“I’m struggling to see what I did wrong here…”
A mum-to-be sparked a debate online after inadvertently upsetting a friend of hers for saying she “just wanted a healthy baby”.
The woman, who is 15 weeks pregnant, explained that she was chatting with friends at a party when someone asked her if she had a preference for a boy or girl.
She told them that she “didn’t mind as long as it was healthy”, and the conversation carried on.
The next morning, she said that she had woken up to a “massive long email” from the husband of one of her friends.
She continued on Mumsnet:
“Woke up this morning to a massive long email from one of the friends husbands, the jist of it saying I’m hugely insensitive and have really upset my friend who has been in tears all night, as by saying that I only want a healthy baby invalidates their daughters (who had cerebral palsy) life, that I owe them a ‘big big apology’ and that they don’t think they can be friends with someone with my attitude towards disability.
“I’m struggling to see what I did wrong here. Surely everyone wishes for a healthy baby?
“I don’t know whether to reply or just leave it as 1) I don’t think I have to explain myself and 2)if such a casual comment, one I’m sure everyone has possibly thought, can upset her then surely anything else I have to say could go the same way.
“Is there something I’m missing? Was I in the wrong?”
The opinion was pretty divided on Mumsnet, but many felt that she should definitely apologise.
One mum said:
“It was insensitive to say healthy given the context of your friend’s daughter. You could have just said you didn’t mind or wanted it to be a surprise.”
“It was a stupid thing to say to her and you should definitely apologise.
“Yes its a standard answer but you know their daughter is disabled and should have thought before you spoke.”
Others felt that the original poster’s response was totally normal – and didn’t warrant an apology at all.
Someone else said:
“I get what they mean, but what a stretch. If I was close to them and loved them I would apologise but I sort of see it as pandering.”
A different mum wrote:
“I have a child with Cerebral Palsy & when asked during my second pregnancy, what do you want, I replied ‘a healthy baby’.
“It’s a fairly standard reply to that question and in no way implies that I don’t love or value my first child or any other disabled child/adult.
“Your friend was being very over sensitive, possibly because it’s still early days for her with regard to having a disabled child?
“Parents of disabled children need to grow a thick skin in my experience, although this does take time and in the early years it’s easy to misconstrue what people are saying.
“Please don’t beat yourself up about this and if you do reply to the email, be assertive in a gentle manner. I wish you a healthy, happy baby!”