Robert Hoge’s mother thought he was an “ugly baby” and refused to take him home from the hospital. Robert is grown up now, and his story will inspire you. Robert was born in a time where pre-natal ultrasounds were not standard. Robert’s mother had no idea he would be born with major disfigurements.
Robert was born with a tumor on his face and deformed legs.“My mother had four healthy children before me. And to now have some shock when a child is born with some medical issues would be a surprise” Robert shares. His mother even wished death upon him, but it did not stop Robert from pushing through in faith.
To come home, the family took a vote. Robert’s siblings voted on him to come home, despite his mother’s apprehensions. “I didn’t really feel hurt by my mother being initially reluctant to take me home. It was like a movie that has some sad parts in the middle but has a happy ending,” Robert explained. “I really appreciated how honest and frank my parents were with me.”
His mother eventually softened her heart toward her Robert and in Australia, he went through extensive reconstructive surgery. Remarkably Robert does not hold a grudge against his parents. His mother advocated for him telling people how shocked she was because there is power in acceptance of hard situations.
Robert went on to marry and has two kids of his own. He is a journalist and political advisor. Robert encourages, “We should stop trying to convince kids that their appearance doesn’t matter by pretending that differences in appearances don’t exist. Kids have a whole range of appearance, they look different and that is OK. We should not pretend that everyone looks the same because they don’t.”
“How we look is part of who we are, we can’t hide that. But it does not define all of us. That is what I tell kids. They should not try to pretend that they are not who they are. They are also defined by the sports they like and the books they read and the other interests they have got; not just by how they look,” Robert shares. Robert wrote a memoir titled Ugly, — what he calls “a beautiful story about one very ugly kid.”