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Stranger's generous gift lifts new mom's spirit

Posted January 18

OMAHA, Neb. — After a stranger made an insensitive comment about her infant son’s face on social media, a young mother found herself feeling hurt and confused. But a single act of kindness quickly erased the pain and left joy in its place.

When Sarah Heller, 26, looks at her 3-month-old Brody, she sees nothing but beauty, according to Today. Brody was born with a cleft lip and palate, a condition that occurs when the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth and the lip don’t fully join together before the baby is born, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

While Heller and Brody’s dad, Chris Eidam, were taken aback by the diagnosis during her pregnancy, they knew their baby boy would be perfect just as he was.

“They asked us if they wanted to keep the pregnancy,” Eidam told WOWT News, something that shocked the parents-to-be.

Instead of worrying about the way Brody would look, the couple decided to share his unique beauty with the world. They’ve committed to posting daily photos of their boy on their social media accounts with the hope they’ll be able to spread awareness about cleft lips and palates.

“It is OK to be proud of your baby no matter the circumstances,” Heller told Today. “We wanted to change what ultrasound/newborn/first year pictures on our Facebook/Instagram accounts looked like.”

While the majority of comments on Brody’s photos are positive and supportive, one recent comment served as a slap to the face of his parents.

“What’s wrong with your son’s face?” the commenter asked.

It was a painful reminder that not everyone saw Brody the way his parents do.

“I wasn’t prepared to defend my 3-month-old and why he looks ‘different’ from other babies,” Heller told Today. “I decided to educate rather than create a confrontation because that is what I want Brody to do in the future.”

Heller responded to the comment with a link to a site containing further information about cleft lips and palates, WOWT News reported. And while she took the high road, the exchange still left her feeling low.

That all changed just a few hours later, when Heller took Brody out to dinner with a few of her girlfriends. Their server dropped a folded piece of paper in front of the new mom, Today reported.

When she opened the paper, she found a bit more than just a note — a check for $1,000 sat inside, along with the words, “For the beautiful baby.”

“Tears fell from my eyes immediately and the happiness my heart felt is indescribable,” Heller told Today.

Heller and Eidam plan to use the money to help cover the multiple surgeries that will help repair the clefts and help him eat and speak more efficiently in the future, according to Today. His parents remain committed to telling their son’s story, and plan to share the story of one stranger’s kindness with Brody when he’s old enough to understand the significance.

“I hope that he continues to be our special perfect boy and that someday he can do something great for someone,” Heller told WOWT.

Brody had lip surgery earlier this month and according to his mother’s Instagram account, he’s healing quickly enough that his signature smile is back to light up his little face.

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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