I am aware not every person is a fan of Kelle Hampton and her Enjoying the Small Things. My knowledge of this brings more traffic to my site then anything else I have written. Some of the top searches that bring people to my blog, other then my name and Mosaic Down Syndrome, are "Enjoying the Small Things" and "Kelle Hampton Annoying".
But two years and one month ago I was living a nightmare. Fearing for my baby's life and for her future. And two years and two months ago, just two exits down from my house in SWFL, Kelle was too.
Sitting at Hemingway's with my group of girl friends, through teary eyes and my throbbing heart, I told them that my baby had a heart defect and most likely had Down syndrome. I was waiting the results from the amnio. I had told myself I wasn't going to tell anyone anything until we knew exactly what was going on, but sitting there on girls night I couldn't keep the pain inside a minute longer. I am forever grateful I did open up because there were three people in that group who had something vital for me. Tricia, my good friend and the wife of my husbands boss, her niece MaKenna has been through three open heart surgeries. She was born with a very rare condition and is a miracle case. (To this day, MaKenna is still a little inspiration for me and sends Fiona handmade cards every once in a while. They are heart buddies:) She brought me so much comfort and hope for Fiona's life, as Fiona had a relatively common heart condition. Jaesen, she is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist (who someday will hopefully be Fiona's OT). I swear, when I said that they thought Fiona has Down syndrome, there was a spark of excitement in Jae's eyes. She assured me that people with Down syndrome are awesome- that there was hope for her future. Her unwavering confidence that Down syndrome was not a bad thing started to build back up my wall of hope. And then there is Denise. She had just read on article in the Naples Daily News. It was about this mom in Naples who had recently given birth to a baby girl with Down syndrome and it was just beautiful. As soon as I got home, I Googled this mom from Naples who had a baby girl with Down syndrome- it was Kelle Hampton.
I read Nella's birth story, Kelle's healing process, as I was just starting my own. I was hooked. I was hooked on this beautiful little almond-eyed little girl and for the first time in over a week, I not only felt at peace, but a tiny sliver of me wanted that amnio to come back with three of the 21st chromosomes. Kelle showed me something beautiful and exciting and I wanted in. For a moment, my fears of Fiona being different, became excitement for Fiona to be different. And I knew in that moment, whether Fiona had Down syndrome or not, my heart had opened, and Ds was now a part of it. It still hurt when the amnio came back positive. I cried and mourned for what I was not having, but if it hadn't been for Kelle, I think that day would have been a whole lot more painful for me. No matter what opinions there are about her, I am living proof you cannot deny that it helps some people.
I sent her a message on her photography site that night, because I needed to reach out to someone who knew what I was going through. That's what I do when faced with an obstacle- I research, I find support and I reach out. And she immediately messaged me back. She was excited for me, and she wanted to get together and take some maternity pictures. One mother with a daughter with Down syndrome to another. When you are pregnant with a baby that people are pitying and are telling you to abort, it is so incredibly nice to be around people who are excited for your baby.
And at Naples first Buddy Walk, in true Kelle fashion, she couldn't get my baby Fiona (who was only two months old) in her arms fast enough. I've come to know her beyond the blog, a few get togethers here and there, and my admiration for her has only grown stronger. I do not claim she is an expert on parenting or Down syndrome, but just like my other friends who have children with Ds, Holly, Megan, Sara, Astra- I love the normalcy of our play dates. How we smile and laugh and dote over our kids, separate fights, help fill sippy cups, complain about the sassy little kids- its moments that we once thought or were once told weren't in the cards for us.
Some people don't care for all her positiveness, finding her sickening on how she handles everything with a smile and a fancy craft. But I find it inspiring. I don't use her as measuring stick for my own parenting, but rather, shes my pot of motivation. And I am forever grateful she sat down the week after Nella was born and wrote down her birth story so that I could read it one month later and find comfort. I know that I am a better mom because of her, I know that my Ds scar is slightly smaller because of her, and I know that I will always try to enjoy the small things.
I am extremely happy for my friend as her book was released this week. Its moving and inspiring, (filled with all the sickening positive outlook stuff, the stuff I love) and its a life long dream fulfilled for her. If you are looking for a book to read, I highly recommend Bloom. Its both a good read for those who have had similar experiences and enlightening for those who have not walked down that road. And don't buy it through Nook or Kindle- with her beautiful photography through out the whole thing, this is one you will want a hard copy of. Congrats Kelle! I am excited for Fiona's and Nella's friendship to continue to bloom :)