born different

‘It was pizza day in school. ‘Your face looks like a pepperoni.’ My friend got up and slapped the guy.’: Woman born with port wine stain learns to embrace her beauty, ‘I needed to be myself’

“I was born with a big Port Wine Stain, covering half of my face. They would only laser a small part of my birthmark at a time because it was so painful. My mom recalls ‘the smell of burned skin getting in her nose.’ As I got older, I felt people staring more. Adults would stop in the middle of the sidewalk. ‘Wow.’ Kids would point. ‘Look at that.’ Imagine a little girl asking a grown woman, ‘Can I help you?’ That was me growing up.”

‘He loved me for who I am, I want everyone to see exactly who I am! I will never be ashamed again.’: Woman with prosthetic leg learns to love herself after tragic loss of husband, ‘If you live with a disability, a malformation, a birthmark–DON’T feel like you need to hide it!’

“When I was about 23, I got my robot leg. I did wear dresses but I didn’t like to wear anything too tight on my butt because you can see the edge of the prosthetic. I hated it. I was so ashamed of showing that part of my body. The shamefulness slowly disappeared, this summer when I lost my husband in a motorcycle accident.”

‘Something isn’t right.’ I looked into my husband’s eyes. As I slowly shifted our son’s head, I saw an enlarged cheek.’: Mom ‘never knew’ about newborn’s lymphatic malformation until birth, ‘We were numb’

“Immediately our midwife called in the doctor. Within 3 minutes of meeting our precious Oliver, he was taken off my chest and over to the incubator. I didn’t know how to feel. My midwife was still trying to get me to stop bleeding as I struggled to see my baby. There was no time to process, research or pray. Here he was, our firstborn. We had no idea how to be parents, but then to throw in a special needs child, we were numb.”

‘How dare she take away my unique quality?’ I was the ‘girl with one arm.’ I was MORE popular.’: Young woman with missing arm always embraced her difference, ‘My sparkle is who I am on the inside’

“I was scared boys wouldn’t want to date me because of my arm, and I was scared of going in public because I did not want strangers to ask questions. I remember one time a kid got angry with me and said, ‘You one-armed freak!’ It hurt. People would say, ‘You are so brave! You are so inspiring!’ It was annoying! I wasn’t doing anything different than the other children.”

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