“This, my friends, is what spina bifida looks like in my house.

I became a single, expectant mother at age 28. I found out that my baby would be born with a physically disabling birth defect in March of 2015, and a month later I underwent a risky fetal surgery to repair his defect in utero.

So [if] you’ve been told that your baby has spina bifida. Listen, I’ve been in your shoes. And I’ve experienced every. single. feeling. that is going through your mind, your body, and your heart.

I know what it’s like to sit in confusion, as your doctor speaks, but all you can hear is static. I remember exactly what it feels like to be told that something is wrong with your baby. Your sweet, precious baby. The perfect baby you’d dreamed of from the time you were five years old, playing with your favorite doll. The one you imagined you’d hold and caress, and kiss while you painted the nursery, and you completed your registry.

And I remember what it feels like to have your entire world come crashing down in an instant because of two little words: spina bifida.

Oh, and then there are those big words that you’re not even sure you can pronounce, but you might as well have coined them with all the countless hours of Google research you’ve done since you got the news. Myelomeningocele. Arnold Chiari Malformation. Hydrocephalus. Shunt.

You’re in the early stages of your journey, my dear. And yes, it is a journey. Look, I can’t tell you how to feel, or what to choose, or why this happened. But what I can tell you is that in a year from now, you’re going to look back through a different set of eyes at the person you once were.

And while I will admit that it’s not going to be easy, I can tell you that it will get better. It’ll get so much better, in fact, that you might even laugh at the old you. The old you is sad, and scared. The old you has no idea what’s coming. And you might actually find humor in the thoughts running through Old You’s mind. You are carrying a little survivor in your tummy, and that survivor is going to bless you in so many ways that can’t imagine right now.”

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