To the Doctor Who Told Me Not to Get Attached to My Baby

You told me 5-month-old baby had been born with a fatal illness. You told me he would become “vegetative” and die before his 2nd birthday. You told me not to become attached to my baby and find a nice pediatric nursing home for him because it would be the best thing for everyone. You told me there was absolutely nothing that could help my beautiful baby.

I didn’t follow one word of the instructions you gave me. I was already attached to my baby, and rather than accept the inevitable outcome you described, I chose to fight for the life of my baby.

I hated you that day. You casually ended all hope for love and happiness for my baby.

I no longer hate you; I pity you. Your words were a reflection of you, your background and experience with life. Your words have nothing to do with my son’s potential or value. I was able to recover from that last appointment with you pretty quickly and begin my quest to save my baby, a baby you saw no point in saving.

My son will be 19 years old on October 9, 2016. He just graduated high school, and I was in tears hearing his teacher speak about him and how everyone at school loves him. The teacher also mentioned how intelligent he is and how he made improvements in math as a senior. She told everyone how much of an impact Max has had on the staff and students. Max is nonverbal and disabled. But even with everything against him he’s shared himself with others and made an impact on his own, without me. This is more than I ever dreamed possible. He’s happy and lives a meaningful life full of activity and an abundance of love.

So to the doctor who told me 18 years ago not to become attached to my baby and look for a nursing home where he could die without “disturbing” the family, I say this: you should really be more careful about what you say to parents when giving them a horrible diagnosis. I understand you don’t want to give false hope, but some parents might believe what you say and listen to what you tell them to do. I wish you could have been at Max’s graduation. The boy who had no hope and no future is a happy, well-adjusted young adult. I hope knowing this would help you do a better job of delivering bad news in the future.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Other

Conflict. Women discuss project in office

What My Colleague Didn't Know When She Asked 'What Happened to Your Face?'

Traveling extensively for my job while living with a chronic illness is an adventure. How will I handle my luggage and my cane in the airport? Do I have enough medication to last me for my entire trip? How close to the hotel are the hospital and pharmacy, just in case? Do I have enough cash with [...]
Woman, shirtless with her back to the camera.

We Challenged People to Write Honest Captions for Their Facebook Photos

Our social media identity is a carefully curated version of ourselves — and unlike real problems, an unwelcomed Facebook photo can be rid off with a single click. While a picture is worth a thousand words, how often do we use photos on social media to tell the whole story? Those who live with mental [...]

To the Child Who Didn't Hear Your Name Called at the End-of-Year Award Ceremony

Ah, end of term. Sports days, shows, school trips, report cards and of course the all important end-of-year award ceremony. Proud parents just as excited as their children, relieved teachers glad to show someone really loved their teaching, and halls full of eager little ones hoping and praying their name will be called. You already [...]
city commuters

The Things I Sense Right After I’ve Had a Seizure

I’m participating in everyday rudimentary tasks, from sitting in class, running a mile or hanging out with my friends. Until I’m no longer participating. My body is present, but my mind has checked out. All of these things fade into darkness. Silence. Oblivion. There is nothing. *** Sensation overload. Too many things at once. My [...]