At least. It means "if nothing else".
This phrase is used a lot. It is used to try and lift spirits. To try and get someone to look on the bright side of things. To compensate for things lost.
For many women, they are so over hearing at least. "At least you know you can get pregnant", "At least you have your baby" , "At least you are both healthy" . While these statements may be true, it suppresses deeper things that are tugging under the surface.
Our society has gotten hung up on the belief that as long as the baby is healthy, that is all that matters and we should be happy about that. There are reasons to be thankful for a healthy baby but I think there is room for healthy moms and families to complete that equation.
Healthy, non traumatized, heard and supported mothers will have healthy babies. Families that are listened to, cared for and nurtured will have healthy babies.
A healthy baby will not flourish if the mom is still in shock from how her birth went. She may not be able to respond to her baby's needs to the fullest if her mental health is shaking. Partners can experience trauma from what they see in the delivery room; already feeling helpless enough but then being told their input doesn't matter. Or from just adjusting to caring for a new mom and a new baby. There is so much going on below the surface that the phrase "at least" fails to address and it is suffocating.
Our stories and experiences are important. Whether good or bad, they shape how we respond and react to things. Saying "at least..." devalues a person's feeling and emotion to what they experienced. We should instead be asking questions and making sure that they, the recipients, are all right. You don't need to ask a mom who's birth plan went awry the perfect question or say the most poetic thing to the woman who's lost another pregnancy. You just need to start the conversation and then listen. Sometimes there will be silence. But it's in those moments that healing and reflection can take place in just knowing someone recognizes there's more than just "at least".