Seeing a child smile for the first time would leave any mother in tears of joy. However, 29-year-old Jessica Tiernan-Reese has never experienced this heart-warming sight.
A rare disorder has taken the happiness out of Tiernan-Reese family from Shrewsbury, England as their 9-year old boy can neither smile or cry.
Justin Tiernan-Reese was born with Moebius syndrome, a rare disorder that causes facial paralysis leaving him with only one expression.
The heartbroken mother has said she has now come to terms with Justin not smiling ever. However, to see her child smile, she often uses phone filters to make it appear as if he is smiling.
Jessica said that every time Justin asked her "Why can't I have a smiley face?" it leaves her lost for words. She does not have an answer to his question. She just shows him a picture of him smiling with the help of a phone filter.
Despite the ordeals that the family goes through due to the boy's rare condition, she still believes Justin has an amazing personality and has adapted to his condition.
The neurological disorder does not allow him to move his facial muscles, leaving him vulnerable to choking dangers while eating. She also claims that since he has trouble expressing his emotions, most people do not understand how he feels most of the time.
However, as a mother, she knows when he is happy; she can often spot a dimple on his cheek and the glitter in his eyes.
"As Justin has gotten older he's started to notice that he is different. It's really difficult when he comes to me and says, "Mummy, why can't I have a smiley face? It's very difficult to explain to a child when they can't do something that everyone else can do. Kids can be nasty." The 29-year-old mother was quoted by Daily Mail.
The Moebius syndrome is a rare condition and the cause of the disorder is still unknown. However, it is considered a combination of environmental and genetic factors affecting 2 to 20 people per million.