Just Months After Having A Baby, Tori Roloff Has Opened Up About News Even She Never Expected

Tori Roloff may be a popular reality TV name, but when it comes to motherhood she faces the exact same challenges as the rest of us. The Little People, Big World star gave birth to a child, Jackson, in May 2017; like his father Zach, he was born with the condition achondroplasia, making him a dwarf. But while Tori was prepared for that eventuality, there was one other aspect of raising a child that she hadn’t bargained for. And it’s something that isn’t talked about very often.

By all accounts, though, Tori was very well prepared to be a mother. Before she gave birth to her own son, in fact, she worked as a kindergarten teacher, a job she loved. Indeed, when she took her maternity leave, she posted on Instagram about how much she would miss her “Kinders.” “Can’t wait to take baby Roloff back to school to introduce him to the kids he’s listened to the last nine months!” she wrote in April 2017.

But, of course, Tori has another job besides being a kindergarten teacher – specifically, she’s a reality TV star. Tori is no Kim Kardashian, though, and her husband is no Kanye West. They were and are perfectly ordinary people who just happen to have one extraordinary thing about them: namely, that Zach, his parents and some of his other family members have dwarfism. In fact, Zach measures only 3’1” in height.

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And when a TV network asked the Roloff family if they wanted to create a reality TV show about their lives, they agreed almost immediately. “The Learning Channel came to us about five or six years ago, and so we suddenly realized we were given a great opportunity to educate people about dwarfism,” Zach’s mother Amy told Ability magazine in 2010. “Nothing [else] had depicted dwarfism in an everyday way.”

The show followed all the Roloffs around as they worked at their family business, Roloff Farms, in Oregon. What’s more, it was not consistently popular, but it also did exactly what Amy had hoped it would do by enlightening the public. In fact, a stranger once approached her and thanked her, saying that the show had helped him learn about his baby with dwarfism. “Just the experience of having watched our show encouraged them and inspired them,” Amy told Ability.

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Then, during the 2010 pumpkin picking season, Tori took a part-time job on the Roloffs’ farm. There she met Zach, and the two were attracted to each other instantly. But both were incredibly shy, and it took four months before Zach finally got the nerve to ask Tori out. Once he did, though, the rest was history. The pair got engaged in 2014 and quickly announced the news on Instagram.

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On July 27, 2015, meanwhile, Tori and Zach had their wedding. Over a hundred guests were there, and the TLC camera crews were enthusiastically filming the whole event. And while fans of Little People, Big World were understandably delighted with the good news, they would eventually have even more to celebrate. That’s because, in November 2016, Tori and Zach would tell People magazine that they were expecting an addition to their family.

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There was speculation from both parents, however, about whether the baby would inherit its father’s dwarfism. Indeed, an episode of Little People, Big World sees them filmed as they discussed the possibility. “No parent wants to hear that their child is different, no matter what that is,” Tori said on the show. “But to me, that’s not different,” Zach answered. “He’s just like me.”

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As it happened, of course, baby Jackson was born with dwarfism – but his parents were delighted nonetheless. “You have to encourage a dwarf child a little more because it will take them five steps to do what others can do in two,” Zach told People in May 2017, a few weeks after Jackson entered the world. “But I knew, dwarf or not, I was going to parent my child with the mentality that not everyone gets a trophy. You have to earn it.”

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Zach and Tori subsequently shared Jackson’s milestones on Instagram, taking delight in every single one. When he turned one month old, Tori posted a new photo of her son along with an update on his progress. “Jackson is one month old today!” she wrote. “He is eating and growing like a champ. Loves watching soccer with daddy. Starting to find his voice. Sleeps five- to six-hour stretches at night.” It was a brief little rundown of motherhood.

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In July 2017, moreover, Tori uploaded another post: this one, however, was longer and more serious. And it spoke about an issue that many women find problematic after childbirth, but which few really talk about. “Hands down the hardest thing about being a mom has been breastfeeding. It was something I did not expect,” Tori wrote. “I just figured it would come naturally because it’s what nature intended – I was so wrong.”

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“It was an inconvenience and took FOREVER but I was blessed enough to be able to BF [breastfeed], I feel for those mamas that can’t breastfeed.” Tori continued, alongside a photograph of her doing precisely that. “I get asked at all my appointments how BFing is going and I couldn’t imagine how that would make the women who physically can’t feel. I also HATE the stigma of breastfeeding.”

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Indeed, while breastfeeding is a very natural act, for new mothers it can often seem to come with a lot of rules and regulations. And when it comes to breastfeeding in public, these “rules” become even more confusing. What’s more, women who cannot breastfeed for whatever reasons have often reported feeling like they are being judged by other mothers. That can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, or even an inability to bond properly with their babies.

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Currently, 49 states in the U.S. allow women to breastfeed in public – Idaho is the exception. Women who decide to do so, however, are often in danger of harassment. They have pictures snapped of them without their permission, for example, or may be asked to leave the premises. Indeed, some have even faced verbal abuse from members of the public. And while steps are being taken to try and prevent this from happening, it still goes on.

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A month after Tori uploaded her post, however, actress Amanda Seyfried also spoke out about breastfeeding. “Breastfeeding is awesome. Formula is awesome. Feeding your baby is awesome. Not awesome? Judgement,” she tweeted on July 5, 2017. Then she reposted a quote, “Breasts are intended to feed babies. With all our progress on feminist issues, how can such a simple biological imperative remain so stigmatized?”

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It’s a question that Tori very much wants answered, too. “I still feel awkward in public when I feed my baby. Why should I?” she wrote. “I’m providing for my child. [Jackson] and I have come a long way and we work well together now and I’m proud of that.” And her post stirred a tremendous response from those who read it, especially other mothers.

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“Great post!! No one should feel ashamed or guilty or degraded for not being able to breastfeed or for not wanting to breastfeed. It’s personal. You will bond with your baby either way,” one Instagrammer commented. “Well said… breastfeeding is difficult! I hate the stigma on both accounts,” wrote another. Virtually every comment was positive, and many were thankful to Tori for speaking out.

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And one comment in particular neatly highlighted the problem of the “breast is best” theory of nursing that Tori had denounced. “I work as a nurse in women’s services,” the message read. “Over the past ten years, [there] has been a huge push within hospitals to get everyone breastfeeding. The concept is great, but it is not reality. I have said this for awhile that we are setting up moms to have a lot more postpartum depression issues.”

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Furthermore, it’s clear that there is a lot more work to do when it comes to the stigmas surrounding breastfeeding. Luckily, there’s been a lot of push-back recently. For example, more and more celebrities are taking to social media to proudly demonstrate the way they nurse their children. A number of famous moms, including Gisele Bündchen, Chrissy Teigen, Alanis Morissette and Thandie Newton, have shared pictures of themselves breastfeeding.

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Meanwhile, little Jackson Roloff is clearly growing up loved and happy, and Tori and Zach continue to post pictures of him on Instagram celebrating his firsts. “Jackson is 3 months old! Baby J is so smiley these days!” Tori announced on August 13, 2017. “Keep growing, little man! Mom and Dad love you!” So it seems that this is one baby who has had a truly excellent start in life, regardless of whether he is being breastfed or not.

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