Charlie Beswick is a mum with a vision of a dynamic mission she is determined to fulfil. After giving birth to twins Oliver and Harry it soon became apparent life was never to be the same again, not because parenthood had become a reality, but because Harry was born with Goldenhar syndrome, a rare condition which means that Harry was born with no eye, eye socket, ear or nostril on the left side and an underdeveloped jaw. Since the birth of her children, Charlie has battled not only with discrimination against Harry, who also has Autism, global learning delay and is non-verbal, but also with her own struggles and fears of becoming a parent of – in her own words – “a very special child.”
Now the supply teacher has self-published a book – “Our Altered Life” which tells the story of Charlie and her experiences so far with her twins. The book not only aims to spread the word about living with Goldenhar syndrome, but to also reach out to mothers who face their own struggles after giving birth and finding themselves living a life they hadn’t expected.
Charlie herself struggled with post natal depression and admits some days were dark with no light at the end of the tunnel. The pressure she felt was intense and that is one of the reasons she wanted to spread the word through her book.
“I was sat in a hairdressers one day and read an article in a magazine, the boys were about 18 months old, said Charlie, of Biddulph.
“The article was about a woman who had a son with a syndrome similar to Goldenhar. She spoke about how she accepted her son and had an overwhelming surge of love. I did not feel like that and I thought if I had read that article after the birth I would have felt worse. I’m not saying that woman’s story wasn’t true but I knew it wasn’t how I felt or how everybody feels.
“The book I have written is something I wanted to read at the start, a true journey. There is still a massive stigma around depression and post natal depression. I thought it was important I was honest.
“I did struggle, it was not the life I’d imagined and I think there is power in being honest.”
The book also aims to give an insight into the lives of not just parents but brothers and sisters growing up in a family where a member has an illness or syndrome such as Goldenhar.
“Sometimes I don’t think siblings get enough credit. I wanted to give an understanding of the whole family unit and how it impacts everybody.”
As well as her book, Charlie also writes a regular blog at where she posts twice a week.
“I started the blog in May 2017. As the book came to an end the journey continued and I still want to share things to people and engage with the community.”
The book, Our Altered Life took Charlie almost 10 years from start to finish, and now that project has been completed, the doting mother is setting her sights further afield as her mission continues.
“I have set up a charity – “More Than A Face”. I want to go into schools and do workshops on facial disfigurement and to raise the profile. I am very passionate about that. “I want people to be more accepting and less judgemental, to have a bit more empathy,” said Charlie.
“Ultimately I would like to educate a generation now so it filters down for years to come. As parents, we teach our children what we believe.
“My son is soon going to be a vulnerable adult and I’m not going to be here to protect him. I want to leave him a better world to live in.”
Funding can be a problem when you are doing projects like this, but that is the same with all charities.”
Public speaking is another platform Charlie is working hard at with bookings being taken!
For more information on Charlie and her book visit www.ouralteredlife.com