"World's Smallest Mother Risks Life for More Babies" blared the headline. Stacey Herald, whose 2-foot 4-inch stature qualifies her for the "smallest mom" superlative, recently gave birth to her third child. Despite significant health risks associated with pregnancy, Stacey and her husband, Wil, are open to having more kids. This openness, along with the couple's enthusiasm for parenthood and insistence that they have faith in God's ability to care for their family, have made Stacey and Wil favorite subjects of tabloid-style media ever since their third baby was born last November.
Stacey's short stature is due to osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease. I have the same condition, although in a less severe form (at 4-feet 8-inches tall, I am a giant by OI standards). OI complications include frequent broken bones, pain, mobility limitations, and respiratory problems due to spinal and rib-cage deformities. Like Stacey, I have three biological children, two girls and a boy. Like Stacey, I had to contemplate the risks of childbearing, although her more severe form of OI potentially brings more serious complications. Like Stacey's children, my children each had a 50 percent chance of inheriting OI. One of my children did; two of hers did. Like Stacey, I made my decisions about motherhood in the context of my Christian faith.
Our similarities accounted for my growing outrage as I clicked through dozens of articles written about Stacey and her family, many of them on sites devoted to "odd" and "weird" news. Most, including the ABC News article, used hyperbolic, inaccurate language. Stacey doesn't just have OI; she "suffers" from it. She doesn't just use a wheelchair; she is "confined" to one. A doctor asserts ...1
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