Happy ending: A mother learns to love her disfigured son
When Robert Hoge was born in Australia 44 years ago, his mother could hardly bear to look at him. She found her own son to be so grotesque, that for an entire week, she didn't want to take him home with her. She even found herself wishing he were dead. "He is so ugly," she confided to her sister.
Her son had an enormous tumor on his nose and various other birth defects. But despite expectations to the contrary, the relationship between Robert and his mother was anything but poor. Robert holds his mother in high esteem because of the inspirational influence she had in setting him off on the right path in life.
Following a family meeting, the four-time mother decided to bring her baby home after all. Over the years, she not only learned to open her heart to him, but she also grew to accept and love him exactly as he was.
Of course in the beginning, she was overwhelmed with taking care of a physically-challenged child. Most of all, she was afraid of how other people would react to him. And she was naturally worried that Robert would be bullied and teased because of his appearance.
But because of Robert's situation, the family grew extremely close. Everyone stood wholeheartedly behind their youngest family member. When he was still a child, the benign tumor was removed from his nose in a complex operation. Because much of his nose had to be removed during the surgery, doctors reconstructed it afterwards using cartilage from his toes.
Unfortunately, his legs, which were badly deformed, couldn't be saved. They were in such a poor condition that doctors decided to amputate and fit Robert with two prostheses.
Robert became aware of the negative feelings his mother once had towards him because when he was a young boy, she read aloud to him from her diary. She had started writing down her thoughts on the advice of a doctor. Therein, among other private fears, she had written, "I didn't feel anything for this baby.'' At first Robert couldn't understand why his mother hadn't loved him from the beginning. Sometimes it made him sad and anxious.
But later he saw it all from a completely new perspective. "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," Robert wisely reflected.
However, the now 44-year-old man wants to emphasize that he has only positive feelings about his mother. He describes his upbringing as "amazing, loving and caring."
When he was 30, Robert became the father of two daughters. He is convinced that his experience with his mother helped him to be a good father to his children. Today he lives with his wife Katy in Wynnum, Australia.
Despite his appearance and physical limitations, Robert has gone far in his career. He started off as a successful journalist, then entered public service, and finally became a public speaker and author.
In 2013, he published his memoirs in a book titled Ugly. With this book he hopes to help other people accept themselves as they are. Furthermore, he wants to show that it's possible to achieve one's goals despite an appearance that doesn't match society's general ideals of beauty.
Robert went one step further: he declined to have any further operations that would give him a more "normal" appearance. Other people might have been broken by such a destiny, but Robert used it as motivation to get the best out of life and has achieved remarkable success. He's anything but "ugly."