Sunny and inspiring. Kelle Hampton writes with such breathtaking honesty that I actually felt as if I were in the room with her when she gave birth to Nella and I cried along with her as her initial fears about baby Nella proved true. But mostly, I celebrated as Kelle fell madly in love with Nella and began to realize that being her mother is nothing short of her preordained purpose. She reminds us that life may not always look pretty or perfect, but it is always beautiful. Kelle also exquisitely expresses what it is to be a mother, to know that our hearts are big enough to embrace love, terror, joy, pain, exhilaration, sadness - all before our morning cup of coffee.
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Perfect clothes, perfect hair, perfect parties thrown with a theme with even the minute details falling within said theme, a huge circle of perfectly fabulous friends. She even calls babies littles in her book. Fast-forward to the birth of her second baby.
I actually love how excited she was for the birth of 2, as it seems like people only "accept" such fanfare for 1. So while a bit over the top compared to anything I would do even for 1, I love how she approached it as such a celebration. So when Nella is born, Kelle reveals how hard it is for her to deal with the unexpected diagnosis that Nella has Down syndrome. Life as Kelle had known it changed.
Acknowledging that, mourning the loss of what she thought would be, and changing her notion of perfection sounds like a pretty strong and healthy trajectory to me. The dedication of the book is to her first-born, Lainey, who taught her how to love. I love that. Seeing the world through the eyes of an innocent, non-judgmental child would be a smart thing for all of us to do from time to time.
We could all learn from that pureness. To me, this is such a hopeful story and one that makes you smile through the tears. Hearing that your child has any sort of birth defect or condition that could shorten her life or compromise her quality of life is a really tough pill to swallow.
As a mother, you want life to be the best for your kids. So I understand the reaction. And where can I get such a close group of 30 girlfriends?!? Her support system is enviable. At many points in the book, she talks about how grateful she is and how much each of her friends truly cared, loved, shared. I am cynical, crabby, never read blogger books and generally find people who are shiny, happy and throw parties like Kelle Hampton to be.
Kelle is my kind of people. The thing is, I am not the kind of person who would usually pick up this book.
Are people laughing and having a good time? She swears. She drinks too many Coronas with limes. She has a story about getting wasted and going skinny dipping and realizing later that surely she walked home naked. Her house is littered with laundry and she makes inappropriate jokes. How can you not love a person who not only does those things, but readily admits to them?
And because of the blog post about the birth of her daughter that launched all of this, you expect her to own the hard stuff, but what is unexpected, and what makes this book and her so awesome, is that she owns the good stuff.
Does it look good to you? Then do it. Thus endeth the most uncharacteristic review ever. But dude, I loved it. You should read it.
BLOOM: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected
I had longed for one since the day Lainey grew out of the light blue cotton sleeper with the pink strawberries on it that I associated with every ounce of newborn-ness she possessed. And at that party, as we watched our little girl blow out her candle and smear white frosting all over her cheeks in celebration of that first astounding year of life, I was comforted by the fact that the sadness I felt surrounding her getting older would soon be replaced by the joy of knowing another "little" was on the way. I had gotten pregnant with Lainey within two months, so by the fourth month of trying for my second baby, I grew impatient. I also understood how annoying it must be for women who struggle with infertility when the onslaught of sympathetic advice pours in. When you relax. When you try Clomid.
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir