As you gaze at the bright blue eyes, and cheeks rosy from teething, you might be forgiven for thinking that Poppy Hookway is simply another ridiculously photogenic baby.
But Poppy is far from your average six-month old. She’s making a difference, one high five at a time, all thanks to her lucky fin.
The lucky fin, a concept popularised by the main character in Disney Pixar’s movie, ‘Finding Nemo‘, has become a colloquial expression to describe limb difference. Poppy’s lucky fin is her right arm; the lower part of which failed to form in utero.
If it were not for the strong faith of her parents, and their staunch belief in the dignity and sanctity of life, the world may never have experienced Poppy’s winning and infectious personality.
Anastasia and Greg Hookway, who met while studying at Campion College in Toongabbie, west of Sydney, launched into marriage guided by prayerful discernment and the loving support of their family friends.
Soon, they were expecting their first child. But God called their baby to His Heavenly home.
Then they conceived their ‘rainbow baby’ – a term used to describe the blessing of a child following a miscarriage or pregnancy loss – but this baby’s story would not follow the
It was during the routine 20-week morphology scan that Greg and Anastasia learned that their baby was going to be unique.
“I will always remember the day we were offered termination,” says Anastasia. “Right there the tone was set on how some would value the life of my daughter. Right there my life, and Poppy’s life, exploded in beautiful purpose.”
“In that moment, I was given a choice:
“I could choose to dwell and live in that grief and the ‘what ifs’ of life, or I could choose to take what we’ve been given and make something so beautiful, it’s bound to cause others to stand up and notice.”
Despite the medical advice that claimed Poppy would be deformed and not worth the risk to her mother’s health to carry her to term, that she would be mentally impaired and could have Down Syndrome; the Hookway family took a stand.
“It was as though our baby’s life had no value to them, that she was only the sum of her deficient parts,” says Greg.
“What these medical experts failed to recognise was the value and dignity of her life. But we did, and we fought them. And we’ve never looked back.”
Poppy Therese Hookway entered the world on January 14, 2016, two months early. She is missing her right forearm and hand, but there’s no sign of the mental impairment predicted. In fact, she’s right on track of her milestones and is the petite princess her parents expected from the start.
Now, Poppy’s parents are working towards removing the stigma of limb difference.
“I heard from another mother the other day,” says Anastasia, “who was given a similar bleak outlook at her morphology scan. Somehow she found our page and it has given her the encouragement she needed to welcome her baby.”
They want only to show the dignity of every person and for the wider public to recognise that their daughter, along with so many others with limb difference, are not any less than a blessing. And that, perhaps, we need to change the yardstick of measuring a baby’s health away from counting ten fingers and ten toes.
As Anastasia writes,
“There is so much more to our little girl than a missing arm!”
You can read more about the Hookway’s story by following their Facebook page:
Hi-5 for Poppy, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
*Photo Credit © April Autumn Ashlyn Family Photography and Hookway family.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Shaw is a former ACPA award-winning editor now stay at home mum and blogger at www.youngcatholicmums.com