Burns survivor celebrates first Mother’s Day with precious baby


A Queensland woman who was put in an induced coma after sustaining horrific burns to more than 30 per cent of her body is today celebrating her first Mother’s Day with her ‘precious’ baby girl Edith.

Charlotte and Andrew Brown welcomed little Edith at Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane in South Brisbane on 28 March and described their newborn as the “greatest gift”.

It has been 10 years since the Brisbane couple were involved in an incident with a tabletop ethanol burner at a friend’s birthday party which left them both with severe burns.

The accident left the young couple with profound third degree burns and a long and painful rehabilitation journey – but they never gave up their dream of one day having children.

“I needed time to get through the physical and psychological injuries before starting a family,” said Mrs Brown, from Alderley on Brisbane’s northside.

“I was just 22 when the accident happened and was put in an induced coma for five-and-a-half weeks, which saw most of my body, apart from my legs, grafted with unburnt skin.

“After suffering a burns trauma it truly takes a massive amount of time and work to get your life back and really thrive, not just survive.”

Mrs Brown, now 32, thanked the doctors and nurses at Mater Mothers’ Hospital, including her obstetrician Dr Robyn Aldridge, who guided her through her pregnancy and Edith’s birth.

“I wasn’t sure how my scarring would affect me during pregnancy. We kind of had to just see how it went,” Mrs Brown said.

“The heat of the Brisbane summer really affected me with so much scarring because I can’t thermoregulate my body properly.

“There was a small amount of scarring on my belly that got very tight towards the end of my pregnancy. I had to monitor everything very closely.”

Mrs Brown spent three months recovering in the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital after her accident,
Charlotte-baby-hospital-body-copy-200-px.jpg followed by a further two years of rehabilitation to learn how to breathe, walk and talk independently.

After going through her burns recovery journey, Mrs Brown knew there was nothing she couldn’t do.

“It made me stronger and more resilient to life’s challenges and, suddenly, becoming a mum was all I wanted – to complete our family and live a happy life,” she smiled.

The proud mum said she appreciated motherhood with “little joys”.

“Going for a stroll with our family down at Kedron Brook, reading Edith her first books and seeing her first smiles are all really special moments,” Mrs Brown said.

She said she wants to show women with scarring and burns that it is possible to have a happy, healthy life and achieve the things they really want, like starting a family.

She said her husband had been by her side every step of the way, despite also sustaining significant burns to most of his body.

“We were both in hospital at the same time and supported one another through the entire rehabilitation journey,” she said.

“He has seen me through my worst days and my best, and I his. Now we’re taking on parenthood together and we’re so incredibly excited for our next chapter.”

Mrs Brown said while she “wears” the scars of the past, she is looking forward to creating new memories with her little family.

The couple started a burns support group and non-profit arm of the RBWH Foundation called Burnslife while they were patients in hospital, bringing together burns survivors, their carers and families to address psychosocial rehabilitation for those going through similar injuries.

Mrs Brown is also the co-chair of the Australia New Zealand Burns Association (ANZBA) Consumer Advisory Group and also provide support to young women with burns / scarring on social media.

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