It is true that Tori Roloff is a reality TV star, but even people on the small screen go through the same thing that we do. She gave birth to her son Jackson in May 2017. Like Zach, the little angel was born with achondroplasia. This makes him, like his dad and grandparents, a dwarf. Tori knew that this was a possibility from the very beginning, but something about child-rearing took her by complete surprise. What did this Little People, Big World find out? Read on to find out!
Before anything, we want you to know that Tory was prepared to be a mother. Before giving birth to her child, she was actually a kindergarten teacher. She adored the job! She even took to Instagram to talk about missing her “kinders” when she went on maternity leave: “Can’t wait to take baby Roloff back to school to introduce him to the kids he’s listened to the last nine months!” That was what she wrote back in April 2017.
However, she had a different job as well. Aside from being a kindergarten teacher, she was also a star on a reality TV show. She is not quite Kim Kardashian, and neither is Zach Kanye West. The two of them are, more or less, ordinary people. What makes the show so different from others out there, however, is that Zach and his parents have dwarfism. Zach is only 3’1” tall!
When the TV network got in touch with the Roloffs to propose this idea, they decided to take them up on the offer. “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,” Amy Roloff, Zach’s mom, explained to Ability magazine in 2010. “Nothing [else] had depicted dwarfism in an everyday way.”
The show essentially followed the Roloff family as they worked at the business. They owned Roloff Farms, which is located in Oregon. Little People, Big World became a hit and even succeeded in doing what Amy wanted it to do. It truly did enlighten the public. One stranger even came up to Amy to say that the show was helpful when it comes to understanding his baby with the same condition. Amy told Ability, “Just the experience of having watched our show encouraged them and inspired them.”
Things changed when Tori started working on the farm as a part-timer during the fall of 2010. The teacher met Zach, and there was an immediate attraction between the two of them. They were both very shy, but Zach finally decided to ask her out four months later. After this, the rest was history! The lovely couple got engaged in 2014. They took to Instagram to share the good news with their followers.
Zach and Tori tied the knot on the 27th of July in 2015. There were more than a hundred guests in attendance, but TLC was there to film the special event. As you can imagine, Little People, Big World were delighted to hear about this awesome development. Who would have thought that more good news had been on the way? In November 2016, Zach and Tori told People magazine that they were expecting a new member of the family!
Of course, both of them knew that there was a possibility that the child would be born with dwarfism. In one episode of the show, they discussed this. “No parent wants to hear that their child is different, no matter what that is,” Tori explained on that particular episode of Little People, Big World. “But to me, that’s not different,” Zach then said. “He’s just like me.”
They were actually right. Baby Jackson was indeed born with dwarfism. Of course, this did not matter to the happy parents! “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 explained to People in May 2017, just several weeks after the birth of his son. “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.”
The two liked to go on Instagram to celebrate the milestones of their child. They were delighted by the progress he was making. After their little angel turned a month old, Tori posted this and talked about how he was doing. “Jackson is one month old today!” she said. “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.”
In July 2017, Tori made another post. However, it was different from the other posts about their child. No, she spoke about something mothers have to deal with after they give birth. Not many talked about it. “Hands down the hardest thing about being a mom has been breastfeeding. It was something I did not expect. I just figured it would come naturally because it’s what nature intended – I was so wrong.”
“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.” This was not all that she had to say about this difficult ordeal, however. She said, “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.”
We all know that there is nothing unnatural about breastfeeding, but it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the “rules” that came with such an act. It is even more confusing when you want to talk about the act of breastfeeding somewhere in public. Unfortunately, there are reports that women who are unable to breastfeed feel judged by others. This then leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and maybe even the inability to bond with the babies.
At the moment, it is perfectly legal to breastfeed in public spaces in 49 states of the United States. Idaho is the sole exception to the rule. However, this does not change the harassment that women suffer when they do it in public. People take photos of them or even ask them to leave the building premises. Verbal abuse is yet another thing that these women have to deal with. How sad is it to hear that?
About a month after Tori made that post of hers, Amanda Seyfried decided to speak out about breastfeeding as well. “Breastfeeding is awesome. Formula is awesome. Feeding your baby is awesome. Not awesome? Judgement,” she said on Twitter on the 5th of July in 2017. She then posted, “Breasts are intended to feed babies. With all our progress on feminist issues, how can such a simple biological imperative remain so stigmatized?”
Tori wants to hear the answers to that question as well. “I still feel awkward in public when I feed my baby. Why should I?” she said. “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.” Her post attracted the attention of many people.
“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,” an Instagram user said. “Well said… breastfeeding is difficult! I hate the stigma on both accounts,” another person said.
However, there was one interesting comment that showed the other side of the “breast is best” practice. “I work as a nurse in women’s services,” the comment 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.”
It is clear that women still have a lot to do if they want to get rid of the stigmas about breastfeeding. We are glad to hear that people are taking it upon themselves to talk about it as well. Many celebs are going on Instagram to show the way that they nurse the kids. Some famous moms also shared photos of themselves in the act: Chrissy Teigen, Thandie Newton, Gisele Bundchen, and Alanis Morrisette.
At any rate, we are glad to hear that Jackson Roloff is growing up in a happy and loving environment. His parents continue to post his photos to celebrate his milestones. “Jackson is 3 months old! Baby J is so smiley these days!” Tori said on the 13th of August 13 in 2017. “Keep growing, little man! Mom and Dad love you!” As you can see, this is a baby who lucked out when it comes to his parents. They adore him so much!