18 hours ago
Thursday, July 16, 2015
She wants to make sure the baby is healthy
"Mommy, did you know when Max was in your belly that something was wrong?" Sabrina asked the other morning as we talked about how big the baby was getting (he's cantaloupe or rutabaga size, depending on the source). My heart twinged.
I've been waiting for that question; I suspected it's been on her mind. Particularly because she regularly asks if the baby is healthy, her little brow knit with concern. If I happen to mention within her earshot that my stomach is bothering me (thanks, indigestion), she'll ask if the baby is healthy (and she uses that word). When she knows I have a doctor appointment, she asks if the baby is healthy. If someone accidentally bumps into my belly, she asks if the baby is healthy.
I thought she was asking because of Max and sure enough, that's what it was. I haven't wanted to outright ask her if that was a concern because, just in case, I didn't want to plant the idea in her head. Although I've explained to her that something happened to Max at birth that caused the cerebral palsy, we hadn't ever discussed my pregnancy with him. It was normal, uneventful and happy, and I told her that.
"Honey, I had a great pregnancy with Max and a great one with you!" I said. I explained that I was going to special doctors who were going to make sure this baby is totally OK when he's born. We checked BabyCenter to see what the little guy is up to this week: He's beginning to get some baby fat, growing more hair, and generally starting to look more like a newborn. She was excited to read that.
Sabrina loves Max so deeply, and clearly sees the abilities he has. She would not want any other brother. Yet she also knows the challenges he faces and the help he needs, and she does not want the baby to contend with the same—what she's getting at when asks, "Is the baby healthy?" She doesn't mean physical health.
That twinge I felt in my heart when she asked if I knew something was up during my Max pregnancy was for him, too. I think Sabrina's concern is totally normal and yet, I can't but help feel badly when she worries about having another child with disabilities. The reality is, Max is one awesome child.
Maybe there's some guilt mixed in there, too. Because back when I was pregnant with Max, I wouldn't have wanted him to have disabilities, either. Only now, I honestly can't imagine him being any other kid.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:38 AM