Meghan King Reveals Her Son's Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis
By Paige Gawley
Meghan King is revealing her son's medical diagnosis. In an Instagram video on Tuesday, the Real Housewives alum revealed that her 2-year-old son, Hart, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy this week. King shares Hart with her estranged husband, Jim Edmonds. The former couple also shares Hart's twin, Hayes, and a 3-year-old daughter, Aspen.
Cerebral palsy is described by the Mayo Clinic as "a group of disorders that affect movement and muscle tone or posture. It's caused by damage that occurs to the immature brain as it develops, most often before birth."
Hart was first diagnosed with Periventricular Leukomalacia a little over a year ago, something that King said is "often a precursor to cerebral palsy."
"Initially that diagnosis of PVL, although I expected it, was difficult for me to hear because you never want to hear that anything is 'abnormal' with your child, especially when it involves the brain," King said.
Hart's hypotonic cerebral palsy diagnosis followed just over a year later, one day before World Cerebral Palsy Day, and "essentially means that his muscles are loose or floppy."
"That was very surprising to me because, as a little baby when he was first born, he was very stiff and rigid," she shared. "He still is. When you hold him, he's not like this cuddly ball of muscles and fat that you would think of with a hypotonic baby."
Though King, who also wrote about Hart's diagnosis on her blog, admitted that her son officially being known "as a kid with a disability" can be "very heavy," she said she's "totally unfazed" by the diagnosis.
"To me it almost felt like if he didn't get the diagnosis yesterday at the neurologist, I would've been denying something or the doctors would've been placating me in a way to withhold that diagnosis from me," she explained. "I knew that Hart had CP and that he has it. It was just a matter of getting that name to it."
"I still braced myself because being labeled on paper is very different than assuming that'll be your label on paper," she said. "You know you're going to get it either way, but there's something that's just so final about the official diagnosis or paper that makes it very real or irreversible."
Following the diagnosis, King shared that she believes "one of my purposes is normalizing and not being shameful of our children or ourselves if we are atypical in any fashion."
Despite the challenges Hart will face, King said she believes her son shares her resiliance.
"I put up with a lot of negative feedback on the internet, and for some reason it just never really got to me... Out of my three kids, I truly feel that Hart has that trait of mine," she said. "If any of my kids are well-equipped to deal with a CP diagnosis it's Hart."
As for the challenges Hart is dealing with now, those include movement problems, concentration and frustration over having to think "about little things that we don't have to think about in order to learn anything else that there is to learn."
"He's going to have to deal with this the rest of his life," she said. "... He perhaps can overcome some of those behaviors that should be social norms because he understands what is normal or what looks normal and so he can adapt in those ways."
In the end, King said she's "really proud" to be a parent to a child with a disability, adding that she "always knew I'd be well-equipped to deal with a child with any kind of disability if I was ever chosen to be that mother."
"Do I wish my son didn't have CP? Yes, of course! His life would not have the same challenges that he's going to have," she said. "But you know what? All of my kids will have challenges. They will all have challenges."
In the caption of her post, King said she "felt called to share his experience and my experience with you all in order to hopefully normalize this diagnosis."
"Something I’ve learned is that a diagnosis isn’t limiting, people are. We are all born beautiful and perfect and then we learn we are too fat, too short, too ugly, too inept, too… everything," she wrote. "We place others in boxes dependent on their labels and we unconsciously allow ourselves to live within those boxes: woman, college graduate, high-school dropout, professional athlete, Cerebral Palsy."
"I am choosing to celebrate what makes Hart different and raise my children with the encouragement to live their lives out loud and to never let their differences limit or define them," King continued. "So today we CELEBRATE World Cerebral Palsy Day."