By Shannon, Penny's mom
When I was pregnant, I daydreamed about what it would be like to hold my baby. I imagined taking her for a walk in the park, but all of that changed when Penny was born with Pierre Robin Syndrome.
I realized pretty quickly that everything was going to be different. I couldn’t even hold Penny for the first two weeks. She got a tracheostomy at just nine days old, and we spent the first 100 days of her life in the hospital. Penny was seven months old when we took her for her first walk outside.
I had to say goodbye to my original daydreams of motherhood and grieve when those dreams disappeared. It was really hard, but I knew I had a choice to make. I could be sad and resentful about Penny’s condition, or I could work to have a different perspective. I decided to celebrate all of Penny’s victories. Even the tiniest milestone she meets is an incredible success for us. I decided to be grateful for every moment and for every breath. Motherhood can be messy and full of unexpected difficulties. But motherhood is also incredibly beautiful. Through the hard times we’ve faced, Penny has taught me patience, courage, and resiliency. She is the greatest gift I have ever received. Most people never get to meet their heroes; I gave birth to mine. None of the challenges we experience could ever outweigh the joy and pride I feel when I see Penny smile or watch her meet another goal. No matter the challenges or surprises we face, we face them together, and we face them with love.