When the Peanut was born, people would tell me all number of platitudes. The most common from nurses and hospital staff was that the Peanut “is not her diagnosis”. Internally, I scoffed. I was faced with another piece of bad news each day leading to an overwhelming list of medical issues. This statement did nothing for me. It didn’t help me or the Peanut and it felt like it came from a place I would never reach.
But now, 15 weeks later, I’m starting to get it.
In a recent update from the Peanut’s paediatrician she outlined where her medical situation was sitting. Her paediatrician is a lovely caring woman, but tone in medical summaries is never warm. The reports are clinical and medical and lack any of the heart that being around the Peanut brings.
And then I got to this phrase:
“While development is progressing, the gap between the Peanut and normal is widening.”
In my head I saw the Peanut in her hospital bassinet alone at night, as she would have been each night, with wires coming off her. The words are like the hospital itself. They isolate me from her, from the people who love her. They make her something other than “normal”. They turn her beautiful smile into a disappointment and a sign of late development, rather than something to be celebrated.
The words put distance between us, and I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of hearing her diagnosis and letting it colour how I feel about her. Sick of hearing diagnosis and seeing her differently. I’m sick of hearing only the negatives. The Peanut is my baby and she is not her diagnosis. She is a person. With a beautiful smile.
If I could talk to myself 15 weeks ago, I’m fairly certain I would have about as much luck convincing myself that “the Peanut is not her diagnosis” as the nurses did, but I’m not going to feel bad about where I’ve come from. I’ll just feel good that in the place I’ve ended up, the platitude now makes sense.