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‘Paralyzed Bride’ Rachelle Friedman Chapman defies odds to become mom in TLC special

Rachelle and husband David speak to the cameras on TLC's Rattled: A Paralyzed Mother's Story
Rachelle and husband David speak to the cameras on TLC’s Rattled: A Paralyzed Mother’s Story

The emotional and inspiring story of “Paralyzed Bride” Rachelle Friedman Chapman is told in detail on TLC tonight — in a one-hour special titled Rattled: A Paralyzed Mother’s Story.

Rachelle’s life changed forever in 2010 just four weeks before her wedding to college sweetheart Chris when at her bachelorette party a friend playfully pushed her into a swimming pool, leaving her with a broken neck.

Rachelle, now 31, suffered irreversible damage to her spinal cord, leaving her as a quadriplegic for the rest of her life.

But as she says on the TLC special: “The first question that came to my mind was, ‘Can I still have kids?”

Rachelle and Chris have since married, and A Paralyzed Mother’s Story focuses on their journey to becoming parents, using her college friend Laurel Humes as a surrogate, along with new problems Rachelle faces after becoming a mum in May 2015.

Because she can’t walk and has no dexterity in her hands, she struggles to hold or feed her daughter Kaylee — but through her inner strength she and Chris, 34, are determined to make their parenthood a success.

Rachelle’s accident captured the public’s imagination, and she went on to pen a book about her experiences released in 2015 and titled The Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty, and Friendship.

On the TLC special Rachelle, of Knightdale, North Carolina, recalls the moment her life changed in a split second, saying: “I was standing on the edge of the pool. In a playful gesture one of my friends came up behind me and pushed me into the water.

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“I hit my head on the bottom and…I broke my neck. In a split second my life changed. My body was paralyzed — and it was the most terrifying, life-changing moment that I think anyone could imagine.

“I had these tubes down my throat, a feeding tube and a breathing tube, and I looked kind of scary. But the first question that came to my mind was, ‘can I still have kids?’.”

Rachelle also talks about the incredible bond she shares with her soul-mate Chris and how they worked together to create a life for themselves despite their setbacks.

She says: “Not for a second did I think that Chris would leave, or want to leave, and so it never even crossed my mind that we wouldn’t be together.”

Rattled: A Paralyzed Mother’s Story airs tonight, January 23, at 10/9c on TLC.

Julian Cheatle

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