What Do People Mean When They Say, 'For as Long as the Baby Is Healthy'


During my most recent pregnancy (as well as all the others) when people asked me, “Do you know what you are having?” or “is the baby a boy or a girl?” it was typically followed with, “just as long as it is healthy.” I would nod my head in agreement because, what else are you supposed to say? It could get awkward really quickly if the next words spoken were, “What if the baby is not?”

Yet honestly, what if it’s not? I have been wondering recently what exactly a person means when they say those words. I can assume each person who makes the comment has a different reason as to why they have said those words, but really, what do they mean?

Personally, after having a child who ended up under the category of “not healthy,” I can tell you I am not offended by the phrase itself; but during this last pregnancy, the words took on a new meaning.

I am not ashamed to admit that I said “as long as he is healthy” to anyone who asked me the gender question. I know in a way that not every mother does what it means when your child falls under the not healthy category. I have lived in a hospital, my house is filled with medical supplies and equipment, my children excitedly yell every time we drive by Phoenix Children’s Hospital, I have watched my child endure too many medical procedures, countless daily seizures and I have had to play the “what happens if she doesn’t make it this time” scenario in my head more times than I can count. While some experiences of parenting are worth repeating, these are not ones I want to do with another child.

No one asks for “not healthy,” but sometimes that is just the card that gets played.

I do not love my daughter any differently than I do any of my other children, but I also would never want to watch another child go through what she does. I carry the burden of literally making life and/or death decisions on her behalf, and it is often times too much to handle.

When strangers said, “as long as the baby is healthy,” my mind would of course turn to my daughter. Her almost three years have been filled with a mixture of joyous occasions and challenges, tears and smiles, fear and hope, missed milestones and completed inchstones. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and events all along the way.

Still I wonder when someone says “as long as the baby is healthy” what if the baby is not?

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image by tatyana_tomsickova


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


Related to General Parenting

14 Valentine's Dates to do at Home if Finding Respite for Your Child Is Not an Option

14 Valentine's Dates to Do at Home if Finding Respite for Your Child Is Not an Option

When you are a parent, Valentine’s Day can look quite different from the commercialized celebration. Finding a babysitter can be the first challenge, but when you parent kids with disabilities, finding someone to watch your kids might be an on-going need. Chances are, if finding respite is difficult in general, it won’t happen just because [...]
Mother holding son on courch. Boy seems to be watching something on the distance, mom looks sad.

4 Ways I Manage My Guilt as a Parent of Children With Disabilities

Guilt management and parenting kids with disabilities — hard, hard, hard, hard, hard topic. For most parents, guilt can be a big part of their lives anyway. But for a lot of moms and dads who have children with disabilities, it can be immobilizing. I’m one of those parents. I have two kids with Down [...]

This Is What Self-Care Looks Like for Parents of Kids With Disabilities

If you parent kids with disabilities, chances are you understand how important self-care is. And if you are anything like me, self-care is often a dream easier said than done. As parents, most of us tend to put our children and family first, leaving little time and effort to invest in us. Yet, if we [...]

5 Resolutions Moms of Kids With Disabilities Should Make

Everyone is talking about resolutions, but it can be hard to think about resolutions when your child is facing extra challenges. As the waves of life come and go, there are a few things I need to make a priority to keep it together — things that important for all parents, but I believe they [...]