A mum who can't smile has refused to have corrective surgery because she wants her children to see her as she really is.
Becky Deas, 33, has Moebius syndrome, a rare neurological condition which paralyses facial muscles. As a result, she has never been able to smile at her children.
She is also unable to blink or look left and right. But she has turned down surgery to enable her to smile, despite questions from her seven-year-old son about why she has never smiled at him.
Becky, from Manchester, said: "This is me, I am who I am and I want my children to accept differences.
"I might not be able to smile on the outside but I am always smiling on the inside. I make sure my children know how happy they make me every day. I don't need a smile on my face to do that.
"A real smile comes from the heart." She added: "A lot of people stare at me. I'm pretty sure they must think I'm miserable all the time but that could not be further from the truth.
"Even I don't recognise the face in the mirror because it doesn't reflect how I feel inside at all."
Becky was diagnosed with the condition when she was six months old after struggling to suck from a bottle but she didn't become aware of her condition until she went to secondary school and was bullied about her appearance.
She said, poignantly: "That was the first time I ever wished I could smile.
"The condition also means I can't control my mouth so it hangs open and I was called awful names - like fish face."
She was relieved when she fell pregnant in 2007 with her son Logan and doctors confirmed it was unlikely he would have the condition.
But it was at moments like his birth that Becky wished she could smile to show her joy.
Instead she developed other ways, like using the tone of her voice, to express happiness to him and daughter Lexi, nine months.
But she has ruled out surgery for the sake of her children.
She explained: "As lovely as it would be to be able to smile at them, I didn't want my children to think it is necessary to have surgery to look the same as others.
"We are all different in one way or another and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
"I may not be smiling but I am certainly one very happy mummy."
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