Rachelle Friedman Chapman’s life changed drastically after a friend playfully pushed her into a pool at her bachelorette party in 2010, severely injuring the bride-to-be. Chapman broke her neck and was paralyzed from the chest down.
The 31-year-old, dubbed the “paralyzed bride” by the Internet after her story went viral, has since welcomed a daughter via surrogate, written a book about her life, and shared her journey in other ways with millions around the world.
Her optimistic attitude is inspiring, and probably one of the reasons she’s found so much success despite the obvious obstacles. Her most recent achievement? In a recent TLC special, #Rattled: A Paralyzed Mother’s Story, Chapman revealed her desire to take a family picture in which she is standing alongside her husband and daughter — and she actually did it.
It wasn’t easy, but the show documented Chapman meeting with a doctor to try out a custom brace that would allow her to stand for a family picture. “I have this dream, this vision, that I would have a standing photo with Chris and my baby, just like a regular family,” she said.
Although she was aware of her doctor’s concerns for her safety in taking the photograph, Chapman was still intent on getting the shot, since she hopes it will help her daughter to see her as strong. “I want to keep growing for my daughter,” she confessed. “I want her to see a strong, independent mother, a strong woman that I want her to grow up to be. It’s really important to me that she sees that.”
Despite the difficulty Chapman faced when testing out the brace during the show, she was ultimately able to get the pic. She recently shared a sweet image from the photo shoot of her family and detailed how important the moment was to her.
“This was a beautiful scene where I stood with a brace under my dress and had an awesome family photo shoot! It’s a lot of work for me to do because after you sit for so many years your body does not want to straighten out,” she wrote in the caption on Instagram. “I absolutely love this picture with my family and I hope you do too!”
The Instagram post was met with positive responses from viewers and fans, with many praising the mother for her strength. “You’re such an inspiration, not only to others with disability and challenges, but to any woman that’s ever wanted to be a mom. Nothing can stop a determined mom. Continue making it happen. You’re awesome!” user bravo06romeo commented.
Another user commented on the profound impact of the TLC special: “I cried so many times! Absolutely beautiful,” Alex wrote. “Since I’ve become injured 5 years ago — knowing someday I’d want to get married and become a mother — I always wondered how I’d do it. Following your story has helped me gain confidence that I can be such a wonderful mother someday if not better because of the things I can teach and instill in my children from what I’ve experienced with this injury. God Bless Rachelle! You truly are an inspiration to other women.”
In the Instagram post, Chapman also urged her followers to contact TLC if they were interested in the network following the family’s daily life. “I’ve had many people ask me if there’s going to be more shows and that would be up to TLC. If it’s something you’d like to see then you should let them know!” she wrote.
Related: ‘Paralyzed Bride’ Welcomes a Baby