This is a Month with Moxie, a month of celebrating Down syndrome, striving to increase Down syndrome Awareness.
In reaching out to With a Little Moxie's Down syndrome Awareness Champions, I met Stephanie, mother of Molly and the designer/creator behind Moxie Clothing. Stephanie told me that this month is also Dwarfism Awareness Month.
I was excited about that – and asked if she'd guest post a piece about Dwarfism Awareness – in addition to of course celebrating both Dwarfism and Down syndrome Awareness with a gift of one of her awesome dresses.
She said yes! And here we go:
Hi everyone! A quick introduction….my name is Stephanie Braun, wife to Brent, mommy to Elliott, 5, and Molly, 3. I own and operate Moxie Clothing, where I design and make custom little girl's clothing.
I am guest blogging because October is a very special month full of 'awareness'! We all know the big one, Breast Cancer Awareness, but there are so many other things. Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, SIDS, Lupus, Dental Hygiene, Dwarfism, and of course, Auto Battery Safety!
The one that is nearest and dearest to me is Dwarfism Awareness. My darling daughter, Molly, is a little person, her type of dwarfism is Achondroplasia, which is the most common of the over 200 types of dwarfism.
Achondroplasia is caused by a gene mutation which affects growth, especially in the limbs, and occurs in about one out of every 30,000 births. There is no genetic history of any type of dwarfism in either mine or my husband's families. Imagine our surprise when we were told at 24 hours old that our little girl had dwarfism! We were clueless as to what it meant.
We spent several hours crying and asking why us? Why her? What did we do wrong? Will life be hard for her? Will people make fun of her? Will our families and friends accept her? Why do we judge people with disabilities? Is this even a disability?
Why us? Why her? It happened to us because we can handle it.
What did we do wrong? Not a single thing. Dwarfism is usually a fluke.
Will life be hard for her? Possibly. But we have an awesome family and friends who are always going to be there for her.
Will people make fun of her? At some point, it's going to happen. It happens to kids who aren't different, so it's going to happen to her. We work hard to help her have a thick skin and tons of confidence so when it does happen, she can shake it off.
Will our families and friends accept her? Looking back, what a silly question!
Why do we judge people with disabilities? I'll never know this answer. Maybe it's because of lack of understanding, so we try to build awareness whenever we can.
Is this even a disability? We quickly discovered that for Molly, it is NOT a disability right now. She is an absolute spitfire! Everything that the doctors told us would be delayed, she has done right on schedule.
But for many people with dwarfism, it is a disability. There is always a risk of complications, injury, and unfortunately, discrimination.
It is important to remember that, as Dr. Seuss taught us, “A person's a person, no matter how small.” Little People (LP's) are just like average height people, but in a smaller package. There are relatively few cases of mental handicap associated with dwarfism, so LP's are capable of working in any profession, and participating in most activities. As with any medical condition, looks can be deceiving, and we are surprised daily by the things that Molly can do when left to her own devices. We learned very quickly not to judge a person by their packaging, you never know what a person is capable of!
Thanks to Molly, I discovered new things about myself too! I've always been an avid crafter, but was never great at actually finishing a project. But when your child has itty bitty legs and arms but an average sized torso and above average sized skull, it isn't easy to find clothing that fits! Which is how Moxie Clothing was born. First I started with shortening everything we owned, then I moved up to making dresses and outfits from scratch. People started to notice her outfits, and asking for things for their children.
The name Moxie was chosen because it's what Molly displays to us all the time, she definitely has moxie! I make tons of clothing for average sized children, but my passion will always be in making specially sized pieces for kids who don't fit the standards.
Knowing that I have helped a 'different' child have something 'normal' gives me the best feeling. Because I know first hand how important the small things can be!!
Stephanie will be giving away one Holiday Knot Dress – up to Size 12 –
It's a bright piece
Just like Mollie – and all of our girls with moxie!
This giveaway is open to the US. Winner will be selected randomly, announced on 11/09
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.