Different is Beautiful by Vanessa McLeod

When you have a baby, you dream of the future. You envision what that future might look like— your cute little baby, dressing them in outfits, taking them for walks, mealtimes, and bedtime routines. You picture it all. But what happens when what you pictured—what you dreamed—turns out to be different than you expected? This was the case for me with my youngest daughter Ivy. I found out at 19 weeks pregnant—the same time I found out we were having a girl— that this little girl would also be born without hands. I went through a phase of extreme grief, where I grieved the loss of the future I had pictured, and I went on a healing journey where I accepted and embraced the future I’d been given, in the form of this precious little baby. The future looked different than what I had expected, but I came to learn that different doesn’t mean less. It doesn’t mean less worthy, less fulfilling, or less beautiful. It’s equally, if not more, impactful and meaningful… and always worthy, despite what doctors told me while pregnant.

Our life looks different than I imagined when I first got pregnant with Ivy. Our mealtimes, our outings, and our bedtime routines look different. But at the same time, it’s always been this way with Ivy and it’s now completely normal to us. And I see the beauty in all these little moments with her, where she tackles new things, learns new tricks, and never fails to take on the world with spunk and determination. One thing that Ivy is currently working on is dressing herself. And while this is looking different than I ever could have imagined, it is so uniquely her and a part of her that I love. I couldn’t imagine it any differently now, because it’s HER— perfectly, wonderfully her. This routine will involve a lot of adaptability, creativity, and determination— but Ivy lacks in none of those things. We might need hooks on the wall or other attachments or devices to assist us, but what underlies all of this is that—it’s different, yes—but DIFFERENT. IS. BEAUTIFUL. There are periods of fear, and of uncertainty, where grace is needed. But always endless periods of love, of hope, of beauty…which is why having a line of clothes like this is so meaningful to us. It helps us celebrate and embrace all the ways that Ivy is different, all the things that make her unique. And more importantly, it helps Ivy with her independence, which is one of our ultimate goals for her. 

So just remember— if your journey or your path looks different than you imagined, it’s okay to feel fearful or lost at first. It’s ok to grieve the future you once envisioned. These are all very real emotions that are a natural part of this journey. But remember that being different is a beautiful thing. There is so much beauty and joy in this life, and just because she’s different, doesn’t mean her life is worth any less. This is something that I will always shout from the rooftops. Her worth. Her value. Her beauty. And all of the wonderful things that make her so perfectly unique.

Follow Ivy's journey at @vanessamcleod_ on instagram