Today we have a very special treat on the blog! Missy Robertson, Mom of Duck Dynasty fame, is releasing her new book next week (October 6, 2015) and reached out to CCA to tell us a little bit more about the story, which includes embracing the cranio journey with daughter Mia, who was born with a cleft lip & palate. Known for their family and faith, the Robertsons desire to bring awareness and attention to children with facial differences and as such, wanted to be a part of Craniofacial Acceptance Month. Below you'll find CCA's exclusive interview with the author and some great photos, too.
CCA: When did you start writing the book and what made you decide to write it?
MR: I started writing this book, Blessed, Blessed... Blessed, with Beth Clark in November of 2014. The reason I wanted to write it was due, in part, to the overwhelming response our family received from the “Stand By Mia” episode of A&E’s Duck Dynasty that aired in March of 2014. I didn’t realize how little people knew about this condition and about the stigma involved with cleft lip/cleft palate. Because it is a facial deformity, it is difficult for people to talk about. But because of the publicity of Mia’s surgery and the openness that our family has to expose our real lives, we were able to bring awareness to this condition and show how we’ve trusted in God to guide us through the entire journey with our daughter.
CCA: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
MR: I write like I read, and I read like it’s in real time. I like to picture the people that I’m reading about, and I imagine them actually talking to me so that I can fully understand it. Since we don’t always talk in complete sentences, sometimes I write in broken sentences for emphasis. I’m sure my editors don’t appreciate that quite as much as I do!
CCA: How did becoming a parent change you?
MR: Jase and I waited almost five years before having our first baby, and I personally did many things to prepare for him. I went to parenting classes at church, read parenting books and got much advice. However, I soon realized that having a baby doesn’t just change your life, it can turn your whole world upside down! Being solely responsible for another human life is an incredible responsibility; and until you engage in it yourself, you just can’t understand fully what it is like, no matter how much you prepare!
CCA: What advice would you give to new families just beginning the cranio journey?
MR: The best advice I can give is to take each step or phase one at a time. Do not get bogged down in the entire life-long plan. Each child is different, and there is no way of knowing exactly what the future holds. Enjoy the good times in between the hard times. There are many!
CCA: How do you celebrate the child you have and let go of “wishing for a normal life” for him or her?
MR: When you truly love your child, it doesn’t take long to fully accept them the way they are and the way they were made. At first diagnosis, when I was still pregnant, all I could think about what how to fix her or change her into what I believed she was supposed to be. But after she was born and I began to know her as an individual with her own unique personality, it did not take long to realize how much I loved Mia just the way she was. Sure, we needed to take care of her medical condition in order to give her the best quality of life possible, but we loved her solely for the fact that she was our daughter.
CCA: Can you elaborate on “fixable” vs. “manageable” problems?
MR: Because neither Jase nor I knew anything about the condition of cleft lip/palate, we just assumed that you can just “fix” this problem like you do a broken bone or a bad cut. Our eyes were quickly opened during our first visit to the International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas when Mia was 17 days old. She was poked and prodded by surgeons, doctors and medical staff all day long- all looking for possible related conditions and syndromes. Thankfully, nothing else was found with Mia, but we were also told that this would be a long journey, possibly until she stops growing in her teenage years, possibly longer.
CCA: How do you balance fiercely advocating and defending your child with modeling kindness and respect for others?
MR: Thankfully, we have had very little negativity against Mia in her circle of life. We have a strong church family, a wonderful Christian school and a very supportive physical family who all have Mia’s back when it comes to her condition. The biggest negativity would probably come from social media. For example, I chose to delete my Instagram account due to some mean and negative comments that young people would post about Mia. Other social media sites have proven to be very supportive and encouraging, like Twitter and Facebook. I have to be very cautious about our public role and subjecting my daughter to undue negative and ignorant comments. Again, this is another reason we would like to bring awareness to this condition.
CCA: What does your family think of your writing?
MR: My family is super supportive about this book! Jase helped me stay on point through every chapter. He would read it and critique it before I turned it in to my editors. My dad can only read a little at a time because he gets so emotional remembering each step of our journey. My sisters-in-law have been encouraging and proud of how Mia has handled herself so far in this journey and know it is a story that should be told.
CCA: For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
MR: I read both out of paper book and ebooks, just depending on how quick I can get my hands on something I want to read.
CCA: What is your favorite quote?
MR: One of my favorite quotes is from a mentor of mine from over 20 years ago. She said, “The best thing you can do for your children is to love their daddy.” I have tried my best to put that into practice and show my kids how much I do love Jase.
CCA: What is your favorite book and why?
MR: One of my favorite books at this time in my life is Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus”. I was skeptical at first, but I decided to read it, and I am so glad I did. It is told from an historical point of view and tells so much about the conditions and culture of the Jews before Jesus’ birth. It truly showed me how much the people were crying out for a Savior to relieve them and redeem them and to save them from cruel and power-hungry Pharaohs and emperors. I highly recommend it to everyone, Christian and non-believers alike.
MR: Find me on the web at these locations below...
Facebook: Missy West RobertsonTwitter: @missyduckwife
Missy’s bio: Missy Robertson stars in the record-breaking reality television series A&E’s Duck Dynasty. She is a devoted mother, a sought-after public speaker, and the creator of her own clothing line. She participates in mission work in the United States and internationally, including serving with an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. She is cofounder of the Mia Moo Fund, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds to help domestic children and their families affected by cleft lip and palate. Missy and Jase have been married for twenty-five years and live in West Monroe, Louisiana, with their three children: Reed, Cole, and Mia.