No matter how hard they try, some people do not have conventionally healthy children and that's perfectly alright.
"Healthy baby," without a doubt, is one of the most commonly heard phrases during pregnancy. When asked about the baby's gender pregnant women always respond with; "I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, I just want a healthy baby." We hear it from doctors, other parents, family members and so on. There's nothing wrong with wishing for a healthy child, after all, everyone does. However, recently, KC Davis, a licensed professional therapist and a TikTok user—who goes by the name @domesticblisters on TikTok—opened our eyes to this phrase affecting every parent differently by showing us different perspectives in a video.
"Listen, honey, I know it wasn’t the delivery you hoped for. But the most important thing is a healthy baby," she says in the role play. Two other mothers are shown expressing dismay with overlay texts showing someone who "just had a traumatic birth" and another "who just gave birth to a disabled baby."
"This phrase runs rampant in pregnancy spaces and it's BS," Davis captions her video. "A healthy baby is not the only thing that matters. Your experience matters. Your trauma matters. Your consent matters. All babies matter. Sick babies matter. Disabled babies matter. Stillborn babies matter." It is important to note that birth trauma, stillbirths, pregnancy losses, pregnancy complications and postpartum trauma do not exist in isolation. Furthermore, fetal development can vary greatly from person to person.
Many people with the experience of giving birth, moms, nurses and doctors related with the video and shared how important this was to discuss. "So very true. My first baby was stillborn at 38 weeks," shared @lifewithgriefiety. "As a postpartum nurse, I address traumatic births a lot. I tell them that it’s ok to grieve the experience they didn’t get. I never use this phrase," commented @originalmomster.
"This made me sob. I have a medically complex son and this brought back all of the emotions-17 years later," wrote @lesharris11. "I didn’t have a difficult birth. It a very difficult pregnancy and what made it harder was being treated like a pregnancy not a person," added @megknitficent.
This video reminds the viewer that experiences outside of our own are important. It also demonstrates how a seemingly harmless response that has been repeated among and to pregnant women from the very start may not be entirely harmless after all. Even if it's said with good intentions, which it usually is, emphasizing the importance of a "healthy baby" has an impact on the people who hear it.
Particularly if they are pregnant or new parents. Improving Birth shares, often "healthy" simply denotes the mother and baby surviving the birth. That is far from adequate. The truth is that a higher standard can and should exist in this day and age and place: a healthy baby, a healthy mom, and a positive, respectful, family-centered birth experience for everyone. We sometimes forget that "surviving" birth isn't just a day out of your life for moms.