Nurses and other medical practitioners at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth were left in awe after an African American woman gave birth to a red-haired boy. Here's the whole story.
When the mother-of-two, Ebony Lumpkin from Virginia, had her second child a few years after her first, the joy exceeded anything she'd ever felt, including when she became a Naval officer. The woman went through a smooth pregnancy and welcomed her son, Matthew.
However, when she gave birth at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, she expected congratulatory remarks from the nurses, but she couldn't have guessed the words she heard from them.
Ebony Lumpkin and her two sons Adam and Matthew smiling in selfies. | Photo: facebook.com/rebelnashdgi
BLACK MOM AND RED-HAIRED SON!
"Oh my God, oh my God," were the words Lumpkin heard that sent chills down her spine. The new mother-of-two was about to panic when a nurse revealed the reason for her exclamation: She told Lumpkin that her son had red hair.
The chances of Matthew having red hair were almost impossible as neither Lumpkin nor her partner carried the MC1R gene responsible for the rare pigmentation.
So, seeing her son with those features was shocking and difficult to understand. Still, in disbelief, Lumpkin said to the nurse:
"No, just wash him a few times."
The nurse heeded the mother's instructions; however, when she returned, nothing was different. Nonetheless, as they put baby Matthew in his mother's arms, Lumpkin forgot about all her worries and was lost in the beautiful moment. Her baby was finally here.
LUMPKIN'S NEGATIVE ENCOUNTER
More than anything, Lumpkin was excited to expand her family, but Matthew's growth became quite a stressful deal for the mother and child. Lumpkin had no problems with Matthew's red hair, and neither did he.
However, almost everyone else had a problem with it. Lumpkin was often harassed, with many people failing to believe Matthew was her biological son. She once recalled a surprising incident when she was with the little boy. Lumpkin said:
"An older white woman saw me walk away with him and called the police on me. She thought I was stealing [another] woman's child."
It took the intervention of a stranger to stop the police from arresting Lumpkin and calling child services. Although the mother was a victim of negative comments, it was also very tough for Matthew. When he was five years old, he had a terrible experience at school.
The little boy came home in tears, complaining to his mother that some kids at school made fun of him, saying that Lumpkin was not his biological mother.
The woman was heartbroken, especially when she had to see her son walking around and asking other red-haired women if any of them was his mom. Still, Lumpkin had to stay strong for Matthew and got help from her mother.
The family also worked hard to keep their heads above water, and a suggestion from Lumpkin's first son, Adam, made things easier. He suggested that he and his mother change their hair to look like Matthews.
Lumpkin was touched by Adam's selflessness and couldn't have wished for more. Despite the negative comments, she is happy that Matthew has a friend in his brother, who will always encourage him.