“There’s nothing wrong with my child; she’s just different”

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“We simply need to remind ourselves that different and wrong aren't mutually exclusive, and that a person is simply another human being. A different human being.”

Mom Courtney Westlake is tired of people asking what’s wrong with her daughter. In her article on Cosmopolitan, she recalls the incident which prompted her to write an open letter.

They were at the hardware store when a woman walked up to them. “Can I ask,” the woman said “what’s wrong with your baby?”

“No matter the circumstances, I always strive to educate instead of take offense,” says Courtney, because I know in my heart that most people are genuinely curious about our daughter’s appearance and not meaning to be insensitive or cruel.”

But she often heard the word “wrong” in people’s queries.

What’s wrong with her skin?

What’s wrong with her face?

Or simply: What’s wrong with her?

The second child of the family, Brenna was born with a “very severe, very rare” genetic skin condition called Harlequin ichthyosis.

story2 image 7 “There’s nothing wrong with my child; she’s just different”

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan

This basically means that skin has difficulty doing the job that what it normally does, such as protecting you from germs, or maintaining body temperature.

“To try to make up for this error in her genetic code, her body produces skin too quickly, leaving her with the appearance of a terrible peeling sunburn all over her body.”

Courtney believes being physically different is never bad.

“We simply need to remind ourselves that different and wrong aren’t mutually exclusive, and that a person is simply another human being. A different human being.”

Her skin may appear different from the rest of us, and neither does it function the way it should, but her differences sets her apart.

And differences are what sets us apart and make us beautiful in our own way, they are what give our lives unique and fulfilling purpose.

“You may first notice Brenna’s deep red coloring or her dry skin flaking off as she plays…but once you allow yourself to see beyond that, you’ll simply see a child enjoying life with her brother and her parents. You’ll see a child who loves animals and pizza, who loves to read, who throws temper tantrums, and who will jump at the chance to go to the library or the park.”

READ: A rare illness is causing this boy’s skin to turn into stone

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