones, the groom is almost killed in a horrible car accident. He spends weeks in the ICU and finally after the whole experience is able to leave the hospital. Their wedding day becomes an experience overshadowed by trauma, near death, and negative feelings.
Cue the friend who looks at the bride while she is sharing her feelings on the day and says at least you have a healthy marriage. Now, most people would jump on the ass kicking bandwagon over a comment like that, especially knowing the events of that day. Why would it be any different for someone to use the healthy baby card?
It doesn’t change what was done, and the women who go through these bad experiences do not wish their children were ill, or dead. No one in their right mind would have that kind of thought, even after such a traumatic experience. But using that term, especially when you have not suffered like the other woman is nothing short of a slap in the face.
Next time someone is confiding in you over experiences, feelings, or trauma, whether it is over childbirth, or an accident that has harmed a family member, be conscious of the words you use. Sometimes they can cause more harm than good.