Doctors Told Us Not to Have Children Because of Our Dwarfism, but We Decided to Take a Chance
Dwarfism, a rare condition affecting approximately 1 in 15,000 to 1 in 40,000 individuals, frequently leads to discrimination and societal indifference. Yet, an increasing number of people with dwarfism are bravely sharing their life experiences, aiming to challenge and diminish societal prejudice directed toward this condition.
They got married in 2012.
Charli, an Australian woman diagnosed with achondroplasia, the most prevalent form of dwarfism, married Cullen in 2012, who has achromic dysplasia, a condition that affects his physical growth. Their aspiration of starting a family together was present from the start.
However, they were apprehensive about potential challenges during childbirth and the possibility of passing on their physical conditions to their children, which filled them with doubts and fears for several years. Despite these concerns, in 2015, Charli became pregnant for the first time.
Doctors advised against her pregnancy.
Doctors informed the family that there was a 25% chance of having a child with typical height and an equal likelihood of a child not surviving. Charli explained that if they decided to have children, there was a possibility of the children inheriting both forms of dwarfism, which often results in fatal outcomes. However, during the initial stages of the pregnancy, the couple underwent genetic testing to ensure this scenario did not occur. “I’ve copped criticism for choosing to have babies with these odds,” Charli shared.
The news was uplifting. Baby Tilba, similar to Charli’s mother and brother (while her father had an average stature), was also diagnosed with achondroplasia. Medical experts cautioned that she might experience spinal complications; however, overall, she was anticipated to lead a healthy life.
Their story gained attention on the internet.
After Tilba’s birth, the family initiated an Instagram account to combat dwarfism prejudice, chronicling their journey — highlighting both successes and setbacks. “I remember when Tilba was born, all I wanted was to get through those newborn weeks,” Charli admitted.
Although encountering some online negativity, the couple persists in sharing daily snapshots of their joyful moments, affirming their resolute decision not to let their dwarfism impede their lives. Whether capturing beach outings, leisurely sunny lunches, exercise routines, walks, or updates on Tilba’s developmental progress, these images portray them as an ordinary family, similar to any other.
The family welcomed more babies into their lives.
In 2018, Charli discovered she was expecting another baby, and the second child inherited the condition from the father. Subsequently, in 2020, Charli became pregnant for the third time. To the couple’s immense joy, the newborn did not inherit the distinctive traits of the parents and was born with an “average” stature.
However, what should have been moments of wonder turned into a nightmare for Charli. Their journey was an emotional roller coaster. During her third pregnancy, she openly expressed her longing for the process to be over. She recounted dealing with discomfort, nausea, and fainting spells. Throughout each pregnancy, Charli had to endure painful genetic testing. One procedure involved a “massive needle through my abdomen to take a sample of placenta that carries a 2% rate of miscarriage.”
Currently, they are embracing life to the fulles.
Now, with their family unit complete, they are relishing life to its fullest extent. Despite living with dwarfism, Charli and her family overflow with joy and happiness. Continuously, Charli shares precious moments on her Instagram account.
Amid their cheerful pictures, Charli enjoys sharing humorous instances that highlight their differences in height, such as quirky oversized clothing or the occasional challenges encountered in everyday activities, emphasizing her lighthearted approach to her stature.
Although encountering occasional negative comments, Charli has learned to overcome them, recognizing that most people visit their account to express warmth and admiration. She’s noticed a significant increase in their followers over the past year, indicating a growing interest in their journey.
In a world where the challenges faced by people with dwarfism are frequently overlooked, the incredible journey of Charli and her family stands as a testament to resilience, love, and the impact of sharing one’s story. Their steadfast resolve to live a rich and meaningful life, despite the obstacles they face, deeply resonates with their expanding community of supporters.