Eight years ago, when my three children were still very young, we traveled to Omaha for an Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Foundation conference. Both I and my oldest daughter have OI, a genetic collagen disorder that causes brittle bones, short stature, and other symptoms. As we were checking in at the conference hotel, I glanced up and saw a young woman. She was less than five feet tall, with a square, thick torso over thin legs, and wavy shoulder-length brown hair. She pushed a baby stroller that came up too high on her, to her chest, making her look even smaller. I stared for just a moment, not long enough for her to notice, taking her in. I had never seen another mother who looked just like me. As I looked at her, all the strain I didn’t even know I was carrying around—all the self-consciousness of being a tiny, crooked, fragile mom in a world of tall, straight, strong moms—fell away. Here was a mom who looked just like me. And she was beautiful, capable, and strong. Which meant I must be beautiful, capable, and strong too—as strong as those moms who effortlessly dangle an infant seat on one arm while balancing a toddler on the opposite hip. For me, lifting and carrying and bending over to bathe my children were acts of will and courage as much as they were acts of strength.
But my pregnancy with Ben wore me out physically in a way my first two pregnancies did not.
Continue reading in my guest post for Amy Julia Becker’s “Thin Places” blog at Christianity Today. This post is part of her “Perfectly Human” series of essays by people living with disabilities, and is adapted from my book.