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“I don’t care what I have as long as it’s healthy.” (Shannon)

March 16, 2012

Previous posts:
Missing my baby boy and expecting my second.
5 Weeks PP Second Baby
2.5 Months Postpartum, Second Cesarean in 2.5 Years
6 Months PP Update
15 Months PP Update
I Need Some Help

Age: 25
Pregnancies & Births: 2 pregnancies and 2 cesareans
How far pp: Connor would be 5.5 and Liam is 2.10

You hear it all the time. It is the most popular pregnancy conversation: “Do you want a boy or a girl?”, “I don’t care what I have as long as it’s healthy.”. For some reason this actually bothers me. Do I understand why we as mothers want our children to be healthy? Of course I do! However, children with challenges; whether it be a cleft palate, a heart condition, down syndrome, Marshall Smith syndrome, or cystic fibrosis; are the most perfect children. They are happy, strong, amazing little bundles of joy. It is an honor to bring these miracles into the world. Of course all babies are miracles, but these children are even more so. It is a miracle in itself that they survived pregnancy and birth! Connor may not have been healthy, but he was most certainly perfect! This is what I used to say when I was pregnant with Connor’s brother, Liam…”I don’t care what I have, as long as it’s happy.”. Isn’t this what really matters in life? We all strive for happiness. This is why we find love, get married, have children, pick jobs that we love, want to make good money…it is all to be happy. Most special needs children do not even need to try for this. Look around, now many depressed down syndrome children do you know? They are happy, they are loved, and they are miracles. So, I ask you to do this…the next time someone asks you what you want, tell them, “I don’t care, as long as it’s happy!”…this will make them look at the growing inside of them in a whole different light :)

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20 Responses to ““I don’t care what I have as long as it’s healthy.” (Shannon)”

  1. Brandi Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 9:29 am

    That is such a good point! Never looked at it that way before! You will have opened a lot of people’s minds with this post :)

  2. Kerry Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I could not agree more! Bravo.

  3. Astrid Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    That’s a sweet sentiment, I didn’t realize “I hope it is healthy” would ever offend someone. I’m going to stick with my standard reply of “I really hope it’s a kitten. Crossing my fingers for a tabby.”

    As a side note- why would you think all children with Down Syndrome are happy? They are humans with a range of emotions and that includes depression. NDSC has some good info on that if you’re curious.

  4. Karla Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Beautiful words…as a mother of TWO children with special needs I completely understand where you are coming from and what you mean. That’s all I want for my children…for them to be happy despite their limitation (but dont we all have them in one way or another?). Looking from your pictures, both your kids are and were happy. God bless you.

  5. shannon Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Astrid

    I said children, not adults! Most children do not even know what depression is (under the age of 10), and of they do, something is very wrong. I took this straight from NDSC (it is all about the adult with DS):

    “In Down syndrome, as the person ages, mental function and social support may decrease creating the opportunity for depression to occur. Adults with Down syndrome may experience isolation, changes in residences, and the lacking of social opportunities and adaptive skills. All of these factors can lead to decreased self esteem, an inability to care for themselves, and depression. Often it is the case that adults with Down syndrome lack the opportunities to make their own decisions in areas where that are capable (e.g., social activities, hair style, clothing choice, etc.)”

  6. shannon Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I like your…”I really hope it’s a kitten” :)

    I also wanted to point out that my post is about people that say “I don’t care as long as it’s healthy”. I did not say anything about people that say “I hope it is healthy”. They are very different! The 1st (“I don’t care as long as it’s healthy”) is like saying “if it’s not healthy I do care/don’t want it…”.

  7. Stephanie Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Shannon, I think that you have a great approach and positive attitude. We never know what could happen during pregnancy and seeing the positive side to any bad situation is great. Not to say health is not important, cause it certainly is but in the end we also hope for happiness. Overall, I think you’re a really strong person and your babies I’m sure are so proud of you.

    To Astrid, I honestly cannot tell if you’re joking or not, but either way I think what Shannon was trying to say is that whether you bring in a healthly baby or not into the world, which would be out of her control, she just hopes they’re happy.

  8. Astrid Says:
    March 16th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Stephanie- I was serious about not previously considering that an offhand remark about not caring “as long as it is healthy” would be a punch in the gut to someone who has a special needs child. It’s something I will keep in mind from now on.

    But the kitten thing was very obviously a joke because no one actually hopes for a tabby. Everyone wants a calico.

  9. mrspetunia Says:
    March 17th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Well said, Shannon. I will keep your words of wisdom in mind.

  10. Catherine Says:
    March 18th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    As long as it’s happy. Thats so true. Thank you for your enlightening post xx

  11. Rebecca Says:
    March 19th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I just want to say your first baby is absoutly BEAUTIFUL!!! I want to just kiss that face. I for some reason love just love special need children. My sister had a baby with water on the brain. She could not do a thing but be fed by a tube. Let me tell you i felt so close to that little girl becuase they have no clue. She unfortunatly passed on but she brought so much happiness into our lives.. Stay strong and GOD gave you that baby for a reason.!!!! you sound like a great inspiring women. God bless your family

  12. shannon Says:
    March 20th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Rebecca…sorry to hear about you niece, she does sound beautiful! My son passed away as well.

  13. Meredith Says:
    March 21st, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Well said, Shannon. I recently miscarried and the few people who knew tried to comfort me with these consolations: “It’s nature’s way.” Or, “There was probably something wrong with that baby.” To which I answer, Well, that was my baby! I would have taken that baby with problems even though it’s a conflicted feeling not wanting that child to suffer. I would have loved that child no less. I guess people naturally equate health with less suffering. And really, who wants children to suffer? Don’t we all suffer in some way, shape, or form, in this life though?
    I’m so sorry about the loss of your beautiful Connor. You must miss him tremendously.

  14. Kathy K. Says:
    March 22nd, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a son who is 13 and has CP and Epilepsy. My son is a beautiful, happy boy who brings light and joy to the world around him, but so often when people see him or meet him they do not see the joy and the possibility that lies within him. All they see is a child in a wheelchair who is not able to speak and all they are capable of feeling is pity. So while it is true that my son has a physical disability, I look at them and feel bad for them because they have an emotional disability and it limits them far more than any actual syndrome or disorder, injury or disability actually would.

    Connor must have been such a blessing during the time that you had him here on Earth and I can not begin to imagine how much you must miss him. I am so glad that you had the time that you did together.

  15. Melissa Says:
    March 27th, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    My 3 year old son has some delays and it is hard sometimes when you see other kids his age doing things he wants to do but struggles to.. I’m happy he is healthy medically speaking and I I’m grateful that he is who he is and would never want him any other way! Some ppl even close friends hurt my feeling sometimes accidentally saying things not realizing how much work it is having a special neeeds child. We work with him constantly and I get frustrated at times when I get defeated but if it takes 1000 times for 1 result it’s worth it!

  16. shannon Says:
    March 29th, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Meredith: So many people just do not know what to say, so they say stupid things. After Connor passed, someone actually said to me “at least he was only 19 months old, so you didn’t get too attached.”…I did not even know how to react to that. You will always be a Mommy to the baby you lost.

    Kathy: You are welcome! I completely agree with you. I remember that I would take Connor for walks, and if an older person walked by, they would look into his stroller all excited to see a baby, then they would just give him a strange look and walk away. I was not his fault or my fault that he was sick. He was a sick child, and he was a beautiful child! He may not have looked “perfect” to them, but he was/is very perfect to me :) Oh, and your son sounds fantastic. I have a soft spot for special needs children. I am going to school to be a pediatric nurse!

    Melissa: I know what you mean, it is very hard having a child with delays, even when they are healthy in every other way. Connor’s brother Liam is almost 3 and also has delays. He has been in speech therapy for over a year and still has very few 2 word sentences. I know that he will catch up eventually! Until then, he is a happy little boy with some challenges! Good luck.

  17. Jill Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Shannon, I’ve been reading your posts since I started coming to this site over 2 years ago after I had my daughter. Your story has always touched me & your positive attitude & kind words on everyone’s posts. Recently in my pregnancy my water broke at 22 weeks 3 days, they gave me the option to try & keep the pregnancy for 2 more weeks then they would try to help the baby but warned me he would have profound disabilities as a result of being without fluid for those 2 weeks, my other option was to terminate (which I would not do) As I laid in the hospital room struggling to make a decision you & your son Connor came into my mind (randomly and kind of odd because I don’t actually know you) and I thought of how you always speak of him with such love, and despite his health issues you still had such a joyful experience with him. That gave me the courage to try and fight for my baby even if he would have disabilities or not be healthy. Unfortunately, it did not work out that way, I went into labor that night and delievered my son who passed away shortly after birth. But I just wanted to let you know that your story & your bond with your son definately inspired me and I TRULY want to thank you for being brave enough to share your story with others! <3

  18. colleen Says:
    April 21st, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    This is a great post!
    I have cystic fibrosis and am 31.
    It always did bother me too when I hear people say that…as well as something to the extent of ‘well as long as i have my health’. But what if you don’t? Does this mean you are less of a human? Does this mean that you don’t deserve everything else a healthy person has? Granted, I will not have everything that other people have because of CF but it does not mean that I really don’t deserve it.

  19. Marisa Says:
    April 23rd, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Shannon,

    You have a beautiful heart! I wish there were more people like you in the world! You really see the value of life and motherhood. It’s not about having a “perfect” child that society makes us think we need to strive for. Is to have a beautiful soul in a person and take care of it and love them. I wish you lots of happiness and kudos to you, you should be so proud of yourself, Connor and Liam!

  20. shannon Says:
    April 24th, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Jill : Your story gave me goosebumps. I love that Connor has inspired so many people (even people that didn’t meet him). I am so happy that you made the choice to keep your baby boy. He may not have made it, but he knows that you gave him a fair shot…and when you see him again, he will tell you how much he loves you for that!

    Colleen : I completely agree with you…no matter healthy or not, we are al amazing, and all deserve happiness. One of my closest friends passed away from CF when she was 20 (she had 2 double lung transplants by the age of 19). She was always so strong and happy! She was in college to become a nurse when she passed. My Connor is actually buried next to her. I hope that you continue to do well!

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