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Richard Dreyfuss shared intimate photos of the moment he realized his son had a congenital disorder

"The most traumatic and emotional moment of my life was on June 14 1986."

richard dreyfuss, ben dreyfuss, peters anomaly

Richard Dreyfuss at the Webby Awards.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss (star of “Jaws” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) shared intimate photos of the birth of his son Ben that showed the shock and confusion parents experience when realizing their newborn has a birth abnormality.

On June 14, 1986, Dreyfuss and his wife Jeramie Rain had their second child and they could tell something was wrong shortly after his delivery. “Your eyes are not the same,” Ben would later write about his birth. “One is blue, the other is grey. One is hiding under a partially opened eye-lid; the other is extending far beyond it, like a potato exploding out of an egg cup.”

It was the “most traumatic and emotional moment of my life,” Richard wrote on Twitter. “My wife Jeramie gave birth to our second amazing child. And, as these pictures show, we slowly realized there was a problem with our son.”


The actor’s photos are touching because they show the parents experiencing the incredible beauty of the birth while struggling to make sense of the unexpected.

“I held him and promised him that I would do everything I could [to] save him. That I would love him no matter what,” the “Mr. Holland’s Opus” star wrote.

Ben would later be diagnosed with Peters anomaly, a rare genetic condition that causes a clouding of the cornea and eye-structure abnormalities. Over the first year of Ben’s life, he would have multiple eye operations and would eventually lose all sight in his left eye.

He explained what life’s like with one eye in a blog post his father shared at the end of his tweet thread. It’s a raw open letter to himself that details how his struggles with being different evolved as he developed.

It’s a revealing glimpse into the interior monologue of someone who knows he’s being stared at but everyone is too polite to bring it up.

“Eventually you come around to the idea that much more noticeable than the eye itself is your reaction to it,” he writes. “You couldn’t make eye contact with anyone for decades. Upon this realization, you decided to make piercing eye contact with everyone.”

Ben is a journalist who was in charge of audience development at Mother Jones for eight years. He has a popular Substack blog called “Good Faith” where he discusses the intersection of politics and social media from the unique perspective of a liberal with no problem pointing out progressive excesses.

Richard Dreyfuss’ photos of his son’s birth show that all the fame and acclaim in the world can be quickly dispatched when we see that there is something wrong with a child. But on a deeper level, they are an intimate look at the faces of parents whose lives have been upended in a moment they expected would be wholly joyous.

It’s a moment that many parents have unfortunately had to weather and hopefully, the photos will give them comfort knowing that the despair will soon be overcome by love.

Education

12 books that people say are life-changing reads

Some books have the power to change how we see ourselves, the world, and each other.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Books are powerful.

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.

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Community

Man uses social media to teach others ASL so kids don't experience what he did as a child

Every child should be able to communicate in a way that works best for them.

Man teaches people ASL so no child experiences what he did

People start communicating from the moment they enter the world usually through cries, faces, grunts and squeals. Once infants move into the toddler phase the combine all of their previous communication skills with pointing and saying a few frequently used words like "milk," "mama," "dada" and "eat."

Children who are born without the ability to hear often still go through those same stages with the exception of their frequently used words being in sign language. But not all hearing parents know sign language, which can stunt the language skills of their non-hearing child. Ronnie McKenzie is an American Sign Language advocate that uses social media to teach others how to sign so deaf and nonverbal kids don't feel left out.

"But seriously i felt so isolated 50% of my life especially being outside of school i had NONE to sign ASL with. Imagine being restricted from your own language," McKenzie writes in his caption.

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Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

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Joy

Bus driver comes to the rescue for boy who didn't have an outfit for school's Pajamas Day

“It hurt me so bad…I wanted him to have a good day. No child should have to miss out on something as small as pajama day.”

Representative Image from Canva

One thoughtful act can completely turn someone's day around.

On the morning just before Valentine’s Day, school bus driver Larry Farrish Jr. noticed something amiss with Levi, one of his first grade passengers, on route to Engelhard Elementary, part of Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) in Louisville, Kentucky.

On any other day, the boy would greet Farrish with a smile and a wave. But today, nothing. Levi sat down by himself, eyes downcast, no shining grin to be seen. Farrish knew something was up, and decided to inquire.

With a “face full of tears,” as described on the JCPS website, Levi told Farrish that today was “Pajama Day” at school, but he didn’t have any pajamas to wear for the special occasion.
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via Imgur

Memories of testing like this gets people fired up.

It doesn't take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it's not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child's math test is the latest event to get people fired up.

The test in question asked kids to solve "5 x 3" using repeated addition. Under this method, the correct answer is "5 groups of 3," not "3 groups of 5." The question is typical of Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning.

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Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

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