Despite the Danger: Embracing Motherhood with Dwarfism

Being asked about having children is a common experience for married couples. However, Charli Worgan and her husband Cullen, both living with different forms of dwarfism, often faced a different question – “why?”. Living under the public spotlight became even more challenging when Charli became pregnant with their first child.

Woman with dwarfism poses proudly with her baby bump on the beach

In response to the curiosity and ignorance surrounding their lives, Charli decided to create a social media account to educate people about their unique family. Little did she know that her account would become immensely popular, amassing over 300,000 followers. Today, the couple has two beautiful daughters and recently announced that Charli is 14 weeks pregnant with their third child.

However, the journey of pregnancy for Charli and Cullen is bittersweet. Due to their genetic conditions, each pregnancy is accompanied by painful genetic testing. Their children can either inherit Charli’s form of dwarfism, Cullen’s form, be of average height, or, most critically, inherit both types of dwarfism which doctors say would be fatal.

Revealing the heartache of this reality, Charli shares the emotional toll it takes on their family. Instead of celebrating the joy of announcing pregnancy at 12 weeks like most moms, Charli undergoes Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) – a procedure where a large needle is inserted through her abdomen to obtain a placental sample carrying a 2% risk of miscarriage. This sample helps determine the genetic makeup of the baby.

Their two daughters, two-year-old Tully and four-year-old Tilba, have already been diagnosed with one of the two types of dwarfism their parents carry. With their third baby on the way, they anxiously awaited to discover which of the four possibilities their child would have.

Charli expresses the weight of this uncertainty in an Instagram post:

  1. Their baby would be of average height.
  2. Their baby would have the same form of dwarfism as Charli (Achondroplasia).
  3. Their baby would have the same form of dwarfism as Cullen (Geleophysic Dysplasia).
  4. Their baby would inherit both genetic variations, known as “double dominant dwarfism,” which medical professionals believe would be fatal upon birth. Should this occur, Charli would have had the choice to carry on or terminate the pregnancy.

In her post, Charli acknowledges the criticism she has faced for choosing to have children with these odds. She invites doubters to consider the complexity of her decision and emphasizes the importance of kindness. Sharing her journey so publicly has exposed her to various criticisms, but Charli remains resilient, continuing to share both the challenges and the moments of joy.

Her newborn baby boy, Rip, arrived at the end of February. Alongside a picture of her with her newborn, Charli reflects on the gratitude and luck she feels. She highlights that there is no “correct” or “wrong” way to do motherhood and emphasizes the relatability of her experiences to all parents.

Ultimately, Charli’s story is a testament to the fact that her life as a parent is just like everyone else’s. She shares the struggles and joys of bringing children into the world, inspiring others along the way. As they continue their journey together, let us wish this extraordinary family health and happiness. Please share their story and spread the love.