Living as a little person in a big person world has it struggles. First of all the most obvious struggle is to reeducate the general public about dwarfism. Perhaps one of the hardest issues is to integrate children into regular society; children of course will be sensitive knowing they do look different than other children. However, their school aged peers can be very cruel, laughing and pointing at them or alienating them from social play.
It is difficult for teachers to find ways to have the other children accept them. It is very important for parents and children not only to educate and sensitize the other school children it is equally important for parents and teachers, mentors, pastors, and so on to foster a sense of accomplishment and pride in these children. Self-worth and a healthy ego are so important and size should never be a factor in what a person can accomplish in life.
When the general public thinks of little people, (by the way the term midget is considered derogatory and should never be used) they usually think of circus people or Hollywood stars such as Herve Villlchaize who played tattoo on “Fantasy Island.” Rarely do the public think of “Little People” in any other workplace environment.
Dr. Jennifer Arnold and her spouse are providing a great service by exposing their life on the TV reality show, “The Little Couple.” First of all the fact that Jennifer is a doctor already punches holes through many of the myths.
Then there is the struggle they are having with pregnancy, something most women take for granted. Because of the bone growth disorder that causes dwarfism (skeletal dysplasia) it is just too risky for doctor Jen to have a baby the natural way. So the couple decided to get a surrogate for Jennifer.
Unfortunately, their hopes were dashed when the surrogate miscarried. Any woman who has faced this situation before can understand the pain and anguish. Now imagine what it is like for a woman who is unable to have her baby naturally and is a neonatologist, a baby specialist, and is surrounded by babies all day long. Dr. Arnold sees the happy couples with their infants and yearns to have a child of her own. Dr. Jennifer also deals with families who lose their own babies and she will weep with them, but she never thought it would happen to her. She didn’t think it would be so hard for her to accept.
The couple will not give up they decided they will continue trying to have a baby and this time they will select both adoption and surrogacy.
However, they have to be cautious for their baby’s sake. The couple share a gene for dwarfism so all embryos must be laboratory tested for detection of the disorder (skeletal dysplasia) before passed to the surrogate mother. If both genes from the biological parents are passed on it could be fatal, if one gene then there will be a healthy “little person” and of course if neither is passed on then the child will be an average sized individual.
Dr. Arnold has another medical condition as well; she needs medication to help her produce eggs as she naturally produces only half of the required amount.
Bill says they have had many challenges in the past and will no doubt face many in the future but they are good together and strong enough to get through them all.