Brittanie Wilson was born with a condition that usually leads doctors to recommend abortion.
She has arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), which can leave children unable to do anything for themselves, caused by the unborn baby not moving correctly during development,
The condition affects mobility and the formation of the joints.
When Brittanie’s condition was discovered when she was still in the womb, doctors told her parents to abort their child.
Now, Brittanie is proving doctors wrong by showing everyone she can live independently.
‘When I was born the doctors told my parents that I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself at all, in any way, shape or form,’ says Brittanie. ‘When I look back on this it makes me very upset that they set the expectations for my life so low.
‘I know what doctors say carries some serious weight, and I can only imagine how that must’ve felt for my parents. It must have been terrifying and there were so many unknowns.
‘When I was born, I guess very little was known about children and adults with AMC. I can’t say for certain, but perhaps they think they were trying to prepare my parents for a worst-case scenario.’
By the age of five Brittanie had five surgeries on her feet and legs to increase flexibility and mobility.
While at school she wore casts and leg braces, and had to attend physical therapy several times a week.
She was encouraged to be independent by her parents, who were determined to find a way for Brittanie to do anything she set her mind to.
Birttanie now wakes up every morning in her own home, dresses herself with the assistance of an electric wheelchair, and goes to work as an adjudicator at a bank.
She’s also learned to embrace her body, crediting swimming in public with boosting her self-esteem. She no longer feels the need to hide the scars on her legs, and is proud to showcase her differences on Instagram.
‘I’m very lucky to have been born by my parents,’ says Brittanie. ‘I was raised to be independent and find a way to modify whatever I needed in order to figure things out. I distinctly remember my mum saying to me over and over through the years ‘there’s nothing wrong with you’,” she continued.
“Albeit this strategy didn’t work every single time, but it taught me that by being a little resourceful I could usually find a solution to most problems.
‘I’ve learnt to adapt to the best of my ability.
‘In the first half of 2019 I’ve swam over 50 miles and I have to say it’s had an incredible impact on my range of motion. Also, I’m not scared of the public seeing my scars anymore.
‘I feel as though I’ve come into my own now and it’s amazing. Growing up I was given the wrong impression of what it meant to be beautiful, and because I didn’t see others like myself, it took time to learn to love who I am.
‘Now as an adult, I know I’m beautiful, not just in how I look, but also because of my differences. We all come in different shapes and sizes.’
Brittanie hopes that by sharing her story, she’ll be a role model for others who have AMC. She wants to raise awareness of the condition and show mothers that they don’t have to abort a child because of AMC – as it hasn’t stopped her living a happy life.
‘I’m proving everyone wrong and I’m not the only case,’ she says. ‘No matter how hard life is or how difficult it can be sometimes in this world, we are worthy of life and we matter.’
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