'The Paralyzed Bride' Answered Some Pretty Personal Questions From Strangers
In 2010, Rachelle Friedman was celebrating her bachelorette party at a friend’s house when her best friend innocently pushed her into the pool. Friedman hit the bottom of the pool headfirst and endured a C6 spinal cord injury, causing her to become a quadriplegic. Paralyzed from the chest down, she can move her arm and neck muscles but is unable to stand, walk or move her fingers.
On May 27, 2015, Friedman hosted a compelling AMA (“Ask Me Anything”), a popular series on Reddit where users can ask people questions about any topic. Friedman is promoting her memoir, “The Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty and Friendship.” The AMA prompted a wide range of discussions including how she cares for her baby, how she’s adapted since the accident and what her relationship with the friend who pushed her is like today.
The Mighty decided to compile some of our favorite questions and responses pertaining to Friedman’s life as a quadriplegic. In the responses below, Friedman candidly addresses topics like why she chose to have a child, her most difficult post-injury adjustment and how she feels when strangers try to help her when she’s out in public.
5. “My very good friend broke his neck a month ago. It did not sever the cord and he has limited mobility of his arms but nothing below. He has gone through three surgeries and there is still a lot of swelling. He is optimistic that he will make a full recovery, and the doctors haven’t ruled that out, but there is a good chance he won’t. What advice would you give him?”
I’m just grateful I can use my arms and that I don’t have a brain injury. He needs to be prepared for it to go either way. If he has had any improvement whatsoever and it’s only been a month, that is good news. I’d suggest he visit the Care Cure Community. It’s a spinal cord injury message board.
6. “How long did it take you to come to terms with the accident? It looks like you have done so wonderfully.”
You never really accept it. Well, I haven’t anyways. I just decided to focus on the good things, like my awesome relationship.
7. “Okay, how can I put this delicately? Don’t you feel that having a child is a little selfish? I’m sure you’ve convinced yourself that it will be fine or that love is all that matters, but I think the reality is that even on your best days your daughter will be short-changed.”
I’m glad you asked this to give me an opportunity to answer. Would you question the ability of a single parent to raise a child? My husband could do this on his own without me, but I have more to offer than ‘love fixes everything.’ Ask any single parent in America if they had someone to help them change diapers, stay awake with a fussy baby or feed the baby while they did errands or took a shower. But even if I was paralyzed from the neck down, I do have a husband, and he is a capable father. Luckily, that is not the case for us.
8. “Do you find it to be helpful or condescending (or both or neither) when strangers try to help you when you’re out in public? For example, at a store or restaurant?”
*Some questions and responses have been shortened and edited.
Learn more about Friedman’s story in the video below:
And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.