Williams Syndrome Wednesday – As Long As She’s Healthy

I overheard someone talking to a pregnant woman the other day and realized something. I have a little confession to make. I’m carrying around a little guilt. And it’s probably nothing, but it’s weighing on my mind.

I heard the expectant woman say “the phrase.” I’m willing to bet every pregnant person has said it at some time or another. I said it.  I said “We just want a healthy baby.” And, “I don’t care what we get, as long as it’s healthy”.

We all say it – but we don’t really think things will turn out any other way. Do we?

“Hello Guilt? It’s me, Mommy. I take it back. I don’t just want a healthy baby. I want my baby.  And she may not be perfectly, ‘healthy’ but I really do want her anyway. Give me my WILLIAMS SYNDROME baby.”

Yep. We don’t really spend much time thinking about what will happen when baby isn’t the kind of healthy we assumed we’d get. And maybe we should.

I know, nobody wants to scare the fragile pregnant people. But I hazard a guess that if we spent a little more time talking about some of the possibilities that lay on the outskirts of healthy, it would take the tiniest bit of the sting out when it happens.

Maybe the world would be a little less shocked when you mention your child has special needs they’ve never heard of. Maybe people’s faces wouldn’t betray the moment when they think “I’m so glad that’s not my child”. Maybe they’d put away the pity face.

When they see the little pink line, nobody ‘wants’ a non-typical kid. They don’t daydream about a future filled with therapy and feeding struggles, and days at SICK KIDS and worry. No one day dreams about the worry. I get that. I also know that people have them – those non-typical kids. All the time. I have one. And you know what? I love her just the same.

I have learned that I was wrong and I’m sorry. I wish, when asked if I’d like a boy or a girl I’d said “It doesn’t matter” and left it at that. Because I have learned that a lot of things that I thought mattered, just don’t matter at all.

Sure, a whole bunch of things I never daydreamed about now consume the better part of my days. But that warm snuggly feeling I pictured, cuddled up close in the middle of the night? Turns out, I still got that part exactly right.


  1. Mandy Moore

    October 9, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Lovely post. I’m so enjoying reading this blog. This post reminds me of a presentation I saw from a camp counsellor at Camp Oochigeas (for kids with cancer) who read a note some parents had sent to their kid at camp that said something like, “if we could choose from all the kids in the world, we would always choose you.” The counsellor teared up, someone asked what was in the note, and she said, “the meaning of life.”

    • Melanie

      October 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

      So glad you are enjoying reading Mandy! I’m really enjoying writing it. What a lovely letter and sentiment. I’m always amazed that I imagined parenting was all about teaching a child to be a good person. Turns out, they spend just as much time teaching me.

  2. Astrid

    October 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Here via Love that Max. The thing is, you don’t realize some t higns don’t matter as much until life throws challenges at you. That isn’t a reason to start wishing for more challenges. I mean it to say, when you said these words, you didn’t ralize you’d appreciate your baby in spite of her disabilities, and maybe now you even love your baby with her disabilities and don’t even think “in spite of” everytime you appreciate your child. Sometiems it’s good that we don’t know all our life’s challenges ahead fo time.

    • Melanie

      October 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

      It is true. It is better that we don’t know our life’s challenges ahead of time, but I think it’s good to know that there are challenges out there – that there is the potential for challenge. And I agree, that loves comes without a hint of ‘in spite of’. The love just is.


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