Motherhood is rarely a straight and narrow line. In fact, it’s the bizarre twists and turns that make it interesting and sometimes downright remarkable. Ordinary mothers placed in extraordinary circumstances can make for effective and even astonishing tales that challenge all sense of logic. Yet these 15 cases depicted below are all true stories involving actual individuals.
Readers should prepare themselves because what they are about to read may have them confronting and even questioning their belief systems. And don’t be surprised if a few heartstrings are tugged along the way. The stories comprising this list are a mix of happy, tragic, light and heavy that make for a riveting read. There’s point #7 which defies all rationale; point #13 which comes complete with a quirky twist; and point #1 which focuses on the power of a mother’s love...even when it means paying the ultimate price.
One thing is certain - all the mothers showcased in this article share a love and bond to their children so substantial that it goes above and beyond a mere physical realm. The transcending power may amaze and even astound readers; it may give them reason for pause; it may even inspire a few tears. As readers will learn, the mighty bond between mother and child is virtually unbreakable. Here are 15 real life mothers you just won’t believe.
15 Lost And Found
Philadelphia area mother Luzaida Cuevas gave birth to a daughter in 1997. Ten days later, a horrible fire claimed the newborn’s life. Firefighters at the scene told Luzaida that her tiny daughter’s body had been completely incinerated. Something didn’t sit right with this new mom and she was highly suspicious. First off, the fire was mysterious and apparently had started in the nursery - and now there were no remains at the scene. But the case was considered closed and Luzaida had no recourse considering she didn’t have money for a lawyer or investigators.
Fast forward six years later to a family birthday party where Luzaida came face to face with a little girl. A girl, who in her heart of hearts she believed was her lost daughter. Knowing how crazy she’d seem if she sounded an alarm, Luzaida took matters into her own hands. She secretly plucked a few strands of the child’s hair which she quickly placed in a napkin and took for DNA testing. Her hunch proved right.
It turned out one of her distant relatives had kidnapped the baby and then set the fire to cover her tracks. This story has a happy ending though as mother and daughter have since been reunited.
14 Upside Down
A Polish mother-to-be basically gave birth standing on her head when told it was in the best interest of her two babies. Okay - that may be a bit of exaggeration. It all started when Joanna Krysztonek, carrying triplets, went into premature labor at 21 weeks. Doctors immediately gave her medication in an attempt to stave off labor but it was too late for one of the babies who was stillborn. But that didn’t stop Joanna and her healthcare team from fighting to save the precious two that remained in utero.
Put on complete bed rest, Joanna had her bed tilted at a 30 degree angle (with her feet up) in order to reduce the likelihood of further contractions. This is how she spent the next 75 days - she wasn’t even allowed to get up to visit the bathroom!
When she reached the 32 week mark, Joanna underwent a C-section and delivered a healthy baby girl and boy. According to Joanna, everything leading up to the babies’ delivery was worth it - as a mother she was willing to do whatever it took to give them a fighting chance.
13 Switching It Up
Thomas Beatie and wife Nancy share three children. The twist? Thomas carried all three and gave birth to them to boot! Born a woman in 1974, Thomas made the decision to change gender in 1998. As fate would have it, he kept his female reproductive organs which proved extremely handy when Nancy was unable to bear children. So like any wonderful father would do if he could - he stepped up to the plate.
At first it proved difficult for this Arizona area couple to find a doctor willing to suspend judgement in order to help them become an unconventional family. But they persevered and Thomas gave birth to daughter Susan in 2008 followed closely by two more children. Sadly, the couple has since divorced and Thomas is remarried and thinking about adding another child to the mix. This time, he and his new wife plan on taking the typical route.
On an interesting side note, despite carrying and birthing his three children, Thomas has said it never affected his sense of manhood or masculinity - talk about getting in touch with his feminine side!
12 Bad Kitty
In 2009, Maureen Lee and three-year-old daughter Maya were out for a walk with their dog in Fisherman’s Park in Squamish, B.C. when she saw a cougar approaching. At first, Maureen mistook it for another dog. By the time she could register that it was a dangerous predator, the cougar pounced on Maya and had her on her back with its paws on her head. Maureen reacted with lightning speed and wedged herself in between the cat and her daughter. Then with all the strength she could muster, threw the cougar off of her, grabbed Maya and ran for dear life.
Maya ended up suffering only minor puncture wounds to her arm and head and was confused by the fact that the big kitty wouldn’t “play nice”. In the end, the outcome could have been so much worse had it not been for Maureen’s (pardon the pun) cat-like reflexes.
11 Tidal Wave Of Terror
While vacationing in paradise, an Australian woman made a split-second and utterly unthinkable decision which ended up saving her children’s lives. It was 2004 and Jillian Searle and her family were in Thailand when they found themselves caught in a tsunami that ended up claiming the lives of more than 226,000 people.
Jillian was down at the pool with her two sons - Lachie (then five) and Blake (two) when she heard a loud noise that turned out to be rushing water. She grabbed her boys and quickly ran into the hotel lobby where they attempted to find safety. But it was difficult for the three of them to stay together and for Jillian to keep both boys as well as herself afloat. So she instinctively made the agonizing decision which still haunts her today. She let go of Lachie.
Her belief was that he’d have a fighting chance at survival because of his age, compared to his toddler brother. When all was said and done, Jillian and Blake were rescued and she began searching for Lachie whom she feared was dead. But miraculously he had managed to grab hold of a door for three hours before being rescued.
10 To Love And Protect
Faced with the knowledge that she was about to lose her children, Joy Veron reacted quickly and saved their lives at a great price. In 1999, Joy was vacationing with family in the Colorado mountains when her three children (aged seven, five and two) climbed into the family’s SUV and it accidentally slipped into gear. As the vehicle began rolling toward a cliff over top of a deep canyon, Joy threw herself into the car’s path. It rolled over top of her but her body slowed the car’s momentum enough for her father to jump behind the wheel and pull the emergency brake.
While the kids were shaken yet safe, Joy’s body was shattered. The past 18 years have proven a long and arduous road to recovery for her. Paralyzed, Joy has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. While her body may still be broken, her spirit is intact thanks to her children’s lives being spared due to her quick reaction to protect them at all costs.
9 The Mother Of All Intuition
Sometimes a mother’s hunch is so much more. As proven by this story recounted by writer Anna Lind Thomas about her own mother. The Nebraska area woman was in kindergarten when her mother got a gut feeling she just couldn’t ignore. Typically, Anna would walk home from school with friends. But on this particular day, her mother was inexplicably uncomfortable at the thought. Instead, she opted to make the quick drive to pick Anna up herself.
When Anna saw her mother waiting outside the school for her, she unknowingly stepped directly into the path of a speeding truck. Her mother reacted quickly, shoving her out of the way and getting run down herself. In a surprise twist, her mother not only survived the impact but shockingly only suffered minor injuries.
In the end, a mysterious internal voice had told her to “go” - she had listened to it and acted on it. And as a result, ended up saving her daughter’s life.
8 Matters Of Death And Life
It was Christmas Eve 2009 and Tracy Hermanstorfer was in labor with her first child. Tracy was in good health which was why it came as a shock when she went into cardiac arrest. The medical team jumped into action and immediately began resuscitation attempts but she remained unresponsive. They then prepared to perform an emergency C-section because time was of the essence. The longer her baby remained in utero with Tracy’s heart stopped, the more likely he was to suffer brain damage. Her son Coltyn was born 15 minutes later, limp and unresponsive.
As hospital staff were attempting to revive Coltyn, Tracy took a breath. At the same time, a faint pulse was detected in Baby Coltyn. In the span of only minutes, Tracy’s devastated husband Mike West went from believing two of his loved ones were gone to realizing his family was getting a miraculous second chance. “It has changed my life,” Mike said. “You don’t take anything for granted.”
7 Supermom To The Rescue
Angela Cavallo, a woman in her mid-50s channeled her inner super woman in order to save the life of her teenaged son, Tony. It was 1982 - Angela’s 17-year-old son was tinkering under a 1964 Chevy Impala when the jack slipped and the car fell, pinning him beneath. Angela said a quick prayer and then heaved the car up by four crucial inches. She attempted to rouse Tony with her foot (all while holding the car up and off him) but he was unconscious.
Fortunately a neighborhood boy quickly ran for help while Angela continued to hold the car up. When help arrived, they were able to pull Tony to safety. A devoutly religious woman, Angela felt it was the power of her prayer that not only provided her with the necessary strength to save her son but also kept him from being seriously injured. The lesson learned is don’t mess with a mother’s love - it’s powerful stuff!
6 Labor Of Love
Dealing with devastating infertility, 36-year-old Chicago woman Sara Connell and her husband received help from an unlikely source. Desperately trying to have a family of their own, Sara had just suffered the late-term loss of twins followed by another miscarriage when her doctor delivered some more heartbreaking news to the couple - if they were to ever have a child, they would most likely require a surrogate.
This is where Sara’s 61-year-old mother Kristine Casey became involved. She offered up her uterus to Sara’s future baby, Kristine’s future grandchild. And despite being menopausal for the previous 10 years, Kristine was able to carry the embryo created from Sara’s egg and her husband’s sperm to term. While at first, medical staff were somewhat concerned by Kristine’s age and possible complications, all worked out. She ended up giving birth to a healthy, seven pound baby boy in 2011 - her grandson!
5 Leaplings Abound
One thing two moms who live in two different countries appear to share is that their uteruses are hardwired to bear children on an unusual day every fourth year. While most people may not pay much notice to leap year, February 29th plays a big part in the life of Norway’s Henriksen family. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, they hold the official record of having the most children born as leaplings as all three of their children were born on consecutive leap days. Heidi was born on February 29th, 1960, son Olav in 1964 and second son Leif-Martin in 1968.
Three Estes siblings from Utah - Xavier, Remington and Jade - are all born on February 29th as well - in 2004, 2008 and 2012 respectively. But this fact remains undocumented and as a result, unofficial in the eyes of the Guinness World Records.
4 A Terminal Diagnosis
Mother of a four-year-old daughter, Cheryl Anderson was just 32 when she was faced with a devastating cancer diagnosis. She also happened to be two months pregnant. Her doctor advised her to terminate the pregnancy and focus her energy on beating the cancer. But Cheryl felt a connection as well as an obligation to this unborn child - and she wasn’t about to have an abortion.
Cheryl underwent surgery in order to remove a tumor from her neck but refused any medications that may have caused harm to the fetus - including pain relievers as well as chemotherapy. As her health faded, her spirit was buoyed by the thought of the life she was growing inside of her.
Six months into the pregnancy, doctors became concerned that Cheryl would die, placing her unborn baby in danger. So despite the baby being somewhat under-developed, they performed an emergency C-section and Cheryl’s second daughter, Taylor was born. Cheryl was shown a polaroid of the baby which she acknowledged with a weak smile before falling into a coma. A few hours later, she slipped away in her husband’s arms - but with the knowledge that her maternal instinct had proven successful.
3 Tree Of Death
If it hadn’t been for an unexplained and silent warning, both Tanya Tyler as well as her nine-month-old baby would have found themselves struck down - literally. It was a typical weekday for this Spokane, Washington area woman and her daughter. They were in the living room where Tanya was folding laundry when a voice in her mind suddenly urged her to “RUN!”
Without thinking, Tanya simply reacted to the stern internal message. She grabbed her daughter and left the room just as a tree crashed through her ceiling. It landed on top of the laundry - where she and her baby had been only seconds earlier.
Half of her home was demolished, her clean laundry was once again filthy, yet Tanya summed up her feelings about the entire incident quite succinctly: “So grateful at this moment for my life, for the baby’s life.”
2 Mother Knows Best
Trusting her gut is what saved Beth Clemison’s unborn child. It was 2014 and this British expectant mother was 35 weeks pregnant. She was concerned as her baby seemed to be moving less than usual. Friends and family tried to calm her nerves by explaining that the baby was bigger now and probably just had less wiggle room than before. But Beth’s spidey senses were on high alert so she took herself to the hospital.
Doctors listened to the baby’s heart beat during two separate examinations, declared both mother and fetus to be in fine form and told Beth to go home and wait for labor to begin. But Beth’s motherly intuition just wasn’t having it. She stood her ground and demanded an ultrasound which the medical team finally agreed to.
To everyone’s surprise, the test revealed that most of the amniotic fluid protecting the baby in utero had drained away. Beth was scheduled for an emergency C-section and her son Theo was born two days later. He was a healthy baby - all thanks to his mother’s keen intuition and her refusal to back down.
1 The Ultimate Sacrifice
Her name may ring a bell for music lovers out there. Kirsty MacColl was an English singer and songwriter who may be best known for the 1987 Christmas song “Fairytale of New York” which she performed with The Pogues. But what many may not realize is her life was tragically cut short in 2000.
On vacation with her partner and two sons (then 13 and 15) in Cozumel, Mexico, the family was scuba diving in a cordoned off area. A high-speed power boat broke into the restricted area and Kirsty’s eldest son was in its direct path. Without a second thought, she grabbed onto her son to shield him from the impact. As a result, Kirsty was struck by the boat’s propeller and killed instantly. Her son suffered minor head and rib injuries but was alive - all thanks to his mother’s heroic actions which cost her the ultimate price.
To add to the family’s heartbreak, there continues to be controversy regarding who was at the boat’s helm at the time of the accident. While a boat hand has taken the blame and gone to jail for reckless homicide, it is believed he took the fall for the boat’s owner, a wealthy businessman.