Woman whose husband and kids are dwarfs hits back at trolls who mock her family
At five foot and four inches tall, no-one in their right mind would ever call 34-year-old mother-of-two Heather Smith a giant. Yet she towers over the other members of her family, and is the only one among them not subjected to taunts, abuse and snide remarks as a result of her appearance.
That's because Heather's husband Paul, her son Jack, and her daughter Erin, were all born with a form of dwarfism known as pseudoachondroplasia, which means that Paul is only four foot tall. Now Heather has opened up about the cruel treatment her family often has to put up with while out in public, as well as the health struggles that the others have been living with.
Heather first met Paul back in Majorca, in Spain in 2002. She was working as a holiday rep and Paul was a DJ, and she felt an immediate attraction towards him. Unfazed by his condition, they soon began to pursue a relationship, and settled down in Nottingham, England, and began planning for a family, since dwarfism is a genetic condition, Heather and Paul knew that there was a chance their children would also be short. But they were unfazed by this, and Jack and Erin were born soon after.
Commenting on her family's condition, Heather stated: "When we’re out as a family, we get people laughing, pointing and taking pictures. We have to put our blinkers on and just get on with it, but sometimes I can’t help letting people know I can see and hear what they’re doing. There needs to be more acceptance and understanding, so people can get on with their lives – whatever their size. My kids are in constant pain with their condition. They don’t need the additional worry of stepping outside in the morning and being laughed and pointed at."
She added: "Though they all have the same form of dwarfism, it manifests itself differently in each of them. Just like with average people, they’re all individual. Things have been said that upset them. They’ve been called babies at school, or children have held footballs just above Jack’s head so he can’t reach. Erin even got called a ‘stupid little midget’ which is an unacceptable word in the dwarf community. I know sometimes children are too young to understand what they’re saying, but we need more education and awareness so that everybody can be accepted. Attitudes are starting to change as dwarfism is more visible but there’s still a long way to go."
When Jack and Erin were born, there was no indication initially that they would be little people, pseudoachondroplasia does not generally manifest until children are two years old. Thus all Heather’s scans during pregnancy looked normal until they were both two, when x-rays revealed that they had indeed inherited their father's condition. As a result of their dwarfism, Jack and Erin have poor grips in their fingers, and have had a number of operations to straighten their legs. They also use wheelchairs to travel over long distances.
However, Heather is keen to stress that her kids are no different from anyone else's. She has also her support for Heather, for Jeans for Genes Day, a fundraiser for people affected by genetic conditions. To learn more, visit the official website here for more information.