Monica and Jenny McCarthy

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Monica's family has been there for her too. When 9-year-old Madalyn found out about the surgeries, she took the news well. "She'd been watching Dancing with the Stars, and Heather Mills was on," Monica says. "I told her, 'Well, I won't be doing back flips.' But she was excited and said, 'You can be bionic mom.'"

At Monica's house, she and Jenny had a mom-to-mom chat about the issues that mother warriors face. "Within the autism community, one of the things that we, as mothers, miss so much is being able to caress our children, because they don't want to be touched," Jenny says. "Do you experience that?"

Monica says she has similar moments of sadness. "For a while, I really couldn't lift Sofia up," she says. "I could hug Madalyn and have her hug me back, so that was good, but I miss being able to braid her hair, paint her fingernails, toenails—the things that moms and daughters do."