Right after I found out about the two people living inside of me, I went to the nail salon to get my toes painted. I wasn’t telling anyone yet because of a good friend was getting married and I didn’t want to steal her thunder. I figured, however, that telling the girl who paints my nails that I was having twins was fine. I mean, we don’t know the same people, so figured it was fine.
I expressed my nervousness about the possibility of twins–most specifically how much I did not want to end up with two babies in the hospital for an indeterminate amount of time. I really don’t want to deliver early. And she replied casually, “well, I think that if you do all the things you’re supposed to do, you’ll be fine. ” I usually go to the same place to get my nails done, but it’s not like the nail girl and I have some great friendship. We chat while my nails are being done and that’s it. She doesn’t know about Charlie and I’m sure she said that mostly to ease my mind in the moment.
It may be one of those things that people say, but I think it’s time we stopped. I know better than anyone that doing all the right things is no guarantee. I got to 37 weeks when my child suddenly became incredibly sick. I avoided certain food, I didn’t take baths, didn’t dye my hair, take medication, or drink caffeine. I was a model pregnant lady–and still things went wrong.
And even if Charlie’s story were different, I know all the mom’s out there in Holland who love their children dearly and surely did everything they could for a healthy pregnancy.
So I think those platitudes are doing us all a disservice. The people who pat themselves on the backs when they’re children are terribly typical, and those of us who did all the right things and got a wrong outcome. Maybe it makes us feel better in the moment, but the end result is hurtful. The truth is that life is a crap shoot. You do the best with the information you have at the time, but there’s no way to know what you’re gonna get.
So it may make us feel better, but it’s time to stop. Let’s acknowledge that the future is a scary unknown. We can take precautions, but that’s all they are. Let’s stop slighting the special needs moms by proxy. As I look forward the prospect of a new baby (or babies!) I love to think about some of the things they might be able to do that Charlie cannot. Things like stand, or talk to me. Those are things that I want, but they aren’t things that happen because I’ve been a good person or because I’m abstaining from alcohol and eating right. I wish it were that way. Wish I could protect my children’s future against potential problems, but I can’t. I can try, and I do. I do everything in my control to help my children, but the idea that only bad moms have children with issues needs to be squashed. It’s time to show a little respect for the wonderful moms who are doing all they can in less than ideal situations. They’re good moms too.