Bullied Girl Hates Her Burn Scars until Giving Birth to Her Daughter Changes That

Brittany Chalmers
Apr 21, 2022
09:30 P.M.

A woman's life changed after a devastating explosion. She looked and felt different—years of bullying also led to trauma and self-loathing. However, her entire perspective shifted when she gave birth to a little girl.


Bullies can do irreparable damage to one's self-worth, and they rarely have any regard for the pain they cause. Children suffer and often carry emotional scars with them into adulthood.

One woman carried emotional and physical scars with her for many years and never imagined she would accept herself. But the birth of her beautiful daughter changed everything. Her story of courage and strength will inspire you.

[Left] A burn victim who survived a devastating fire; [Right] A woman and her daughter who helped her on the road to acceptance. | Source: instagram.com/zylstrajoy

[Left] A burn victim who survived a devastating fire; [Right] A woman and her daughter who helped her on the road to acceptance. | Source: instagram.com/zylstrajoy


Joy Zylstra was nine years old when disaster struck. She played with her toys and lit a candle in their cabin, unaware that the room was filled with gas.

The explosion left 45 percent of her body covered in second and third-degree burns—she almost didn't survive. Thankfully, her heroic family kept her going, and she credits them with saving her life.


Zylstra shared:

"While driving to the hospital my dad knew if I went into shock I could die, so kept talking to me and asking me questions to keep me awake. I was hot and cold and very tired, but he wouldn’t let me sleep."



Doctors struggled to keep the young girl stable, but fortunately, they saved her life. After a five-week-long stay in the hospital and a few skin grafts, Zylstra finally went home, but she wasn't the same nine-year-old girl.

"One night I remember crying, scratching at my face, praying that I would wake up and my scars would be gone."



The Edmonton, Canada, resident had lived through an ordeal very few people experienced, and it left her heartbroken and depressed. The burns on her skin garnered many comments from bullies, and people called her names.

"I used to go swimming to help my skin and had horrid comments from kids at the pool. One said it looked like I was dirty and another thought I was an alien."



Zylstra struggled to come to terms with her appearance. With each nasty comment from the bullies, her self-worth suffered another blow.

She recalled the harshest comment someone ever said to her:

"The worst was that it looked like I had 'alligator skin', it broke my heart hearing that, all I wanted to be was normal but knew I never could."

The comment stung because she knew their description was not far off. Zylstra shared that the scarring on her skin was similar to alligator scales—the reality of her appearance pained her.



Zylstra felt sorry for herself, but she eventually realized she couldn't change what happened to her. All that she could do was accept the past and move forward.

She hated her scars for many years and never thought her views would change. However, after a significant milestone in her life, she managed to do the unthinkable.



When Zylstra became a mom, she knew she needed to change her outlook on life and herself. The mother wanted to set an example for her daughter, Ciara, and not place so much value on outer appearances.

She said: "It has taken a long time to accept myself and only happened once I became a mother." Zylstra never wanted her child to be ashamed of her, so she needed to change how she viewed herself.

The mom added:

"I knew if I hated how I looked and my scars, how could I expect her to accept me. I was determined to teach her that physical appearance isn't important so I knew I needed to work on myself."



Zylstra shared that she had no regrets and wouldn't change her past trauma if she had the option. She believed the ordeal made her who she is today and noted that she was proud of her scars.

The mom chose to be okay with her outward appearance and used her imperfections to help others. Zylstra also lived a much happier life after deciding to love herself.



Accepting herself was the first step into a brand new life for Zylstra. She spent a long time wondering why she had to endure so much pain and finally got an answer—it is her mission to help and empower other people.

The proud mother has raised awareness on behalf of burn victims worldwide, and she has shared her story on various platforms, big and small. By sharing a message of self-love, she has encouraged countless others.

One of her inspirational messages was:

"When I used to look in the mirror I would see ugliness, flaws, and pain - now I see strength, courage and that I refused to give up."



In 2017, Zylstra shared a body-positive message to commemorate her 24th burn anniversary, and it inspired many people to love themselves and re-evaluate where they place their worth.

Zylstra also proudly presented in her daughter's class at school, and the old feelings of shame didn't plague her anymore. Her daughter was so proud of her mom that she burst into tears.



Zylstra, a fan of the Ellen DeGeneres show, planned to share future dreams on the talk show. She had big plans to help other burn victims and hoped that the host would help make them a reality.

She said:

"I knew if [DeGeneres] hears my dream, I truly believe she'd believe in it as much as I do. It's about love, acceptance, and compassion and hoping to make the world a better place."

Zylstra did not allow her past pain to dictate her future. She is making a difference and inspiring people along the way.

for another story about an extraordinary ten-year-old burn victim who raised money to pay for his surgery.

Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy

The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on news.AmoMama.com, or available through news.AmoMama.com is for general information purposes only. news.AmoMama.com does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.

Related posts

Man Mocks Wife She is Too Fat to Be Attractive, the Next Day Sees a Luxury Rolls-Royce Pick Her Up – Story of the Day

April 08, 2024

How 5 Beloved Celebrities Would Look without Plastic Surgery — Photos via AI

March 07, 2024

How 5 Beloved Celebrities Would Look without Plastic Surgery — Photos via AI

February 28, 2024

Woman Is Called ‘Irresponsible’ for Having a Baby with Her Skin Condition — She Shows off Her ‘Gorgeous’ Little Girl

January 31, 2024

14-Month-Old Toddler Tragically Drowns in the Pool - 1 Year Later His Parents Hear His Heartbeat Again

February 12, 2024

I Accidentally Overheard How My Girlfriend and Her Brother Mocked My Little Sister & Took an Action

March 05, 2024

Woman Loses Husband in Plane Crash, Years Later Meets Him and His Mother by Coincidence in a Store – Story of the Day

April 10, 2024

‘Wonder Woman’ Star Lynda Carter Shares Pain Following Husband’s Death – His Request Saved Their Marriage & Family

December 19, 2023

How Linda Evangelista Would Look at 58 If She Didn’t Have Procedure That ‘Permanently Deformed’ Her – Photos via AI

February 01, 2024

Mom of Missing Boy Finds His Glove in Forest near Barbed Wire with Text 'Danger Zone' – Story of the Day

November 16, 2023

Woman Who Was Called ‘Too Ugly’ After Posting Her Photos Proves Bullies Wrong & Models at NY Fashion Week

December 26, 2023

Andie MacDowell, 65, Stuns in a Figure-Hugging Dress Matching Her Hair Color: 'Stylish at Any Age'

January 10, 2024

Magician Saves Me From Abuser – Story of the Day

December 20, 2023

50-Year-Old Tori Spelling's Recent Appearance Divides Opinions after Sparking Concerns about Her Well-Being

March 04, 2024