When Robert Hoge was born in Australia 44 years ago, he didn’t look like a ‘normal baby’ – but that is what makes his story so unique and special.
He was born with a giant tumor on his face. His legs were so deformed that the doctors had no choice but to amputate.
After giving birth, Robert’s mother was so shocked by the boy’s appearance that she refused to look at him. She wanted nothing to do with Robert.
The mother had to try extremely hard to accept her son’s deformity and she was always very honest and open about how difficult this was.
But before you judge her, you should know that Robert’s mother is not the villain of this amazing story.
And just wait until you meet this incredible man today, and hear about how his mother influenced his life.
A mother-of-four gave birth to her fifth child 44 years ago. But unlike her previous children, he was special.
The child, Robert, was born with a large tumor between his eyes and completely deformed bones.
Robert’s parents were shocked when they saw their son’s face. They refused to look at Robert the first week he was born and his mom did not take him home from the hospital.
In fact, she was so upset that at one point she said she wished the boy would die.
The mother’s sister simply said: “He’s so ugly.”
But soon, Robert’s mother realized how wrong she was. She slowly, but surely, learned to accept her son’s appearance.
The family gathered for a large meeting and decided that they would bring Robert home. All four of his siblings agreed that they wanted Robert to be part of the family.
On one hand, it may seem easy to criticise Robert’s mother, but on the other hand, I’m glad she changed her mind.
She was terrified of caring for a child with special needs and worried about the prospect of Robert and her family being bullied and ridiculed due to her son’s appearance.
Robert accepted and understood his mother’s initial concerns – and that’s all that counts.
With the family situation sorted, Robert soon had surgery.
He had full support and comfort from his family when it was most needed.
The surgeons removed parts of the tumor on his the face and constructed a new nose for him using cartilage from his toes.
But Robert’s legs were in such bad condition that the doctors had to amputate them and replaced them with prosthetics.
In September 2016, Robert Hoge explained to NPR what he’d come to learn about his mother’s feelings – even as a little boy – and why he has come to accept and learn from them.
“The reason I know all of that was because one of the doctors at the time encouraged my mother to keep a diary. And she kept this lovely blue diary with beautiful handwriting in it and that was never hidden away from me.
“It would sit on the couch beside her, or it would be on her bedside table… And every now and then I’d ask mum to read me a bit from her book. And so she was really open and honest in that book about her feelings about me, and she was really open and honest with me from a very young age about her feelings.
“And I think I had a few times where I was a bit concerned and a bit worried and couldn’t quite understand, but I think then it just clicked one day that it was like a movie that has some sad parts in the middle but has a happy ending. I was finding all of that out after knowing that my parents had decided to bring me home.”
Robert says that he now only have positive feelings towards his mother and family.
“Everyone has been wonderful, loving and caring,” he says.
Even before Robert was 30, he was a father and he also has a wife.
Robert, his wife Kate and their two daughters live in Wynnum, a beautiful suburb on the shores of Moreton Bay in Brisbane, Australia.
According to Robert, he has learned much about parenting from his own parents.
Robert has made a career as a successful journalist but now works as a civil servant, motivational speaker, and author.
He bursts with humor, honesty and often offers advice to others.
For example, he wrote the following on his Facebook page: “I promised some more author photos and I think we’re all in need of some levity at the end of this week, right?
“This is the photo I’d use if there was an online author dating site (and, you know, I was dating).”
Three years ago, Robert released his book, “Ugly” .
“A gripping story of an innocent boy who grew up in the belief that he was normal, but slowly and surely realized that he was not, in a society that is obsessed with appearance. And how he blossomed, to not just accept who he is, but also be proud of himself when others shied away by his mere presence,” wrote one reviewer.
Robert has refused to have additional operations that could “improve” his appearance.
He is happy with himself just as he is. And that’s something we can all learn from.
Please share Robert’s incredible story to help others learn to accept who they are!
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