By Mel Johnson
Robert Hoge’s mother thought he was such an ‘ugly’ baby that she refused to look at him. In fact, she refused to take him home with her. That moment shaped his life, but not in the way you might expect. And hearing how Robert has redefined what it means to live a life being labeled ‘ugly’ and ‘disabled’ is truly inspiring!
Mom Doesn’t Want ‘Ugly’ Baby
At the time when Robert was born in Australia, pre-natal ultrasounds were nowhere near as common as they are nowadays. So, his mother had no advanced warning that her fifth baby boy would look radically different as a newborn.
“My mother had four healthy children before me,” Robert explained, “and to not have some shock when a child is born with some medical issues would be a surprise.”
Robert was born with a large tumor in the middle of his face, and both of his legs were mangled. In hearing a description of how her son’s appearance from her husband, Robert’s mother refused to look at her baby. When it came time for her to go home, she decided to do so without him.
“I wished he would go away or die or something,” she wrote in her diary.
It’s the kind of admission you’d expect to be devastating to Robert’s self-esteem. Perhaps even something he’d spend a lifetime trying to overcome.
But it had quite the opposite effect! In fact, it’s become an integral part of Robert’s story and identity. God blessed him with incredible wisdom that he’s now using to inspire others.
A Change Of Heart
Robert’s mother started visiting him at the hospital regularly but still couldn’t bring herself to bring him home. She even told his sister, “He is so ugly.” But gradually, she began working through the issues in her own mind that were keeping her from loving her baby.
One morning, the family took a vote on whether or not baby Robert should come home to live with them. His four siblings unanimously voted “yes.” And that was the day Robert became part of the family.
Robert’s mother used a little blue diary to document her struggles in accepting and managing her son’s differences. Though the brutal honesty written on those pages is heartbreaking for most of us to hear, as a child, Robert felt quite differently. He regularly asked his mom to read aloud to him from her diary.
And it helped mold him into the courageous and inspiring man he is today!
“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,” he explained. “I really appreciated how honest and frank my parents were with me.”
In fact, his mother always felt her initial rejection was an important message for all to understand.
Don’t Give Up . .