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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Motherhood: The Enduring Power to Overcome
Aired May 6, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us tonight, as we wrap up the week here.
Tonight, we're going to go beyond the Mother's Day flowers and cards. You're going to meet some women who are overcoming tremendous obst -- obstacles -- boy, it is Friday, isn't it? -- and redefining the meaning of motherhood.
ZAHN (voice-over): A guiding hand, a loving touch, the basic bond between mother and child, tested by depression.
BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: Every family member marveled at how beautiful she was and I just didn't have any connection whatsoever to her.
ZAHN (on camera): How much of a temptation was it to kill yourself?
SHIELDS: It was an extreme temptation.
ZAHN: By a call to war.
CONNIE WOODYARD, U.S. SOLDIER: We left behind boys and got back men. You miss that transition from child to adult. And that was -- that was hard.
ZAHN: By the changing nature of the family itself.
LISA MILLER-JENKINS, MOTHER: I am Isabella's mom. I did conceive her. I birthed her
JANET MILLER-JENKINS, MOTHER: I would immediately take her and change her, walk her. That's a mother. That's me.
ZAHN: Tonight, a PAULA ZAHN NOW special, "Motherhood: The Enduring Power to Overcome."
ZAHN: So, you can change jobs, change your friends, even your spouse, but the most basic bond we all have, the one with our mothers, is constant and it is tested every step of the way.
Tonight, we hear from extraordinary women who are meeting the challenges of motherhood, from the birth even to the death of a child. We begin with actress Brooke Shields, whose experience with childbirth left her profoundly depressed, even suicidal. But somehow, from somewhere, she found the courage to pull through.
Brooke Shields in our "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS" profile.
ZAHN (voice-over): She grew up before our eyes as an Ivory baby, a child prostitute in Louis Malle's "Pretty Baby."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: A teen with nothing between her and her Calvins.
SHIELDS: And "Suddenly Susan" is my life.
ZAHN: Brooke Shields starred in the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan." She made motherhood look easy in the '80s film "The Blue Lagoon." Her marriage to tennis legend Andre Agassi in 1997 only lasted a couple of years. At 35, Brooke found the love of her life in comedy writer Chris Henchy. They married in 2001. Brooke immediately wanted to start a family.
(on camera): Walk us through that two-year period, when you took time off from work and you were solely focused on trying to get pregnant.
SHIELDS: It was very, very hard physically because of the amount of drugs that I had to take and medicines and sort of the schedules that I had to be on. And emotionally was really hard, because I didn't work for a few years. And so it all seemed like I was failing everywhere I looked.
ZAHN (voice-over): Brooke would go through seven in-vitro fertilization treatments over the course of two years.
SHIELDS: The difficulty of IVF or of any fertility issues is the hope and the shattered hope, the dream that it might happen this time and then it doesn't happen.
ZAHN: Each attempt at getting pregnant would bring with it a flood of emotions and disappointment.
SHIELDS: You just start getting hardened and jaded. And then you start not really being happy for all the people that are having babies. And people stop inviting you to baby showers, because they think it is too hard for you. And, in a way, it is. And you just think, what have I done wrong that I'm being punished? What have I -- what don't I deserve? Why can't I be normal? Why is everybody else lucky and I'm not? ZAHN: But Brooke and Chris did get lucky in December 2001. However, just three months into her pregnancy, a devastating blow. Brooke miscarried.
SHIELDS: That is when the anger for me hit the hardest, in that period. I just didn't want to believe that it wasn't going to happen for me. But what kept me going is I just -- I saw, I saw me as a mother. I've always seen myself as a mother.
ZAHN: Brooke went through more fertility treatments, more ups and downs, until, finally, good news. She was pregnant again. Brooke felt great. She had a wonderful pregnancy. But all that would change when Rowan Francis Henchy was born on May 15, 2003.
(on camera): You went through hell, basically, to have this beautiful baby girl. And yet, when she came into your life, it was as though she was completely disconnected from you.
SHIELDS: I remember staring at her and just thinking, come on, let's feel it. Where is the thing? Where is the stuff? Where is the fairy dust? And where is the birds? Where -- where -- come on. You know, it's just -- and I was frantic because it was right there, right in front of me and -- again -- and nothing.
ZAHN: So, when you picked her up, what were you feeling?
SHIELDS: I had no warmth to her. And I've had warmth to every single infant I have ever laid my eyes on. And, all of a sudden, my own, I would practically faint at the thought of her.
ZAHN: When you were at your absolute nadir, how dark were your days?
SHIELDS: It just seemed like it would never get better. The light would never come in my heart again.
ZAHN: You mention in the book several times that you had suicidal thoughts. You said, quote, "I was scared to be alone. I thought I might try to escape or wouldn't be able to stop myself from swallowing a bottle of pills."
How much of a temptation was it to kill yourself?
SHIELDS: It wasn't the scene in the movie where you want to end it all and you run to your cabinet and you just take them all and you -- or you do anything rash. It was, how can I fade so far into the background that I no longer exist? How can I do it? And how can I just not be anymore?
ZAHN (voice-over): But it was only when friends and family pushed her to get help, Brooke realized something was terribly wrong.
SHIELDS: First, what you hear is, oh, it's just the baby blues. You'll get over it. So, that's the first cause for shame, because all these other mothers are getting over it. So, it is you. Then, when you get past that and there is talk of postpartum depression, the first reaction is no, no, those are the women that you read about in the newspapers that do horrible things to their children. That's not me. Then, when it was suggested that I take medicine, that was a whole other hurdle I had to get over, because only crazy people and really weak people took medicine.
ZAHN: Medicine was Brooke's last resort. On her doctor's advice, she began taking the anti-depressant Paxil.
SHIELDS: It wasn't as if the sunshine came out and now everything was happy-go-lucky, because I still was a mother of an infant, which is just not easy.
ZAHN (on camera): Having had three of them, I understand.
SHIELDS: I guess so. I mean...
ZAHN: The utter exhaustion.
SHIELDS: Yes. And the thing that is sort of even more upsetting about it is, even when you're feeling, so to speak, better, it is still really hard. So, it wasn't as if I was a new me. I was able to appreciate the good and get through the bad, knowing that it wasn't forever.
ZAHN: When you reflect on how troubled you were, and what you put your family through, and more specifically what you put your husband through, are you stunned he hung in there?
SHIELDS: I'm stunned at the capacity that I had to do damage to our relationship. Now, two years later, if I have a bad day, I see fear flash across his face. Oh, she -- it is happening again. You know, it took a really long time for him to want to have another child. He just didn't want to go through it again, didn't want to see me do that again. He was terrified of that. And, you know, that's damage.
ZAHN (voice-over): But it is only now that Brooke is beginning to understand her depression.
SHIELDS: The very damaging, frightening part of postpartum is the lack of perspective and the lack of priority and understanding what is really important. But when you're in it, it is only your world. It is only about you. It is only about the despair that you are engaged so fully in. But he was able to see somewhere inside there the woman that he claims he knew and does know.
And I'm just so thankful that he persevered.
ZAHN: And Brooke Shields has persevered. She's gone from the depths of depression to the joys of motherhood.
(on camera): What does motherhood mean to you now? SHIELDS: It still doesn't mean sleep, which is unbelievable. She actually peels my eyes back in the morning and says, wake up. It means being in my life fully, good and bad, and knowing it is not picture-perfect. But she's perfect to me.
ZAHN: And that picture says it all. Brooke Shields reveals much more about her struggle in her book, "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression."
For more information about identifying and treating it, please go to CNN.com/Paula.
Still ahead, a mother at war, the challenge of raising kids when you and your husband are both called up for a year of active duty in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOODYARD: Being away from the kids was horrible. There's just no other way to describe it. It was horrible. But, at the same, time, we've committed to something much bigger than just us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: How one family is meeting the challenge of serving kids and country.
ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, what happens when the bonds of motherhood are tested by war? And a mother's remarkable power to forgive after her daughter was murdered.
First, though, moving up on just about a quarter past the hour, let's check in right now with Erica Hill at HEADLINE NEWS to see what else is going on tonight.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula.
Unfortunately, we have more attacks to report. At the end of a violent week in Iraq, today, a suicide car bomb killed more than two dozen people in a crowded marketplace south of Baghdad. In Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, meantime, a police bus was blown up, killing at least eight. And the latest gruesome discovery: scavengers in a Baghdad dump found at least a dozen bodies. All the victims, presumed to be Iraqis, were blindfolded and shot execution- style.
More than 270 people have died in attacks since the new government was sworn in last week. The U.S. Army has begun a second court-martial for Private Lynndie England. This week, her guilty plea was thrown out after a superior testified he ordered her to appear in those infamous thumbs- up photographs with abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib. That triggered a mistrial.
President Bush is in Latvia, his first stop on a five-day tour to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis. But, in an interview, he was asked about oil prices. The president says, the lower the better, but, whatever the price, the markets should decide, not governments.
And the FDA says Pfizer left out a serious warning in advertisements for Zoloft. The ads should have warned the anti- depressant can increase the risk of depression or suicide in some people. Pfizer did add the warning to Zoloft labels last year, but not to some of its ads.
And that's the latest from HEADLINE NEWS at this hour -- Paula, back to you.
ZAHN: Thanks, Erica. See you in about 30 minutes or so.
Time for all of you now to pick the person of the day. Your choices, Binti the gorilla. She was famous for saving a little boy at the Brookfield Zoo. Now she's had a baby of her own, this one a gorilla, her second, coming into the world at about five pounds. Tony Blair for his historic reelection as Britain's prime minister, or Nick Zito, for training five horses racing in tomorrow's Kentucky Derby.
Please vote at CNN.com/Paula. I'll let you know who wins a little later on in the hour.
Coming up, though, next, a mother goes off to war in Iraq and so does her husband at the same time. How she tackled the challenge of leaving two teenage sons behind.
Stay with us.
ZAHN: Right now, about one of every seven Americans serving in Iraq is a woman. A good many of them are mothers who have had to leave their children behind in the care of family and friends.
Balancing duty to country and duty to family is hard enough. But it can be especially difficult when mom and dad are both called to war.
ZAHN (voice-over): For more than a year and a half, these soldiers have been waiting for this moment, the moment they get to come home from Iraq, with family and friends waiting, flags waving. But there is a problem.
C. WOODYARD: I have a little band issue, sir. The band equipment driver is lost.
ZAHN: And public affairs officer Lieutenant Woodyard has to find them.
C. WOODYARD: I have got to check on the band. I'll be back.
ZAHN: That's not her only problem. Before she can be reunited with her husband, Jeff, she has to endure the entire welcome home ceremony and not break rank.
C. WOODYARD: OK. She started. Go.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZAHN: Even after her soldier walks by.
C. WOODYARD: I knew that, if I allowed myself to turn and look and watch him come in, I wouldn't hold it together. After he walked by, I couldn't hold it together. I just -- I was just like, this is the longest ceremony I've been through yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We welcome all general officers and their spouses.
ZAHN: Being a soldier before wife and mother is not new to Connie. Fifteen months ago, Connie and Jeff shed their civilian clothes and were both deployed to Iraq, leaving their two teenage sons, Morgan and Storm (ph), then 12 and 14, behind.
MORGAN WOODYARD, SON: Holy crap. That's just like the first thing that went through my head when I found out that they were both being deployed. It was crazy.
C. WOODYARD: Being away from the kids was horrible. There is just no other way to describe it. It was horrible. But, at the same time, we have committed ourselves to something much bigger than just us.
JEFF WOODYARD, U.S. SOLDIER: You know, we were planning on having another child. We were in the process. And once this came up, we were like, you know, we hold the military values pretty high.
ZAHN: So, they packed up their belongings and prepared to leave both their families and each other for over a year.
C. WOODYARD: People would say, well, what did you do with your kids? We left them a couple thousand dollars and some credit cards and the keys to the car and said...
J. WOODYARD: Back in a year.
C. WOODYARD: Back in a year. Have a good time. What were we supposed to do, something different?
ZAHN: What they did do was have Connie's friend Kelly and Kelly's then-boyfriend Herman move into their house and take care of the kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is so cool.
C. WOODYARD: What was most important was that the kids have as much normalcy as possible. And so Kelly and Herman kind of represented that level of normalcy, that they could continue to be in their home and their environment. They would have two people approximately the same age taking care of them. Things would be as normal as possible for them. And that is what was most important to us.
HERMAN DRAKE, FAMILY FRIEND: It would just be like living with roommates. I've done that before. When we actually got in there, it was kind of a reality check, because it is not that way, because now I'm looked at as the parent.
ZAHN: And while they were gone, their boys grew up. There were birthdays and Christmases. Morgan and Storm learned to snowboard. Herman and Kelly decided to get married and start a family. Morgan started to play the bass and drive. And Kelly and Herman learned how to be parents.
KELLY DRAKE, FAMILY FRIEND: It was a good experience. I told Connie that the reason I did this was for her, was for our friendship. But it ended up being for the boys. And we became really attached to them.
C. WOODYARD: You have to find somebody you trust to take care of your kids, because that was an enormous relief. Had I had to worry about what was going on here, as well as what was going on with him, as well as what was going on with me, it would have been insane.
ZAHN: And with the insanity of war around them and on separate bases...
J. WOODYARD: This is my section, center section.
C. WOODYARD: Here is my room. This is my bed. Pictures of the kids.
ZAHN: Connie and Jeff were able to find relief in occasional visits with each other.
J. WOODYARD: Let's see your war face. That's not a war face.
C. WOODYARD: I don't have a war face.
J. WOODYARD: You're a lover, not a fighter, right?
C. WOODYARD: I'm a lover, not a fighter. ZAHN: Staying in touch with the boys through e-mail.
C. WOODYARD: Here's Jeff talking to Storm on the Internet and Web cam. Say hi.
J. WOODYARD: Hi.
ZAHN: And sending home videos of where they were and what they were seeing.
C. WOODYARD: Here's the mosque. I'm not allowed to go in there.
J. WOODYARD: That's one of the guard towers. I stay up there almost every other night.
ZAHN: But e-mails alone couldn't give back what they were missing at home.
J. WOODYARD: Miss you. Can't wait to be home.
C. WOODYARD: We left behind boys and got back men. There is just as many developmental changes going on in a teenager as there is in a five-year-old. You don't miss the firsts so much, but you miss that transition from child to adult. And that was -- that was hard. So...
ZAHN: And that transition included a change of political views for Morgan.
M. WOODYARD: I do not like the war, period. It just screams at you that this war was not right. They used the whole weapons of mass destructions excuse. And we didn't find any weapons of mass destruction. And so I'm trying to figure out why we went there.
C. WOODYARD: He's aware of something much bigger than himself. And, at 16, I can honestly say I wasn't.
J. WOODYARD: I can't fault him for not liking the war. Heck, I really don't like the war. But I was called to duty and I signed on the dotted line. And so I had to go.
ZAHN: But political disagreements don't seem to matter now, as the speakers at the ceremony stop and the moment that the Woodyards have been waiting for finally come.
J. WOODYARD: What is up, guys?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're good.
J. WOODYARD: How are you?
M. WOODYARD: Good.
STORM WOODYARD, SON: Good.
J. WOODYARD: Well, I missed you so much. (CROSSTALK)
J. WOODYARD: ... buddy.
ZAHN: Connie can stop being a soldier and be a wife and a mother, welcoming her soldier home.
J. WOODYARD: I'm home.
C. WOODYARD: I know. I love you.
J. WOODYARD: I'm home now, baby.
ZAHN: And what about that baby they had been trying to have.
C. WOODYARD: We're still talking about it.
J. WOODYARD: Oh, no, there is no talking.
J. WOODYARD: Matter of fact, you guys just go ahead and pack up, let yourselves out.
ZAHN: And we gave them some space after that. Mom and dad clearly glad to be back home. Right now, there are no plans for them to be redeployed to Iraq.
Coming up next, a mother's courage, facing the worst news any parent can face, the death of a child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA BEALE, MOTHER OF AMY: It is this huge void and this sadness, you know. It was sad that it had to have happened to anyone. And, yes, it is a total shock when it is, you know, your 26-year-old daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: How one mother learned to forgive her daughter's killers.
And then, a little bit later on: two moms, one baby, a test of love; when an unconventional family breaks up.
ZAHN: It is said that a mother's love knows no bounds. The woman you're about to meet fits that description. Her daughter was murdered in a brutal attack that made international headlines. But her love for her child helped her take the extraordinary step of forgiving her killers.
BEALE: She had a sparkling personality, like any young 26-year- old, I think she lived life pretty fully.
ZAHN (voice-over): Amy Beale had a love of life, an abundance of optimism, traits that led her on her defining journey to South Africa. A country deeply and violently divided by apartheid. It was there in the early '90s that Amy studied, fought segregation and helped the embattled country get ready for its first multiracial free elections.
(on camera): Amy was certainly aware of the risks she was taking in doing the kind of work she was doing in South Africa. Did she ever express you to any fear?
BEALE: She would say things to ourselves, the family and her friends, you know, mom, if something happens to me over there, I would rather be a number than a name. Because black people were always reported in the newspapers as numbers being killed, 11 killed here, 13 killed there. But when a white person was killed, it would be a name.
ZAHN: Do you to think she had a premonition?
BEALE: I've heard that people have said that.
ZAHN (voice-over): August 25th, 1993, the eve of the country's first democratic elections. Amy was living in Cape Town. After work she was driving some friends home when a mob chanting anti-white slogans ambushed her car, forcing her out. She was stoned with bricks. Then stabbed to death.
(on camera): Take us back to the horrible day when you got the news that your daughter had been killed. Where were you?
BEALE: It was a great day, actually. I was off work for a week and my son was ready to start his junior year in high school. And we were out back-to-school shopping and Zach and I were always quite close anyway. But I had a little white Mustang convertible and we had just had lunch. And we were driving home from Newport Beach -- beautiful sunny day and you walk in your house and the phone rings, you know. So it was -- it was -- it was a shock. She had almost prepared us with a sense of events.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stabbed to death by a mob of blacks in a town...
ZAHN (voice-over): Amy's murder was reported around the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Family, friends and colleagues of Amy Beale filled the church.
ZAHN (on camera): Obviously it took a while for you to work through the shock.
BEALE: The hardest part is just the sense that, you know, it's a -- this huge void and this sadness. It was sad that it had to happen to anyone. And yes, it is a total shock when it is your 26-year-old daughter. But I just have to say that I feel she's opened doors.
ZAHN (voice-over): Doors to a new life for Linda and Peter Beale, far from their suburban California roots. It began with a trip to South Africa to retrace their daughter's journey. They went to the township where she was murdered and met with some of the killers' families to console them.
BEALE: Don't cry. Don't cry.
ZAHN: What the Beale's did next quite honestly amazed me. In the late '90s, after the fall of apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I took the knife and stabbed once in front on her left-hand side.
ZAHN: In front of this commission, the four men who had already served five years of an 18 year prison sentence for the murder of Amy Beale expressed their remorse and pleaded for amnesty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I apologize sincerely to Amy Beale's parents, family and friends and ask their forgiveness.
ZAHN: The Beale's not only witnessed their testimony, but actually supported their release.
BEALE: We are here to share a little of Amy with you.
ZAHN (on camera): What would Amy think of this?
BEALE: The thing I would want her to say would be, you know, mom, you're doing a good job. Don't give up. She would expect me to be the person I am but grow enough to embrace the causes and interests and the love of a people she embraced.
ZAHN: And Amy Beale's love of life lives on in a foundation in her name. Among other things, it supports the Amy Beale High School in New Mexico. And then in one of South Africa's largest townships, the foundation supports a driving range for those kids who love golf, but can't afford to play.
Still ahead, testing the bonds of motherhood when an unconventional family splits up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. MILLER-JENKINS: Justice will be served for Isabella. I believe that.
L. MILLER-KENKINS: I am the only legal parent of Isabella. I am her mom. She has one mom. And that's it. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: The fact is there are two moms, one baby. And there is a passionate custody battle.
And then a little bit later on, a mother's devotion and determination to draw her son out of the closed-off world of autism.
ZAHN: A nasty divorce, a bitter fight over who gets custody of the kids. Unfortunately, that's not all that unusual. But the case we're about to show you is unusual, but the changing nature of the modern family could make it a lot more common in the future. That's because it involves two moms, now fighting over custody of their little girl.
Maria Hinojosa has their story.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a storybook love affair. Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller were so committed to each other, they moved from Virginia to Vermont to be as close to as legally married as possible, a civil union.
JANET MILLER-JENKINS: Of course, we were ecstatic about that because we knew that we wanted to be together. We knew we wanted to have a future together, be married.
LISA MILLER-JENKINS: I was in a lifestyle for a while before I met Janet. And I still always wanted a child.
HINOJOSA: This couple was so in love, they legally changed their last names to Miller-Jenkins, so devoted they had the baby girl they both dreamed of, Isabella, born to Lisa three years ago. They had plans for baby number two.
But storybook love affairs sometimes have unhappy endings. That's exactly what happened to these two mommies when Janet and Lisa split. An ugly custody battle of mother versus mother broke out over little Isabella Miller-Jenkins.
J. MILLER-JENKINS: Justice will be served for Isabella. I believe that. And I'll do whatever it takes. I'll be with her for as long as I can and I'll be without her for as long as I have to. But I'm her mom. She's born here. She's always here.
L. MILLER-JENKINS: I am Isabella's mom. I did conceive her. I birthed her. I'm raising her. And in my opinion, Isabella needs to stay with me 100 percent of the time because I am -- I'm the only person she identifies as a mom.
HINOJOSA: Welcome to the uncharted legal territory of gay divorce. With varying marriage laws in every state, gay breakups can get really nasty. After Lisa and Janet ended their civil union, Vermont ordered them to share custody of Isabella. So Lisa, her biological mother, moved the baby back to Virginia where same sex unions are not recognized. And Lisa took the confrontation one step further, she says she is no longer a lesbian.
L. MILLER-JENKINS: What is a sin is a sin whether it is stealing, whether it is homosexuality. And if it goes against God, as a Christian, I have every right -- not every right, but I need to follow God's teachings.
J. MILLER-JENKINS: She was married to a man, she left him for a woman. She's been with other women. She fell in love with me, wanted to have a family with me.
HINOJOSA; Lisa then hired a conservative southern law firm, the Liberty Counsel and challenged the Vermont custody ruling.
RENA LINDEVALDSEN, LIBERTY COUNSEL: She has the right as a mom to decide who she -- who her daughter sees and who she doesn't. It is not the court's place to say -- to make up, sort of, an artificial family when she's only has one mom and that's Lisa.
HINOJOSA: The state of Virginia refused to recognize Vermont's custody order that Isabella should be shared by both Lisa and Janet.
L. MILLER-JENKINS: I wanted a clean slate. And the only way I could do that was to totally sever ties, that there would be no ties.
J. MILLER-JENKINS: This would not be happening if this was a heterosexual marriage with the divorce and custody.
HINOJOSA: Today, Janet runs a day-care center out of the home she once shared with Lisa and baby Isabella. The only traces of Isabella here are photographs everywhere: in the kitchen, at Janet's desk, in the living room where Isabella used to play.
J. MILLER-JENKINS: This is Isabella and her grandparents, my parents. I love Lisa. I have no malice towards her and I absolutely love and adore Isabella.
HINOJOSA: In Virginia, Lisa also runs a day-care center. And is raising Isabella on her own. She never mentions Janet's name.
J. MILLER-JENKINS: I do feel sorry for her, but again, I have to be concerned about the welfare of my daughter.
HINOJOSA: This legal war between Janet and Lisa, Vermont and Virginia, continues. But this is not a simple custody case, this is a fight over the definition of motherhood and family itself.
L. MILLER-JENKINS: A mom takes care of a child. In more ways than just holding the child, getting a picture taken with her. There is everything involved, feeding, bathing. Then again, nursing for the first 14 months of life constantly. She was never away from me, not even while sleeping.
J. MILLER-JENKINS: Isabelle slept on my chest for the first year and-a-half of her life, because we did the family bed. Lisa would nurse her and I would immediately take her and change her, walk her, she would go to sleep on me and then two hours later, we do it all over again. That's a mother. That's me.
ZAHN: And that was Maria Hinojosa reporting tonight. Janet Miller-Jenkins is actually traveling to Virginia to visit Isabella for Mother's Day. She expects her former partner Lisa Miller-Jenkins to turn her away. Soon, though, a judge will decide who is right.
Still ahead, a son diagnosed with autism, a mother determined to make a difference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERI BOWERS, MOTHER: I decided we're in this together. And we'll do -- I'm sorry. I'm so surprised I'm this emotional. We'll do whatever we need to do together except we'll never ask us why God, why again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: How she succeeded in drawing her son out of his very isolated world.
And who will be our person of the day? Binti the gorilla -- you remember her saving a little boy at the Brookfield Zoo who fell into her enclosure. Now she has a baby of her own. And British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his historic re-election victory. Or trainer Nick Zito for having not one, two, three, four, but five horses in tomorrow's Kentucky Derby.
ZAHN: Still ahead, one mom who will refuse to give up when her son is diagnosed with autism. First, though, just at about 11 minutes before the hour, time to check in with Erica Hill at HEADLINE NEWS -- Erica.
HILL: Paula, spy satellites detected the digging of large holes in North Korea, possibly preparations for testing a nuclear bomb. The government has bragged about its intentions to develop nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. Some analysts, though, think the digging could also be a deception to get the attention of nervous neighbors and the U.S.
The Pentagon says it needs more bases than it originally thought, so today Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the number of closings and consolidations will be fewer than planned. The closings were supposed to reduce military spending.
A mother and stepfather have been charged now in the murder of their daughter -- for four years was known only as Precious Doe. They appeared in court in Muskogee, Oklahoma today. We now know the little girl's name was Erica Michelle Marie Green. Her body was found in a wooded area of Kansas City in 2001.
It is week ten of the Michael Jackson trial, the end of it, that is. And the mothers two of boys who repeatedly slept with Jackson in his bed testified today he never bothered them or acted inappropriately towards the boys. They said Jackson was like one of the family.
And oh mama, check out that hairy little Mother's Day bundle. Binti the gorilla gave birth this week in Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. Now, you might remember she became a hero for cradling an injured human child in her arms after he fell into the gorilla pit in 1996. So, she's already had a little training at being a mom.
And that's the latest from Headline News. Paula, back to you. And have a happy Mother's Day.
ZAHN: Oh, thank you, Erica. I hope my three remember -- maybe with your reminder, they might.
So, we're going to move on now to who's our "Person of the Day." Binti the gorilla who you just heard about, who famously saved that little boy when he fell in. She now has that baby of her own that I think a face only a mother could love.
Tony Blair for his re-election as prime minister of Britain.
Or Nick Zito for training five horses running in tomorrow's Kentucky Derby. It has been neck-and-neck all afternoon between Blair and the gorilla, I guess that's probably about as humiliating as losing all the seats he did yesterday in the election. But in the end, it was Tony Blair by a whisker.
ZAHN (voice-over): ... terms, that's the good news. The bad news, Blair's Labour Party now has a dramatically reduced majority. Nothing like the land slide victories of 1997 and 2001. And political experts are already talking about his successor.
TONY MARTIN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think I have a clear idea of what the British people now expect from this government for a third term.
ZAHN: The newly elected prime minister begins his historic third term with promises to overhaul healthcare and education. And with your vote, he's the "Person of the Day."
ZAHN: All moms face obstacles after a child is born. The day- to-day routine of raising children is grueling enough. But when something goes wrong, when a child isn't developing normally, it can be absolutely overwhelming. But you're about to meet a mother and son who faced that problem and refused to give up. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ZAHN (voice-over): Taylor and his mother Keri Bowers have been chasing a dream for years. Since the day Taylor was born, life has been a challenge. Those first years usually filled with excitement and wonder were filled with frustration and heartache. Taylor missed every major milestone. He didn't make sounds, crawl or smile. And he couldn't give his mother the one thing that all new parents yearn for.
K. BOWERS: My son couldn't hug me and he wasn't speaking and he wasn't crawling, and he wasn't -- his head was like a floppy doll. And he had no muscle tone, very little muscle tone.
ZAHN (on camera): How devastating was that for you?
K. BOWERS: I was angry. How dare you not love me. I just thought that I was some how a bad mother.
ZAHN: A frustrating journey of misdiagnosis and confusion began. Some called it mentally retarded. Others called it developmentally delayed. Whatever words they used, the prognosis was grim. It would take six years and dozens of hospital visits before Taylor was correctly diagnosed, high functioning autism -- a mysterious brain disorder that leads to a variety of developmental problems.
K. BOWERS: I decided we're in this together. And we'll do what -- I'm sorry. I'm so surprised I'm this emotional. We'll do whatever we need to do together except, we'll never ask, Why God, why me, again. I started working with Taylor very young and I did some things that people considered controversial or questionable.
ZAHN: And aggressive.
K. BOWERS: Very aggressive.
ZAHN: You made his use language when he was inclined not to talk.
K. BOWERS: He had a few words so I knew he could say a few words. He would point up to the cupboard and say eat, eat. I would look at him and say if you're hungry, you got to say two words. Give me two words. I'm hungry. Want eat. It was a way for him to begin to reach higher.
ZAHN (voice-over): Taylor never stopped growing. Every day overcoming the challenges that faced many autistics. Like feeling bombarded and overwhelmed by the fast paced world.
K. BOWERS: The word doesn't slow down for these children and they process on a very different level. When he has very stressful situations socially, he'll come home and sleep for hours.
ZAHN: Socially life can be especially difficult for autistic teenagers, especially as they navigate the turbulent waters of high school.
(on camera): Have they picked on you because they think you're different?
TAYLOR CROSS, AUTISTIC: Yes, that's true.
ZAHN: And how do you deal with that?
CROSS: Normally I'm angry about it. But I don't get too emotional about it.
K. BOWERS: Taylor has been physically assaulted twice by two different people in the last six months.
ZAHN: At his school.
K. BOWERS: At his school. Now, he's 6'7," he's a big kid. These kids, I think they sense a certain sweetness, a certain weakness if you will, a certain naivete. And he was assaulted, hit in the face and didn't tell a soul he had been harassed for months.
ZAHN (voice-over): A painful time for any teen. But Taylor is learning to deal with the bullies and others who look at him as different. How, by making a documentary about his autism.
CROSS: (INAUDIBLE) is my own little world. When I was younger than that, I was also told that I may never be able to walk and talk and other stuff like that.
ZAHN: Taylor hopes it will break down the barriers between his autistic community and the outside "normal world."
(on camera): What do you dream about doing some day, Taylor? Do you think much about that?
CROSS: I don't have it planned out. I want to do this. I want to do that. I want do that. I want to do that. Like, for now I just want to be a filmmaker.
ZAHN: What is it you want other parents to know about what their life might be like once they get a diagnosis of autism?
K. BOWERS: I want parents to know that you raise the bar. You shoot for the stars. You never, ever let your kids get too comfortable because that's where they live. You need to challenge them. You need to push them. You need to...
CROSS: Challenge and entice and educate.
K. BOWERS: I like that. Oh, he's so good. Isn't he wonderful.
ZAHN: Sounds like you learned that lesson. Or he's sick of hearing it from mom. One of the two.
K. BOWERS: A little of both.
CROSS: A little of both.
ZAHN: A path this mother and son started down 16-years-ago. An unexpected journey this mother learned to love and to cherish.
K. BOWERS: He'll just be one of those creative wonderful individuals who's a little quirky. That's all. So to touch and move and inspire people, I think that's our goal.
CROSS: Yes. That is.
ZAHN: And what a shared goal they have. After a year of shooting interviews, Taylor and Keri have begun editing their feature documentary and hope to release it sometime in October of this year.
That's it for all of us here tonight. I hope you all were inspired by some of the remarkable women we met tonight. I know I was. And we hope you have a great weekend. And remember to tell your mom you love her as many times as you can over the weekend. Hope to see you again on Monday.
Paris Hilton will be in our spot light. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.
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