Last night, I made a quick trip to the store by myself. The cashier scanned the baby oatmeal and asked, “How old is your baby?” I told her that she just turned two. The cashier said she had a two year old and there is no way her two year old would eat baby oatmeal. I explained my baby was born at twenty six weeks and it complicates things. The cashier’s immediate response was to pose the question, “But she’s healthy now, right?”
I have no idea how to answer the question. Do I be polite and give her the answer she wants to hear? Or, do I use the moment to be truthful?
I want people to know that, despite everything, things are OK, her life has quality, and we are happy. On the other hand, there are still numerous specialists, therapists, and concerns involved in our daily life. She is not what many would consider “healthy”.
I want others to know that babies like Charlie don’t go home from the NICU and become immediately healthy. It’s a long, tough road and the end isn’t in sight for us.
At the very least, I don’t want to perpetuate the myth that all preemies catch up by two.
I suppose I could have ended the conversation by saying, “Yes, she’s healthy now” and left it at that. Instead, I answered with, “She’s getting there. She needs time and therapy. But, we are well.”
How do other parents of preemies answer this question?