A few month back Table for More blogger, Allie, contacted me about this great opportunity. She has been following the blog, Enjoying the Small Things for quite some time. Kelle Hampton, from Enjoying the Small Things blogs about her life and most recently a huge surprise she received at the birth of her second child, Nella. Allie shared Kelle’s blog with the other moms in our book club to see if we might be interested in pre-ordering the book and receive a chance to skype with the author Kelle Hampton. We all agreed that the blog was well written and intriguing, Kelle had a unique story and we wanted to read more. That was back in March and fast forward to today and we have almost all completed the book and Table for More blogger Allie had us all over to her home to skype with the author Friday. But before I get ahead of myself….
What others have said about Bloom……
The desire to be cool was very annoying. I don’t really appreciate grown-ups starting sentences with “Dude” and the endless references to cold beers for this and that occasion/feeling/trial/triumph struck me as very odd. A good editor makes a writer sound better. Where was the editor for this book? Mommy Life
I really liked the basic look of the book in general. It is filled with photo after beautiful photo of Kelle, Nella, and Lainey…. not to mention the rest of their family and Kelle’s amazing group of friends. It feels like you are looking at a scrapbook, and the text is a casual conversation Kelle is having with you; telling her story. Because this is Kelle’s story, not necessarily Nella’s. This is not a book about Down’s Syndrome, but rather about a mother loving her daughter who just happens to have Down’s Syndrome. Sarah Reads to Much
When I first read the story of Nella Cordelia’s birth a little over two years ago, I found it all to be unreal. So much of it seemed staged, and there was very little I could relate to – from the Martha Stewart-esque party favors, to the full makeup while giving birth, to the photos that seemed absolutely intended for a vast audience. Most of all, I just couldn’t swallow the notion that this woman “got over it” – her baby’s surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome – so quickly and virtually effortlessly. It seemed that within 24 hours, she was fine with the whole thing, and I called bullshit. Turn the Page
I feel like this book is getting a bad rap. The Book Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected–A Memoir is without a doubt beautiful, I thoroughly enjoyed the reprieve from the words on the page and viewing the amazing photographs Kelle included. Are they out of this world and almost perfect, of course they are but Kelle is a photographer. She has the eye of a photographer and her experience has taught her what will and will not work when it comes to photography. So why should we expect anything less than a perfect shot. Also, let’s face it, as moms don’t we want the world seeing only the best possible pictures of our families?
I think that Kelle is an amazing descriptive writer; I enjoyed reading the analogies she included along her journey. Then again, I am an analogy girl; I can connect better with a story after hearing the analogy. I realize some people are not that way but I do think everyone reads a book hoping to make some sort of connection and it is there, the connection, which I feel the book was slightly lacking at first.
At the beginning of the book, while reading Kelle’s excitement for the impending birth of her second child it had me recalling the birth of my second child and I so desperately wanted to find that similarly that we shared but I struggled. I went to the hospital with my husband but I preferred to labor without any distractions, I needed to focus my mind so I could get through the intense portions of labor. I then requested that my husband, I, and our new bundle of joy share those first few hours alone, to bond, to dream, in order to relish for future memory. So our birth stories were quite different. I felt like instead of Nella’s birth story being about Nella it was supposed to be more about Kelle, and a “look what I did” celebration. But upon the arrival of what should have been a “perfect baby” for this “perfect celebration” God intervened. I was a little bit taken back by the idea that it had never even entered into her mind that her child could have some type of deformity or health issue. My husband and I decided to forgo any pre-testing with our three children but in the back of my mind I had to prepare myself for the “what if”. I had always thought all mothers did that but perhaps not.
I think Kelle was incredibly courageous to share such raw emotions with her readers. Not many moms that I know would have the bravery to be so brutally honest about how they feel especially when it comes to their child. One such experience Kelle shared was when she walked into Target and she wanted to hide Nella from the crowds, not knowing how to explain that she has Down syndrome. Kelle seemed to have been overly worried and concerned about what others thought and it seems like that is her Mount Everest, she needs to climb that mountain now, and maybe she will address this in a future book? But, where I could relate and what I thought was the most profound aspect of the book was her support system.
Without a doubt the most amazing part of this book and the main focus throughout was Kelle’s family and friends. This book had me calling up my mom and saying thank you for all she and my father have done for me and my brother and sister. It had me texting, emailing, and calling friends to catch-up. It had me thanking God for the amazing support system I have and for that, the opportunity to realized how blessed I am, I most definitely say thank you Kelle. You can’t help but wonder who would be there for you, in a similar situation. Which one of your friends would come into the bathroom with you after giving birth? Who would spend the night with you in the hospital? Who would have the courage to say some outlandish things because they know you need to laugh? Who? Kelle may have received some darn right mean reviews but I can’t help but think those women are hurting perhaps because they realized they may not have received the waves of support that Kelle did.
I think people, moms, begin reading this book with the intention of learning about what it feels like to find out you have a child with down syndrome, but I think that is the wrong focus of the book, it is called Bloom for a reason. In order for a flower to bloom it requires soil, water, sun, and a little attention never hurt. We are the same as those flowers; we grow and bloom based upon the necessary elements and sometimes those are different for each of us. I personally feel that faith, family, and friendship are the elements that allow us to bloom into the magnificent people who God had intended. Each of those elements is clearly present in Kelle’s life and I thank her for allowing so many to come into her garden of life and watch her Bloom.
It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to skype with Kelle at Allie’s home. Thank you Table for More for introducing me to Enjoying the Small Things and ultimately the book Bloom and the opportunity to skype with Kelle about her amazing support network while sitting with mine.
Kelle, I also wish you many more blessings and that your garden of life does expand very soon. God bless you and your family,
Have your read Bloom? What is your take? Have you had something happen in your life that allowed you to grow as a person? Do you have an amazing support network of friends? Any particular scenario you wish to share regarding your support network?