Chris Prange-Morgan recently appeared on the “Today Show” as an example of mama trauma, a result of mommy burnout. She suffered a traumatic fall that led to the amputation of her leg. That fall might not have happened if she hadn’t been experiencing extreme stress and exhaustion brought on by caring for her son, Kai, who has special needs. He would go into fits of rage that would last for hours at a time.
Those episodes strained Chris mentally. She went rock climbing as a way to clear her mind and de-stress. One day she forgot to clip her harness and fell about 30 feet. The fall broke her nose, pelvis, tibia, and three bones in her back. Chris spent two years and 11 surgeries doing limb salvage. She made the decision that she didn’t want to go through any more surgeries or therapy and her quality of life would be better if they went ahead and amputated her leg.
Chris and her husband married later in life. They adopted a 24-month-old girl, Jade, from China just a year and a half after the wedding. When the family was ready to add another child, they went back to China to adopt their son. The 28-month-old, Kai, showed clear signs that he was failing to thrive. Chris and her husband both had experience in social work, as well as degrees in mental health and psychology. The pair was confident they had the tools needed to help him.
At three years old, the boy was diagnosed with Developmental Trauma Disorder, ADHD, and speech and language disorders. He rejected human touch and eye contact, no doubt a result of extreme neglect, malnutrition, and abuse. Kai would throw himself backward without regard to safety, and he needed to be watched constantly to prevent harm to himself and others.
With years of intense therapy, he has had some improvement. Kai attends school, has a friend, and is learning to form connections with others. Chris is teaching other moms about the importance of self-care.