I'm a Hot Mess Momma - by Bethany Weddle
My name is Bethany Weddle (Wood). There are so many things that come to mind when I think about sharing my life story and especially the Turner syndrome (TS) part of it. When my mother got the phone call in Fall of 1989 giving her the results of the amniocentesis on the baby she was expecting in February, I highly doubt this is how she'd thought things would go.
At the time, and even now, a pretty picture isn't always painted of Turner Syndrome. The Turner Syndrome Society of the United States (TSSUS) has been a huge part of breaking this stigma and gave my parents hope, especially in my early years. My mom was even an active member of chapters in New Hampshire, and later, Arizona. I attended conferences as both a child and an adult and maintain connections made at these events.
TSSUS has been a constant source of encouragement and information over the years. I am passionate about spreading the word and giving accurate information because I want every girl and family to have the resources we had as I grew up and that I have has as an adult.
I'll start with the more basic medical part of my journey, then share me. Honestly, I feel knowing the butterfly is more important in these stories anyway. It doesn't hurt to understand the progression though. I am one of the butterflies diagnosed before birth. I have a rare karyotype of 45x, 45xi. Basically, I have a mosaic form of TS that contains some cells missing the second X chromosome completely and some with a variant form of TS called an isochromosome.
My childhood was marked with relatively few health concerns common with TS. I was on growth hormone therapy (I reached 5 feet tall) and needed hormone replacement therapy to induce puberty. I also had a form of lazy eye and was diagnosed with osteopenia and mild hearing loss. In my 20's I saw more issues such as high blood pressure and difficulty with balancing hormones. I would also say I show signs of high functioning social anxiety and Non-verbal disabilities. At 31, almost 32, I do deal with needing hormone replacement, hearing aids, osteoporosis, and glaucoma and continue to need all the traditional monitoring.
Who am I outside of the health and TS related issues? I loved playing badminton when I was in high school and knew I wanted to be a teacher. That inspired me to work hard so I could attend university. I earned my bachelor’s degree in secondary education and my master’s in special education. I even met one of my best friends while in college and she's a butterfly too! The wild part is we didn't know when we met.
My career took off early and I happily bought my first place at 25 years old. I have worked for my state’s largest online high school for 8 years. I was a social late bloomer and I credit my husband for being incredibly insightful and patient. We didn't meet until I was 27 and I don't think I was ready for a serious relationship until then. I was quite content to live on my own and have the freedom to make my own choices and schedule. I bet a lot of butterflies relate. He had to work hard to break down my walls. My relationship and family are a unique story.
My husband's first wife passed away leaving him to raise a beautiful little boy who was 3 years old at the time. When we met, I didn't just fall in love with one guy but with two. I knew I needed to be honest about my fertility early on and that I wanted to foster and adopt. His response was that his dad worked for a foster agency, and he always wanted to foster too. It was almost too perfect. Today we are still a family of three, but we did get to foster in 2020 and give a safe place to a beautiful little girl who ended up being able to go home. We learned so much from her and our experience. We have decided at this time to focus only on adoption and not to foster.
I got to adopt my stepson in November of 2020 and we (all three of us) look forward to adding a child who we need as much as they need us to our family. All in God's time. Did I mention perhaps the most important thing about me? I am a Christian and try to put my relationship with God at the center of all I do.
Before I leave you with just a rosy picture, please know things aren't perfect. I am a hot mess momma most days. I get tired, anxious, and snap at my husband sometimes. My son is amazingly compassionate and quite smart but also has ADHD and can drive this very organized, routine-oriented and tidy butterfly batty. I forget to be grateful for my blessings. I don't always like what I see in the mirror, and I can let my anxiety, hearing loss, and other medical issues hold me back.
Recently, I have really taken some steps forward, losing weight, lowering my blood pressure, and feeling so much better. This year we are focused on self-love and care and I couldn't think of a better theme. Turner Syndrome has created some challenges, but it has created strength, lifelong compassion and relationships I will never find it in myself to regret. I wouldn't be the wife, mother, teacher, or faith-filled Christian without all my life experiences, Turner Syndrome included. This is me, proud Butterfly, and supporter of the wider TS community.