A woman afflicted with a unique genetic disorder has opened up about the trials of pregnancy, driven by the fear that her child might endure similar struggles.
Cynthia Cherise Murphy, diagnosed with Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS) in infancy, has experienced a life marked by distinctive facial features due to the condition.
Now 37 years old, Cynthia, who hails from Big Bear Lake, California, has faced brutal bullying throughout her life due to her appearance.
Her condition also includes the absence of ear canals, multiple facial reconstructive surgeries, and ongoing pain from various disability symptoms.
Upon discovering her pregnancy in January 2023, Cynthia was confronted with a daunting choice.
Haunted by the prospect of her child facing similar scrutiny and unkind remarks, she contemplated abortion.
Cynthia, who leads a non-profit focused on public health and disability advocacy, shared her turmoil with http://NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“The prospect of my child inheriting my condition or resenting their place in an unaccepting world was terrifying,” she said.
Cynthia’s younger years were marred by such intense bullying that it took a toll on her mental health, leading her to abuse alcohol and prescription drugs.
“I resorted to heavy medication to dull my pain, from anti-psychotics to pain relievers,” she revealed.
Her journey towards recovery began with rehab in 2015, and she has been sober since 2016.
After marrying Thane Murphy, a disabled retired USMC veteran and nutritionist, in 2019, the couple considered starting a family.
However, the 50% chance of her passing on TCS left Cynthia fearing a repeat of her hardships for her unborn child.
She said, “We pursued genetic testing to understand the health of our baby, but I was ready to consider termination, given my past and potential challenges for my child.”
The amniocentesis testing involves extracting amniotic fluid to check for the condition.
Throughout her pregnancy, Cynthia faced negative remarks about her consideration of abortion.
“Some questioned my readiness for a child who might share my struggles; others cited religious beliefs against abortion,” she said.
Despite these pressures, Cynthia remained committed to her choice.
The couple’s relief was immense when tests showed their child did not have TCS.
Their daughter, Novalee Rose, was born on 5 September 2023, healthy and thriving.
Cynthia expressed her profound joy and relief at her daughter’s birth, describing it as an overwhelming and surreal experience.
She candidly admitted that had her child been diagnosed with TCS, she would have chosen abortion.
Cynthia explained, “Living with a disability presents challenges unfathomable to many. My own experiences with TCS, like lacking ear canals and enduring facial reconstructions, have been arduous.
“Now, as a mother, my priority is to shield my daughter from similar pain. Novalee, only two months old, is already embarking on experiences I never had, like photoshoots in LA.”
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