To think that the most annoying pregnancy phrase is ....

(58 Posts)

"As long as it is healthy" .....

Do people every stop for a second it think that, you know, maybe it is not?

That perhaps the parent already know from scans, or family history, that it is not or chances are that it is not.

Both my kids were born with conditions, thankfully not life threateningly serious, but life alteringly serious, and requiring surgery, in one case lifelong surgery.

Given the first had this condition, there were good odds the second would have too.

Do people just say this for the sake of something to say?

In my experience most children are not born entirely healthy. The health issue may be relatively mild, but in my family and friendship group we have had babies with club feet, heart conditions, mild asthma, a spina bifida scare, exczema, leg issues, joint issues and everything in between.

Just like adults, all these babies are perfectly normal, well rounded wee humans who happen to not have been born "perfect".

I'm not pregnant BTW, just read the phrase on another thread and it set my teeth in edge again

riskit4abiskit Sun 25-Aug-13 08:48:05

I thought it was something the pregnant one said rather than the other way around. As in when asked whether you would prefer a boy or girl? I haven't heard it in any other context.

Sorry your family have so many health conditions buy im sure its one of those unthinking well meaning comments people do.

pianodoodle Sun 25-Aug-13 08:49:16

I get how that would be annoying.

I think people do understandably hope for a healthy baby though so it isn't the worst phrase I've ever heard.

I am sure it is entirely well meaning biskit, you are right, and I am probably just and old moan.

But people tend to say, "do you know what your are having", then follow it up with "doesn't matter, as long as it is healthy".

And I feel so sad for the babies who are not entirely healthy, as if they are devalued from the moment they are born.

Am I over-thinking this?

BlackholesAndRevelations Sun 25-Aug-13 08:55:53

Yes you are overthinking it in my opinion. Of course people want a healthy baby. Who wouldn't? They aren't devaluing a baby who may be born with conditions like you mention; they're simply saying that they want their child to have the best chances in life.

Having had two miscarriages and family news of medical terminations etc, all I wanted for this baby was for it to be healthy. That doesn't mean I'd love it any less if it's born with any kind of health problem.

meganorks Sun 25-Aug-13 08:56:03

YABU - this is just a phrase people say in response to whether they want a boy or girl. It doesn't mean a baby with health issues would be any less loved by its parents. But surely any new parent would be hoping for a healthy baby.

You are turning this round to your own situation and somehow deciding that this phrase is an insult to your own children. It isn't.

I accept entirely I might be overthinking it grin.

I do try to avoid saying it at all costs, though.

Of course we all want our babies to be healthy, it is the "as long as" part that seems to hint the alternative is not worthy.

However, I accept IABU and picky!

maddening Sun 25-Aug-13 09:04:06

I always got it when asked "what are you hoping for" as in boy/girl - and we all hope that he or she is healthy.

The thing is it isn't always the case as so much can go wrong but it doesn't mean the sentiment of hoping that the baby is healthy and survives is wrong.

gnittinggnome Sun 25-Aug-13 09:15:47

Am currently pregnant, and we genuinely don't care if we have a boy, or a girl. I would prefer a definite one or the other, as babies born in between tend to have added complications in their lives, but it seems pernickity to point this out. If I'm asked, I will say that I don't care what gender it is, if it's healthy I will be happy, and whilst this is mostly because it's a fairly obvious and banal thing to say, to be honest I wouldn't be at all happy to discover something terrible was wrong with him/her. I wouldn't love the child any less, or not be prepared to deal with whatever came along, but I wouldn't be over the moon facing a lifetime of doctors, hospitals and pain.

Sorry. YABU.

gnittinggnome Sun 25-Aug-13 09:17:11

I wouldn't be over the moon for my baby to be facing a lifetime of doctors, hospitals and pain.

Jan49 Sun 25-Aug-13 09:36:00

OP, I feel the same as you. My ds is on the autistic spectrum and when people say they don't mind which sex it is "as long as it's healthy", it feels like they're saying they wouldn't want a child like mine. I know what they mean but it also hurts. And of course just because a child has some health problems, it doesn't mean they'll be facing "a lifetime of doctors, hospitals and pain". hmm

GrumpyRedhead Sun 25-Aug-13 09:55:07

Surely there's a difference between 'healthy' and 'perfect'? My DC was born with talipes which required months of exercises to straighten his feet, but I still would have considered him healthy

gnittinggnome Sun 25-Aug-13 10:00:17

jan I'm not talking about "some health problems" and definitely not ASD - my friend has twins, one with Autism and one with Asperger's and she wouldn't change them for a second and I completely understand her position. But as a first-time pregnant woman your mind is prey to all kinds of worries and horrors, and as a little mantra to stop you worrying about the worst 1% of problems that babies experience, "I will be happy if the baby is healthy" is helpful - it recognises that a lot of babies are not born perfectly healthy, and by extension a lot of what is "wrong" with them is absolutely doable in terms of treating it/living with it and is not in fact going to be awful. Perhaps semantically it would be better to say "I will be very happy if the baby is healthy". But really it's a throwaway comment to a boring question.

The "so long as it's healthy..." has different implications, and if you were determined you could consider it to mean that if the baby weren't healthy it would be rejected, but that isn't what I said.

I think the saying is used by the pregnant mother in answer to the continuous questions of what sex baby is.

QueenofKelsingra Sun 25-Aug-13 14:24:38

I think you are overthinking. No-one who says that (or most certainly) don't mean that they wouldn't love their child if it was born with some form of condition/complication but surely all mothers hope that their baby is healthy??

I have a very good friend who's eldest is autistic - of course she loves him to death but equally there are days when she wishes, for his sake as much as hers, that life wasn't wasn't quite so hard for him.

a friend of mine has severe scoliosis (sp??) and has had to have several operations and will have to have more - he is very much loved and has a wonderful life but of course his mother wishes that he didn't have to go through the operations.

to be told your baby is healthy is a wonderful thing and of course it makes you happy - surely no-one is 'happy' to be told their child has some form of illness of disability? you don't love them any less but surely you will be sad for them and for the complications they will face?

picnicbasketcase Sun 25-Aug-13 14:27:24

I once heard someone say 'I don't mind if it's a boy or a girl, as long as it's not ginger'. I think that might be worse than the healthy thing.

hettienne Sun 25-Aug-13 14:29:41

I think it's worse when the "healthy baby" is used to shout down women who are angry or upset about poor treatment during pregnancy, labour and birth - "what are you complaining about - you got a healthy baby and that's all that matters".

christinarossetti Sun 25-Aug-13 14:36:54

I totally understand the extreme over sensitivity to words which are actually quite thoughtless but easily trotted out.

Our first baby died from a condition incompatible with life, so I suppose what I thought when people subsequently said that to me was 'healthy enough to bring home'.

About 3% of babies are born with either an actual or suspected health problem, though I can understand that it must seem much more if you have had the experiences OP has.

CubanoHabana Sun 25-Aug-13 14:39:29

I to am pregnant and completely agree with gnitting and pumkin

It can get very wearing getting constantly asked whether you want a girl or a boy - and I find it tends to be that it is the person responding to the question who says this, rather than questioner.

Conversely to your argument, I suppose if you give a definite gender as an answer, someone could take slight to that, ie if you said girl and they only have a boy, they might think that you are saying that their boy is not 'worthy' (to use *cormoran's Phrase)...

YABU

MammaTJ Sun 25-Aug-13 14:51:53

When I had DD2, we came very close to losing her.

Then, when I was pregnant with DS, I really meant, as long as he is healthy. I did not want to go through that again. Luckily it was me that came pretty close to dying that time around, much less traumatic for me, as I barely knew anything about it. grin

littleducks Sun 25-Aug-13 16:18:08

I feel the same as you OP, dh doesn't and says the as long as its healthy thing quite a lot. My MIL says as long as you are both healthy, which somehow sounds better as in a good labour with no long term problems.

I would be sad if my baby was born with a health problem, especially something inherited or due to something I had done (I didn't have folic acid it is a fear at the back of my mind). But that wouldn't mean this baby would mean less to me than my born perfectly fine older children.

elliejjtiny Sun 25-Aug-13 16:50:44

YANBU. DS2 has hypermobility syndrome/EDS and DS4 has a cleft lip and palate. When I was pregnant with DS3 and DS4 I used to say "as long as its happy" rather than healthy. I felt that wanting a healthy baby was somehow disrespectful to ds2 and saying that I didn't want another baby like him.

NotYoMomma Sun 25-Aug-13 18:06:44

speaking as a pregnant person...

I fear people will be too terrified to speak to me ever again for fear of offense :/

SecondStarToTheRight Sun 25-Aug-13 18:42:44

When pg with DS2 people asked whether I wanted a boy or a girl. I got so fed up with it I used to say that I really wanted a puppy.

Got a few hmm looks but it stopped them asking and got the point across that I just wanted a baby.

Having had a late miscarriage as well in the past, I just wanted a baby, even seriously ill, so really really didn't care.

The "as long as it is healthy" is because there isn't really an acceptable way of saying " I just want my baby".

At my 20w scan with DC1 we were told there was a small chance he had a condition incompatible with life (fortunately for us, he was fine). My first thought was "at least he's a boy". My mental state was fragile and I wasn't rational, so that's where it led me.

In scans after mc (now 5th pg, 2mc) my first thought has always been "so long as it's alive" and when I'm in a bolshy mood that's the answer I give to nosey questioners. When I'm feeling more generous I say we are expecting a DS3 "although DS1 and DS2 are so different from one another the only thing the sex tells us is which half of the name shortlist to look at" <big grin>.

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