Topeka Rogers Robison, a 32-year-old Quality Analyst from Dallas, Texas, and her husband, entrepreneur Justin, 34, have been together for 17 years since their high school days. Their journey took an exciting turn with the birth of their baby girl, Jireh. Throughout Topeka’s pregnancy, they diligently attended regular doctor’s appointments and underwent various tests to ensure a smooth pregnancy.
In June 2021, Jireh was born as a happy and healthy baby. However, the couple initially had concerns as Jireh was born with dark spots all over her skin. Their doctors quickly reassured them that these marks were superficial and that Jireh was perfectly healthy. Jireh was diagnosed with Congenital Melanocytic Nevus (CMN), a condition characterized by visible pigmented (melanocytic) proliferations on the skin present at birth.
While the condition does put Jireh at risk of melanoma, it is not hereditary and is caused by the faulty development of pigment cells in the first trimester of pregnancy. CMN occurs in approximately one percent of infants worldwide and carries an increased risk of melanoma.
Topeka and Justin began sharing photos of their daughter on Instagram to keep their family updated. However, Jireh’s unique appearance garnered attention, and her Instagram account, @_jirehjoy_, now boasts over 7,000 followers.
Topeka and Justin, aged 32 and 34, respectively, hold hopes that their daughter will grow up in a world that is more accepting of differences. They are delighted to showcase their beautiful child to the world and look forward to a future that embraces diversity. “Justin and I are high school sweethearts. We dated for nine years and celebrated our eight-year wedding anniversary in February,” said Topeka. “After attending college and working in separate states, we married and settled in Dallas in 2013. In 2019, we became pregnant with our first child, Justice. Although she was born prematurely at twenty-eight weeks, her prognosis was excellent, and she was expected to make a full recovery.”
“We lost her unexpectedly at four weeks old. Five months later, we learned that we were pregnant with Jireh. While still mourning, we embarked on the process of a high-risk pregnancy. I had numerous appointments and tests to ensure the safety of this pregnancy. Jireh was born at thirty-eight weeks and two days via a planned caesarean section.”
“My husband saw her first due to the surgery screen being pulled up. His first words were, ‘What’s that on her face?’ My heart dropped when he said that because of the loss we had just experienced. But once my doctor said it was just pigmentation marks and she wasn’t in pain, my heart relaxed. The moment he said it was just skin pigmentation, nothing else mattered. It meant that my baby wasn’t in danger of dying. I couldn’t fathom losing another daughter.”
Jireh was born shortly after her sister passed away, as she was born prematurely. The moment my husband laid her on me, all was right with the world. Jireh is perfectly healthy, and all her tests have come back normal. Topeka and Justin plan to continue showing Jireh that her skin is beautiful, and they are pleased to see that other people think so too.
“I don’t worry as much as I would have if she were growing up when we did. I personally cannot remember any classmates with noticeable skin conditions. I’ve connected with several parents of children with similar conditions and learned about their experiences. I feel like she will not feel alone,” Topeka said.
“Today’s generation is all about inclusion and embracing differences. There are so many stars like Winnie Harlow and Seal, whose skin looks different. They’re still accepted for their talents. I’m sure she will receive some less-than-favorable comments, but her confidence will be able to withstand ignorance. Most adults tend to ask about her skin if they are curious, and we don’t mind educating them.”
“I had one neighbor’s kid say that she looked yucky, but I didn’t react to his comment and talked with his mom about it later. CMN is just a condition. It doesn’t define Jireh or make her less than anyone without it. My hopes for her are endless. I pray that we can be the best parents to her and grant her heart’s desires. I talk to her about it. I treat her like any other child because she is any other child.”
“I call her beautiful because she is. I love her skin, and I let her know that every day. I will teach her that nobody’s opinion of her matters except her own. Confidence is key. My parents instilled in me that I was beautiful, and we plan to do the same for her.”
Jireh’s story is a testament to the power of love, acceptance, and parental support. As society progresses towards greater inclusivity, stories like Jireh’s inspire us to celebrate and embrace our differences, fostering a more compassionate and understanding world for all.