Monday, November 30, 2009

That Love is a Verb--That's What's Most Important

This may surprise some, but this is another statement that no longer rings true for me.

"I know that the only important thing is whether or not the baby is born healthy."

Here's what I know. That's not the most important thing, either. Because when your child isn't born healthy, as mine was not, the most important thing is that you become a mother and that you engage in love as the verb it is, in all it's messy and scary and difficult and powerful and beautiful ways. Most parents hope for health above all, though some must come to an understanding that health cannot be the most important thing--especially when your child isn't born with health.

16 comments:

  1. I get it. I can remember a client from our support group, whose child was stillborn, saying that she didn't care if her next child was healthy -- "I'll settle for 'breathing.'"

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  2. Yeah I think I have to agree with that. When my Jordan was born I wasn't sitting there thinking about how unhealthy she was, I was thinking about loving her. Making sure she knew it, felt it, embodied it.

    However it didn't stop me praying for health for my subsequent child though. I prayed for it every day. Not because I would love a child with an illness less, just that I didn't want that particular heartache again.

    xx

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  3. I keep coming back to this, because Henry wasn't born with health either. And I wanted health so much and the normalcy I expected to come with it. When I was pregnant with Kathleen, it seemed the most important thing, not because that is what you say in an offhand way when people ask if you want a boy or a girl, but because I lived with the missing health and the ensuing death and I feared going through that again.

    But you are right that the love comes over all that. When Henry was diagnosed with Down syndrome after birth, I really struggled with that, especially at night when I was lying in the dark, not at the hospital. When I held him though, my questions and fears and worries faded, overshadowed by that love.

    I learned to mother in a way I never expected to, faced things I never imagined I would face. Sometimes, even now, the messy and scary and difficult try to blot out the powerful and beautiful.

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  4. Ah, how right you are. I continue to be amazed by the new perspective our shared experiences have brought us - everything, *everything* looks different now.

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  5. Wow, I learned so much from your comments. Many many thanks. I too would pray and wish and hope for the health of a subsequent child--for lots of reasons. That that would be best for the child. That health would relieve some of the heartache that comes with physical and other special needs of a child with poor health. And so many other reasons. I don't mean to suggest that health isn't or should be important--it is, though I do mean to explore this oft-repeated statement and consider a deeper meaning than "well as long as he/she is healthy." Peace.

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  6. This post is beautiful. Kirtsy-worthy.

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  7. I completely agree.
    {{{hugs}}}

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  8. When I was pregnant with Akul I always prayed for a healthy baby...I could not see my baby suffer. I kept telling Sunil that he would have to take the baby for all his shots.

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  9. Your post stopped me in my tracks, how TRUE. Thanks for posting this and making me think and love.

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  10. Very true.. find myself nodding.

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  11. I didn't think that either of my girls would be healthy, if they survived. But that didn't seem important at the time. Their poor health and their prematurity was part of them and I loved them completely and still do.

    Health is a wondrous thing and should never be taken for granted but I agree, it is not the most important thing. xo

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  12. My daughter was born with serious heart defects, but she's here and the blessing of my lifetime.

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  13. Hear, hear! I have three children, all of whom have varying levels of special needs, and while health is wonderful and certainly something we hope for when we have children, you're absolutely right. It is NOT the most important thing. Beautiful post.

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  14. Oh, that's so true.

    I used to say, as long as my child was born healthy.

    Now, my pray would be, that my child LIVES long after I am dead, that I don't bury another one...would that I didn't bury Michael.

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