This year, _Love and Hip Hop Hollywood _ has welcomed a plethora of new faces — including singer/songwtier Brooke Valentine. With her intro to reality TV, the gorgeous 32-year-old has shared her private life, including her son, London, who has special needs. Get to know more about Brooke — and her son — below!
The “Girlfight” singer welcomed her first child in 2010 and revealed in 2012 that he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. In an interview with Essence, she revealed how the diagnosis was made shortly after she went into labor with London.
“When I went into labor with my son, things started becoming a little complicated. After I had him they kind of whisked him away. I didn’t get a chance to hold him or breastfeed. They were telling me I had some complications,” she explained at the time. “I had hemorrhaged and I needed a blood transfusion, so I thought it was me. So the whole time, I thought I needed to get stronger so I could see my baby. But what I didn’t know at the time was that my son had suffered a stroke and it was either during delivery or right after delivery. I could see the look on everyone’s faces and I knew something wasn’t right and they weren’t telling me something.”
It was only after he was airlifted to another hospital that she learned the truth — he not only had cerebral palsy, but was also having seizures (which fortunately stopped in the early years of his life). At the time, she felt ill-prepared to raise a child with special needs. She continued, “To be completely honest, I didn’t even really know what it meant to have a son with cerebral palsy. I had to go through what I called ‘special needs boot camp’ and dig in and find out what it is and what it means. I learned that no two cases or situations are alike.”
At the time, she revealed that London’s diagnosis forced her to go on a much-needed break — but it also allowed her to focus wholly on her son. And it’s clear that being a mom has been Brooke’s true calling. “Baby, I admire your strength and courage to take on and conquer every obstacle that comes your way. No matter what you’ve been through, the first thing you do every morning is smile, and it’s so amazing to see,” she wrote in a letter to her son, published by Ebony. “And one day, you’ll ask, ‘Mommy what is hemiplegia? What is cerebral palsy?’ And I’ll say, ‘Something you championed.’”