Two-year-old with spina bifida doesn't let her condition stop her enjoying life

Harper Mae is two and a half years old and was born with spina bifida – when a baby’s spinal cord doesn’t develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine.

The toddler, from Florida, U.S, also has hydrocephalus, a condition which causes increased pressure in the skull.

Mum Erica Comparin found out that Harper had spina bifida when she was 18 weeks pregnant and later had fetal surgery to close Harper’s back at 25 weeks.

‘We knew foetal surgery was not a cure,’ Erica explains to

‘We also knew there were potentially significant risks with having foetal surgery, but ultimately chose this route to try and reduce any potential effect of spina bifida.’

Erica stayed pregnant until 38 weeks when she had a c-section, as Harper had been breech.

Harper’s parents continue to be amazed at what the preschooler can do, as she can walk unaided or using a walker.

They document her progress on a Facebook page called Growing Up With Harper Mae.

Harper currently goes to preschool and has six therapy sessions a week.

‘If you were to watch her in class, other than seeing her walk using her walker part of the time or noticing the differences in her gait, you’d never know she had some medical needs her classmates don’t have,’ says mum Erica.

‘Harper and her brother Kellan are the best of friends, and rough house with one another just like any other big brother/little sister combo do.

‘Harper also has one of the magnetic personalities that I’ve ever met.

‘She sparkles and brings so much light into people’s lives. She’s fearless and has an adventurous spirit.

‘Harper truly is perfect just the way she was born.’

Before she was one, the toddler had seven brain and spine surgeries to help her function properly.

Now she can move the muscles in her feet, walk by herself, run around using her walking frame, and even climb stairs and ladders.

‘I could never imagine her without spina bifida or being any different than she is,’ says Erica.

‘Raising a child with spina bifida can definitely be challenging at times, and certainly has its “go away spina bifida, I don’t like you” moments, it is also amazing.

‘Even though the moments of medical struggles, delayed milestones and other difficulties, we wouldn’t ask for Harper to be any different.’

The family decided to start Harper’s Facebook page when she was six months old as they wanted to share her journey with friends and family and help spread positive awareness about spina bifida.

‘We lived through what seemed to be a nightmare when receiving Harper’s diagnosis, and truly wanted other parents to not endure the struggles we did in the beginning,’ says Erica.

‘We’ve [been able] to watch our little lady exceed so many expectations that were placed upon her before even taking her first breath.

‘We’ve also gotten to bear witness to the joy that she brings when she walks up to others everywhere we go, and shares so much of the love and magic that she has to give.’

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