The author of the popular blog Enjoying the Small Things recounts the first year of life with her daughter Nella, born with Down syndrome-a celebration of the beauty found in the unexpected, the strength of a mother’s love, and, the gift of experiencing life in a wondrous new way
Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh, please love me.
That was the most defining moment of my life. That was the beginning of my story.
When photographer Kelle Hampton learned she was pregnant with her second child, she and her husband, Brett, were ecstatic. Her pregnancy went smoothly and the ultrasounds showed a beautiful, healthy, high-kicking baby girl.
But when her new daughter was placed in her arms in the delivery room, Kelle knew instantly that something was wrong. Nella looked different than her two-year-old sister Lainey had at birth. As she watched friends and family celebrate with champagne toasts and endless photographs, a terrified Kelle was certain that Nella had Down syndrome-a fear her pediatrician soon confirmed. Yet gradually Kelle’s fear and pain were vanquished by joy, as she embraced the realization that she had been chosen to experience an extraordinary and special gift.
Bloom takes readers on a wondrous journey through Nella’s first year of life-a gripping, hilarious, and intensely poignant trip of transformation in which a mother learns that perfection comes in all different shapes. It is a story about embracing life and really living it, of being fearless and accepting difference, of going beyond constricting definitions of beauty, and of the awesome power of perspective. As Hampton writes, “There is us. Our Family. We will embrace this beauty and make something of it. We will hold our precious gift and know that we are lucky.”
NOTE: I haven’t reviewed a nonfiction book in a long while. I don’t read them hardly any more because I like to escape real life for a while. That being said, every once in a while I see one that screams to be read—-that was Bloom!
What I Loved: I am not a mom. I have furry children but in the world of parenting I am not sure that counts. I am a friend to many people with kids–some of them struggled with infertility, some of them had it “easy” (not easy but no problems getting pregnant), and last year one of my very best friends had a baby girl with Down Syndrome. So when I saw this book, I just knew I had to read this story. I cried pretty much beginning to end (happy and sad tears). This story was raw, real, and Kelle Hampton didn’t try to make herself out to be “the person who handled everything perfectly”. She was brutally honest and I am sure it killed her to put that out to the world that she didn’t handle the original diagnoses well. She made up for it in leaps and bounds but still to read that heartbreaking passage of the first 24 hours was just sad. I am sure others will be angry during that part but honestly I was just sad for her, her family, Nelly, her friends. However, I truly believe her acknowledgement of those first days is what pushed her the next 11 months to becoming one of the most prolific bloggers that supports Down Syndrome! It will break your heart,you will cry, and then as the book moves past that you will cry for completely different reasons. There is way more happiness than sadness and Kelle had a brilliant way of getting the story all out there.
What I Liked: The family photos were amazing and how lucky to get those candid shots.
Final Thought: Nonfiction is not for everyone but if you are looking for a truly amazing life altering story–this is for you!