Some people just make my brain hurt.
Katherine Heigl, star of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, recently adopted a daughter born in Korea. At first the child was described as a “Special Needs” child but it was later revealed that the baby had a Congenital Heart Defect. Little Naleigh had heart surgery in her homeland before coming to the United States.
Then – during an interview for Harper’s Bazaar – Miss Heigl made not one, but two ill-considered statements about heart defects:
“Her heart is 100 percent fine now. She has a scar, so she won’t be wearing bikinis, which is fine by us.”
Oh my word, where do I start? Obviously Miss Heigl is not a Funky Heart! reader, (Shame on her!) because if she was, she would know that no one with a CHD is “fine” after surgery. A person living with a Congenital Heart Defect has issues that surgery can not correct – even though their heart functions well enough to sustain life, there are still underlying structural defects in the heart itself. These need to be monitored throughout your lifetime.
Her second comment can be interpreted in two different ways. I can find no reason why an 18 month old girl needs to be wearing a bikini, so if that is what she meant, I agree. But Miss Heigl strikes me as someone to who appearance means a lot. She is in a business that places a great value on physical beauty, after all. (“I try, but I’m not nailing the baby fashion. It’s intimidating,” she said later in the interview) I am afraid that Naleigh is going to grow up thinking her heart surgery scar is a mark of shame.
And that is not true. Scars are a mark of battles fought – and won. I have stripped my sleeve and shown you my scars right here on this blog. A woman won’t just show the world her scars, but she sees them in a mirror. And if she is fortunate one day that special someone will ask her why she has a scar. Hopefully at that moment she won’t hold her head in shame, but rather talk about how she won the battle and tamed a monster.