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My birth did not go to plan. She was born at term and looked perfect.
Except for one thing. Deep inside her brain, May had suffered a major brain injury. It could have happened during the pregnancy. It could have happened during the birth.
Yes, there were some issues -- a long labor, my waters broke early, there was a Strep-B infection in my waters -- but none of those issues were necessarily the cause of her injury. There was no dramatic moment when a doctor ignored the signs or forced me to do something that I knew wasn't right.
Moving forward and accepting a future I didn't anticipate was tough. But, it was made all the worse by well-meaning people who, despite not being doctors themselves or privy to my medical charts, thought they knew what had happened and weren't shy about telling me.
They told me how, during my pregnancy, I should not have eaten that, or drank that, or exercised so much. Or, I didn't eat what I should, or drink what I should, or I exercised too little. I should not have been induced -- or, I should have been induced earlier. Or, or, or...
Why did people feel compelled to tell me these things? Did I not spend every night for a year, wide awake for hours, searching for why?
No one was a bigger expert on "what if" and guilt than me.
It wasn't for my benefit that people stopped me in the street to explain how if I just fed May certain foods, or carried her in a sling, or used a pacifier or didn't use a pacifier -- she would improve.
This running commentary did not come from a place of love. It came from a place of fear.
Because, when something this awful happens to someone, there has to be a reason. And, as soon as that reason can be determined, it can be avoided. Rather than concern, there is the whiff of superiority in someone so obviously trying to avoid our fate.
I can't tell you how many people questioned me about the birth in the first few years of her life. Even now people will still stop me and ask, "What went wrong with her?"
Here is the truth: it just happened. There is no reason and that must be scary.
But, before my answer sends shivers down your spine, think as well to the question no one ever asks me: How come you are so happy?
Unlike her birth, I have hardcore evidence that we are happy. Try these on for size:
In addition to these, I can point to a million reasons why we are happy, many unexpected -- some even a complete mystery (because how do you explain a brain-damaged child's obsession with Nick Cave's 'Murder Ballads'?)
So, how come we are so happy? For once, I'd like to be asked that.
Read Stacie's blog Mama Lewis and the Amazing Adventures of the Half-Brained Baby. Follow her on Twitter @Stacie_writes | Facebook Mama Lewis
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.