Even though they aren’t getting much sleep, the three stars of Little Women: L.A., each of whom recently welcomed a baby, have more pressing concerns. Briana Renee, whose son is now three months old, adds, “Maverick did a full on smile the other day.” “My heart melted, and I forgot about all the times I was furious or that he was sᴄʀᴇᴀᴍing an hour before. That one moment made it all worthwhile.” Renee, like her co-stars Elena Gant (who has five-month-old twin boys Xavier and Kairo) and Terra Jolé, who delivered her second kid, a boy named Grayson D’Artagnan, in August, had a bumpy path to parenthood.
Renee, who was 27 weeks pregnant when she learned she had a ʙᴏᴡᴇʟ ʙʟᴏᴄᴋᴀɢᴇ that ᴊᴇᴏᴘᴀʀᴅɪᴢᴇᴅ both her and her unborn baby’s life, says, “My pregnancy was a battle from the start.” Renee recalls, “My son was literally kinking my insides.” “I had to go on bed rest and walk with a walker, but I was prepared to go to any length to ensure that my baby arrived in good health. It was the most ᴛᴇʀʀɪfʏɪɴɢ moment of my life, but I had to be as courageous as I could at the same time.” Renee reports that Maverick was born “small yet healthy.” Renee and Maverick both have ᴀᴄʜᴏɴᴅʀᴏᴘʟᴀsɪᴀ, a form of ᴅᴡᴀʀꜰɪsᴍ. Despite the fact that Renee’s husband, Matt Grundhoffer, is of normal height, the chances of her having a kid with ᴅᴡᴀʀꜰɪsᴍ were significant.
Women with ᴅᴡᴀʀꜰɪsᴍ face a higher ʀɪsᴋ of pregnancy in general, and most infants must be delivered through C-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ due to the curvature of the mother’s pelvis. Gant had a very uncomplicated pregnancy until she was diagnosed with preᴇᴄʟᴀᴍᴘsɪᴀ, a condition marked by high ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ pressure, and had to deliver her kids six weeks early. Xavier spent seven days in the NICU and Kairo ten. “The toughest part was that Xavier got to go home first, but Kairo was still in the NICU,” Gant explains. It had been a tense few days. “All I wanted was to bring my children home.”
Gant, like Renee and Jolé, hasn’t yet confirmed with a doctor whether her sons have a type of ᴅᴡᴀʀꜰɪsᴍ (her husband, actor Preston Gant, is average size), but she says she’s ready to educate her boys how to grow up in a society where they’re regarded as unusual. “I’ll tell them that no matter how other people react to them, this is you,” Gant adds. “Yes, they’ll need bulletproof vests, but clichés like that have no place in real life. And if their hearts are ᴄʀᴜsʜᴇᴅ, they may come to us and tell us about it because Mommy and Daddy will always understand.”
“All I worry about is them being healthy,” says Jolé, who has a 19-month-old daughter Penelope with ᴀᴄʜᴏɴᴅʀᴏᴘʟᴀsɪᴀ but doesn’t know if Grayson D’Artagnan has a kind of ᴅᴡᴀʀꜰɪsᴍ. After a difficult pregnancy with Penelope, who also has ʜʏᴅʀᴏᴄᴇᴘʜᴀʟᴜs, a ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ that can result in lifelong brain ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇ, the fact that her son is doing well is all that matters. Jolé, who is married to actor Joe Gnoffo, adds, “I always wanted to be a parent, but I never thought the moment was right.” “I fell in love with parenting after that, and all I want to do now is be their mother.”