When Little People, Big World star Tori Roloff recently gave birth, she thought that their baby being diagnosed with the same dwarfism as her husband, Zach would be their only struggle. She was not expecting the other obstacles that came their way.
A Regular Mom
Tori Roloff recently celebrated becoming a mother for the first time. Like many new mothers, she was incredibly excited about the birth of her newborn, but was also nervous about what was to come. What eventually did happen, Tori most certainly was not prepared for.
A Disability Expected
While pregnant, Tori was aware that there was a large chance that the couple’s baby boy would inherit the same condition Tori’s husband, Zach, was born with. The condition is known as achondroplasia, a common cause of dwarfism. Having been fully aware of this, the pair were not surprised when they were told that their child, born in May 2017, was diagnosed with the same condition. However, like all new parents, they were overcome with joy at their fortune of having a baby of their own.
Quitting The Day Job
Before becoming pregnant, Tori was used to spending most of her time with young children, as her day job was being a kindergarten teacher. When she became pregnant, she was extremely excited, but she was also sad to go on maternity leave and leave her “Kinders.” She was sure she would return at some point following her baby’s birth expressing, “Can’t wait to take baby Roloff back to school to introduce him to the kids he’s listened to the last 9 months!”
Reality Star Status
Alongside her regular job, Tori is also a cast member on the reality show Little People, Big World. Starring alongside two happy new couple is Zach’s mom, Amy, who has the same dwarfism which Zach inherited, while his father has a different type of dwarfism. The show follows the Roloff family which is comprised of family members who have the condition and some who do not. In fact, Zach has a twin brother, Jeremy, who is regular sized, just like some of the other kids.
After the premiere debut of Little People, Big World in 2006, the show garnered solid ratings for TLC, and therefore it was picked up for a second season by the network. Many people praised the show for its positive portrayal of little people, and the general reception for the show was a good one. Meanwhile, others critiqued the show for its representation of romantic relationships on the show. But with its non-exploitative nature, it had a positive reception overall for its feel-good tone.
The Roloff family own and work on a farm, and with such labor intensive work, they require good physical health. However, health issues have been a problem within the Roloff family, with Matthew, Amy and Zach all having complications due to their dwarfism. Matthew’s diastrophic dysplasia meant he had to have many childhood surgeries and now requires crutches or motorized vehicles to move. Zach also went through many childhood surgeries following his medical condition at a young age, whereas matriarch, Amy, has had minimal issues.
On the idea of having a reality TV show following their lives, the Roloff family jumped at the opportunity almost immediately. Amy recalled, “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.” She continued, “Nothing [else] had depicted dwarfism in an everyday way.” And from the time their show aired, viewers often approached them to say how much they loved their show.
With so much success around the show, the TLC producers decided to create a spinoff series called Little People, Big World: Wedding Farm. The show debuted in 2012, and the series followed Amy and Matthew Roloff venturing into the wedding planning business, while still showcasing the dynamics of their popular family. However, while Little People, Big World brought in millions of viewers and had great success from the beginning, the spinoff didn’t have the same success and was canceled after just one season.
When the show first started, the whole Roloff family was cast for the series. After seeing things differently from the rest of his family, youngest son Jacob decided to no longer be in the reality TV series. Jacob later expressed that he did not enjoy being portrayed as a character and claimed, “The family that is filmed is not my family. They are the Roloff characters and I have scarcely anything in common with them, nor do I want to be a character myself.”
In Comes Tori
Zach was a popular cast member on the show, and with his shy and charming personality, viewers fell in love with him and wondered when he would find a girlfriend. It was then in 2010, when Tori took a part-time job on the Roloff’s farm that everything changed. Tori was also very shy, but the two quickly became attracted to one another and viewers could see this. After feeling the attraction between the pair, Zach asked Tori out four months into her job, and the two instantly hit it off.
Four years later, the pair were engaged and they had nothing but praise for one another. Zach said, “Tori brought me out of my shell and made me more social, she gave me confidence.” While Tori said: “We’re such a unique pairing, and we have a really cool story to share, but it was terrifying. But the show has helped me realize I shouldn’t worry about what other people think.” Zach also admitted he hadn’t thought much about marriage but was excited for his future with Tori.
It was on July 27th, 2015 that the duo exchanged vows in front of 100 guests, while TLC cameras were also in attendance to document the special nuptials for their reality show. The wedding aired during the 9th season, being the second wedding to be on the TV series, with Zach’s twin, Jeremy marrying his girlfriend, Audrey in the previous series. Both couples, however, got married on the family’s farm and viewers were overjoyed about the growing family. However, there was more to come.
Following the wedding, everyone was left in shock when it was announced that same year that, parents Matthew and Amy were getting a divorce after 30 years together. Unexpected news for both their family and fans, the former couple stated that they would remain cordial for the sake of their children and business. Their statement said “Our kids and our ever-growing family, and the love and support we have for them, will be our priority. We will continue to work together side-by-side in the daily responsibilities for our many current ventures.”
Not slowing down on the news announcements, Zach and Tori shared the exciting news in 2016 that they were expecting their first baby. Understanding that their baby could inherit the same dwarfism as Zach, in an episode of Little People, Big World, the family discussed the possibilities of their child having a disability. Tori expressed, “No parent wants to hear that their child is different, no matter what that is.” Zach replied, “But to me, that’s not different, he’s just like me.”
Before they celebrated the birth of their baby, the couple celebrated seven happy years together. After meeting on the reality show, Tori commemorated this milestone with a loving post on Instagram where she gushed, “Zachary, you make me smile every day and I love our conversations about life and our dreams together. You are definitely my better half and I pray every day that I can be a better wife to you.” Soon after, the couple welcomed their baby boy.
A Helping Hand
On May 12th, 2017, Zach and Tori welcomed their son Jackson into the world. Just as they may have expected, Jackson was born with the same dwarfism as his father. Zach said, “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, 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.”
Jackson’s disability never got in the way of the love the new parents felt for their young son. Just like most parents, they were excited at everything he did, and Tori would share photos of Jackson on Instagram, giving her followers updates on her son’s progress. In one post she wrote “Jackson is one month old today! He is eating and growing like a champ. Loves watching soccer with daddy. Starting to find his voice. Sleeps 5-6 hour stretches at night.” However, things then took a turn for the worst.
In her Instagram posts, Tori made everything look great for the Roloff family. It was then in one of her posts that she revealed the troubles she was having with breastfeeding. She admitted,”Hands down the hardest thing about being a mom has been breastfeeding. It was something I did not expect,” She continued “I just figured it would come naturally because it’s what nature intended – I was so wrong.” Her admission, however, resonated with many new mothers who were facing the same difficulties and unexpected truths.
Tori did not just make one post about this, but rather continued to speak out about the topic and her own difficult experiences, expressing, “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.” Her honesty and courage for being speaking out was praised by many, particularly since it was on a topic many mothers feel they have to be quiet about.
The stigma around the topic of breastfeeding is nothing new, and has in fact been an ongoing debate for many decades. This stigma also puts pressure on new mothers who then feel it inappropriate to breastfeed in public as they may be condemned by others, but are also criticized for not giving their baby the correct nutrients if they chose to not breastfeed altogether. The back and forth of what is right or wrong leaves many mothers deeply conflicted and confused about whether they are doing the right thing for their child.
While there may be a stigma surrounding the topic of women breastfeeding in public, it is in fact legal in 49 states in the United States to do so, with the exception being Idaho. Nevertheless, women who chose to nurse their children in public still face verbal abuse and are subjected to harassment by those who deem it inappropriate. Tori Roloff’s role in the public eye allowed her to reach out to many women and speak out against the injustices of women nursing in public.
Natural But Awkward
When Tori became a first-time mother, she found speaking about breastfeeding an issue that had become extremely close to her heart. She expressed, “I still feel awkward in public when I feed my baby. Why should I?” So while many other women speak out and get shut down when discussing the topic, or try to raise awareness on the issue that surrounds nursing their child, Tori was commended for speaking out and speaking on behalf of these women who were being ignored.
Work In Progress
Tori was very open about her experience on trying to breastfeed, and explained to her followers that is was hard at first, but while constantly working on it, things were finally falling into place. She noted, “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.” Many times when mothers are having a hard time breastfeeding, they turn to formula to feed their newborns, or seek professional help.
Many of Tori’s followers praised the reality star for her honesty and thought it was about time someone spoke out on the ongoing issue. With many mothers going through the same thing, she received many praises for her posts, with one user writing, “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.” But it was not just mothers reaching out.
Tori’s Instagram posts also caught the attention of experts who deal with these issues professionally, and they responded to her comments. One professional wrote on Tori’s post, “I work as a nurse in women’s services. Over the past 10 years that 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.”
At the time Tori was expressing her troubles with motherhood over Instagram, another Roloff was also going through her own troubles during her pregnancy, and also took to Instagram to express how overwhelmed she was at the idea of having a baby. When Audrey Roloff was preparing to welcome a daughter into the world, she expressed over Instagram the struggles of dealing with the emotions of having a baby while also trying to run a business. By doing this, Audrey was hoping to get some advice from other mothers.
Audrey wrote “Attention momapreneurs… how do you do it?! I think the thing I am most nervous for post labor/delivery is learning to balance being a mom while running my businesses. I know that my priorities will need to take a shift, and I know that I won’t be able to give as much as I once could.” She then finished her post by stating, “I feel a little lost…” She hoped mothers would comment and give her further advice.
Many followers and fellow mothers responded to Audrey to let her know her feelings were normal and she was not the only expecting mother feeling like this. They also let her know that there is no set way that works for all mothers to balance everything and it all comes with practice for what works for yourself. Many were also in favor of focusing more of her attention on her baby rather than the business since a business can run itself whereas a baby cannot.
Tori is not the first television star to speak out on the topic and discuss the stigma that mothers face when having a baby. Fellow mothers and celebrities in the media have also spoken out on how they are not ashamed to nurse their children, and they take to the likes of their social media to express this too, hoping to help other mothers. Chrissy Teigen, Gisele Bündchen, and Alanis Morissette have all posted pictures of themselves breastfeeding their children.
Regardless of her struggles, however, this has not affected the love Tori and Zach have for Jackson. If anything, she used her platform as a reality star and a mother in the public eye, to show other woman that she deals with the same issues many women encounter on a daily basis. She may show an insight into her family life through the Instagram page, with her happy family and love for her son, but she also expresses the reality of being a first-time mother.