Mya holding her son, Toriono III. (Courtesy Photo)

The new mother has a message to share with disabled women.

“Going through pregnancy was really something that I wanted to share with other women with disabilities because a lot of people are told that they can’t, so I thought that was something really important,” said Mya Hendrix.

Her story begins like many others where a young girl grows up, in her case, in Kankakee, IL. Then, she moves to another state and settles into a new town, her’s being San Diego, CA. The story continues to sound familiar but like something you’ve seen on the ID Channel.

“From about 14-years-old, after I moved to San Diego, I became addicted to methamphetamine,” said Hendrix. “I was addicted to methamphetamine for about five years or so.”

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Her story continues with a little light at the end of the tunnel.  She got clean for a while, however, Hendrix would unfortunately relapse.

“And in that relapse, I was using for about two months again and hanging out with people that I was friends with in the streets,” said Hendrix.

Her story begins to come to a close when Hendrix shares that one of her friends ends up kidnapping her and holding her for ransom for 24 hours. Eventually, Hendrix was shot three times at the beach and left for dead in the ocean water.

But she survived.

“I did,” said Hendrix. “Praise the Lord.”

This is where her testimony begins, one she wants to share with other women who may be in a similar situation.

“I moved back to Illinois to be with my family as I was a quadriplegic,” said Hendrix. “I was originally classified as a C5 C6, complete quadriplegic.

“I was told that there was less than a 10 percent chance of me ever moving anything below my shoulders.”

Hendrix began to focus on physical therapy and began going to church. Her priorities were getting stronger physically and spiritually. She started going to a program called Celebrate Recovery with her faith becoming the driving force behind her will and determination.

“I was just focused on really getting rid of anything that was hindering my relationship with the Lord,” said Hendrix. “That was what was really, really important to me because I was really grateful.”

Hendrix continued, “I didn’t feel like I deserved to be saved, you know, and I felt the grace and the mercy from the Lord, so I just wanted to show Him that I care and that I was focused on Him.”

It was in the program that she would meet her now husband, Toriono. Hendrix shared that her thoughts of starting a family at the time were vague as there were so many things for her to consider.

“I wasn’t really focused on it at that time, and I didn’t know what I wanted,” said Hendrix. “You know, like before having a disability, I wanted to be a mother one day, but after having a disability, there were a lot of questions.

Mya and her husband, Toriono, with their son during the holidays. (Courtesy Photo)

“It wasn’t really a question of if I could conceive, but it was a question of like, ‘how would I be a mother?’ I don’t have full usage of my body parts, you know, my arms, I can use them, but they are weaker, they are still partially paralyzed.

“So, it was a very unknown thing for me and also I didn’t even want to go through the mental stress of having to adapt different things and figure out how to parent as a mother with a disability.  Would I have a partner that would be down for all of this — care with me and a lot of care with my son or whatever child that I would have had, you know, like when I was thinking about it then.”

God always has His own plans.

“We weren’t intentionally planning on trying to get pregnant,” said Hendrix.

“It was just, one day, funny story, just things with spinal cord injury, sometimes, I have stomach issues, my intestines are partially paralyzed and so I was nauseous for a while and I always figured that it had something to do with my disability until one day, I couldn’t drink my coffee and I was like, ‘Ok, something’s wrong here.’

“That was a big cue for me, and we took a pregnancy test and we then found out we were pregnant and within that brought more questions, too.”

Hendrix shared she was excited, nervous, and concerned as she knew she was a high-risk pregnancy. She reached out to a friend in a similar situation, who had given birth earlier last year. She would eventually get connected with a doctor who had news for her.

“Most women think that they cannot get pregnant or think that they’re too high risk too, but medically speaking, they can,” said Ilina Pluym, a maternal fetal medicine physician at UCLA. “They just need a coordinated team of physicians taking care of them since they do have higher chances of complications but, they certainly can.

“It’s not common, but I think there’s a misconception that they cannot, but if they are taken care of, they certainly can.”

In being a part of Hendrix’s medical care team, Dr. Pluym shared, “I think everything went really smoothly.

“I think she had a really good team of doctors taking care of her. She’s a really great advocate for herself, so she knew herself best and her conditions and brought her symptoms to our attention.

“I think she did great.”

Hendrix wanted to share her story that trials and tribulations can be overcome. She wants other mothers with disabilities to know they can still have a family.

“Despite the challenges that we face as people with disabilities, anything is possible,” said Hendrix. “Our bodies are still able to do so many amazing things.

“They were created by the Lord and they’re still capable, even though they might be disabled. You know, a lot of people may view our bodies as broken, but I believe that they’re exactly where they’re intended to be at this time and our limitations don’t define us.

“I want people to know that they can still have families if that’s what they desire in their lives.”

Dr. Pluym shared that for any women with disabilities, who want to have children, “I think they should all have a preconception visit with their OBGYN, so that’s an appointment before you’re even pregnant.

“You should already talk to your gynecologist and let them know you want to think about it so that we can review your chart, make sure we get you a healthy pregnancy.  Talking to your doctor before you’re pregnant is the safest thing you can do to make sure that you’re teed up to go.”

She added that finding a community of other moms who have or are in similar conditions is always a good support system.

Mya and Toriono are currently living their best life with their five-month-old son, Toriono III.