" I cried out that I wanted to leave her and run away. I wanted to take Lainey and my perfect world and this perfect love I had built with my two-year-old and our cupcake-baking days and our art projects and our beautiful bond and I wanted to run like hell. I wanted to be pregnant again. I wanted to be pregnant so bad. I wanted it to be the morning Nella was born, when I was happy and excited and when I wore the white ruffled skirt and black shirt and put it in the belongings bag knowing joy was to come. I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back." Pg. 17
January 22, 2010, was a life-changing day for Kelle Hampton. It was the day her her second child, Nella Cordelia, was born. The second Kelle saw her daughter for the first time she knew. Kelle knew her daughter had Down Syndrome. She wasn't sure how she should feel. Happy? Sad? Numb? Why can't she go back? When she was pregnant everything was hopeful. She had dreams for her unborn child. Will those same dreams come true now that her child isn't what she expected? Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected is Kelle Hampton's journey in coming to grips with Nella's diagnosis.
With her first child Lainey, Kelle didn't worry about how she was going to love her child. Lainey was healthy and beautiful. Lainey is acting like any normal two-year-old. She is excited about being a big sister. Her two-year-old brain isn't worrying about how the world will respond to Nella. But Kelle is worrying how the world will respond to Nella. Will people make fun of her? Will she be able to do all the things Lainey can do? And most important, can Kelle love her daughter the same way she loves Lainey? In those hours and days immediately following Nella's birth, all sorts of thoughts crossed Kelle's mind. She didn't want to think those thoughts.
A swarm of friends and family were constantly on hand to help soften the blow. Even strangers helped Kelle realize how lucky she was. Her child was alive when so many others in similar situations weren't. She has so much to be thankful for. She has two children, a husband, two stepsons, a nice home, and lots of support. She had friends and family who were willing to drop everything to comfort her. Not everyone is that lucky.
She's afraid of educating herself about Down Syndrome. She's afraid of learning all the potential health hazards. But she also seemed afraid of learning all the good things that can happen when raising a child with Down Syndrome. When she went to support groups, Kelle felt out of place. This wasn't for her she didn't belong, but eventually Kelle realized she did belong. But sometimes the book felt a little "woe is me." We hear mostly from Kelle. I wanted to hear more from her husband. He took it just as hard, but I wonder if he had the same thoughts as Kelle. Did he worry about loving Nella?
Visually, the book is very pretty to look at. The book is full glossy photographs of Kelle and her family. I think that's part of what kept my attention. At times the content didn't seem to go as deep as the photos. Kelle seemed to be wallowing in self-pity a little too much. But her honesty is refreshing. Yes she loves Nella, but how many parents would put their initial disappointment with their child in print?
Rating: Give it a try
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (William Morrow) in exchange for an honest review.