Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: Bloom

After reading the introduction found through Pinterest, I read Kelle Hampton's Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected.

Kelle Hampton didn't find out that her second daughter had Down syndrome until she was born. A difficult diagnosis and adjustment even if you know ahead of time--all the more of a shock when you don't. This book is the emotional journey Hampton took the first year of her daughter's life.

There is a lot of merit to this book, and I do recommend it for some reasons. So first, let me get the stuff that bugged me off my chest. Hampton is blessed to have good family and many, many friends. At a party where she invites her closest girlfriends to, there are 28 women. I have good friends too. But I simply couldn't relate to feeling that close to that many people. I also couldn't relate to Hampton's ability to frequently go out for a girl's night on the town when she had a toddler and a baby at home. As someone who has never had a sip of alcohol, I found it strange how often Hampton drank to party or escape reality--especially since she was a nursing mother. And there were a few words that she simply couldn't leave alone. Badass was used far to often to be funny. And, I'm sorry, does everyone you know really call you "babe"? Maybe that's simply a lack of finesse with writing dialogue. Or maybe it's just my problem with being emotionally guarded when she clearly is not.

Even with my complaints about some writing style choices, I could tell she is someone I would read as a blogger, which is how she started. Her writing wouldn't bother me in little bites. And though I found her partying, gregariousness, and effusiveness hard to relate to, I'm sure for many people, these things would just make her book and message more accessible.

Her book would be best for other mothers or family members who have children with Down syndrome or other extra challenges. But the beauty of her book would be good for any mother--her honesty in her emotions. We hate to admit to any lack of loving feeling for our children. I fear an unplanned pregnancy because I never want to feel, even for a moment, that I didn't want a child coming to me. Hampton is honest about her feelings of wishing to have a "normal" child. She's honest about the gut wrenching pain and tears of the first night of her daughter's life. There is less guilt as we as mothers admit to imperfect feelings and actions. And Hampton works her way through it, which should offer a glimmer of hope for anyone struggling with a child.

"It is a rite of passage not just for special needs, but for motherhood--to worry, to cry, to go to the awful place of 'what would I do IF?' We ache when they ache, and we write with distress at the thought that they will, at some point in life, be hurt. And they will."

Interesting that I read this now as only a couple of weeks ago I had a discussion with a friend about childrens' personalities and challenges. Are we given the children we can handle, or the children we need to learn and grow?

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