When Courtney Westlake's family was given the shocking news that their daughter, Brenna, was born in 2011 with a severe, life-threatening skin disorder, they began to discover a new and different beautiful in their lives-one that values extraordinary differences and appreciates the wonderful sameness found in humanity. In A Different Beautiful, Courtney explores what her family has discovered in raising a child with physical differences and what she has learned about true beauty. Through her personal insights and experiences, Courtney shares how you, too, can learn to find and celebrate God's version of beautiful in your life, especially within our differences and struggles.
Courtney went into labour on Dec 19th 2011. When Brenna was about to be born, the doctor said that it looked like Breanna had very thick vernix. When she was born, the whole medical staff in the room panicked and called immediately for a specialist. When her husband, Evan arrived at the hospital, her almost fainted at the sight of his newborn baby. The name of the genetic disorder is Harlequin Ichthyosis.
It took Courtney a couple days to grasp how serious the situation was. With the genetic disorder, Brenna's body overproduces skin about 10 times faster than humans without the genetic disorder. All of the skin had built up over the nine months. She had very painful cracks on her skin and was very susceptible to infection.
Breanna is four now and about the size of a two year old. One of the most common assumptions when Breanna is out in public is that she has been severely sunburned. It is really hard for Courtney as a mom as she gets a lot of stares and judgement.
Part of Courtney's mission is to help parents help their children in a world where there are differences. Courtney has been a champion of inclusivity, embracing and connecting with the people we meet.
"We do not have to know the whole story to be kind" says Courtney.
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