Thursday, June 17, 2010

Inspiration with a Side of Awesome

As I sat in awe while reading the blog of a fantastically creative photographer, writer and mother I came across a paragraph that gave me chills.

"Once you become a parent...once you start feeling a little funny and you buy that pregnancy test...once you see a pink plus sign...once you know it's not just you anymore...well, you automatically carry around, for the rest of your life, an increased likelihood. To have your heart broken. And it's a constant fear that we struggle to put to rest."

 Kelle Hampton takes my breath away. Her writing is impeccable, her photography is inspiring and her story is uplifting, heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. Her honesty about finding out her daughter had Down Syndrome upon her birth is so refreshing. She doesn't play the bullshit card. She first found out her baby had DS when she was placed on her chest immediately following her birth. No one said a thing..her tests during pregnancy were was a complete shock and she admits it. She speaks extremely candidly about how heartbreaking and hard it was, how angry she was..and every other thing that most people would never admit.

Ok, enough girl-crushing and back to the chills. 
Once I found out I was pregnant a knot of fear set up permanent residence in my throat. I could never articulate why it was there in a non-cliche Kelle did it for me. Its the ever present worrying about your innocent bundle of delicious tiny toes and sweet baby breath. When baby is inside your belly the worrying is present but much much less than when they are out in the world and exposed to all the elements of life. As a parent or parent-to-be you sort of expect to worry about your childs happiness, safety & health as well as worrying about making the right choices for them, you and your family. Those are generally a given but a feeling that isn't always anticipated is the feeling that your heart can be broken at any moment. I won't go into detail about all the ways your heart can be broken once you become a mommy or daddy because if you are a parent you already know, if you are going to be a parent you will feel it in your own way and if you never plan on having kids then you get the get out of jail free card. The Hampton family's hearts broke in ways that none of us could ever comprehend (and hopefully never have to) but she put the "Enjoying the Small Things" spin on their "situation" and..I'll just quote her since I could never say it as well as she does:

"we are not defined by the things that happen to us.  We are defined by how we embrace those things, and Nella's little "diagnosis" does not change the fact that life is big and beautiful and meant to be enjoyed."

They decided to embrace life and all it has to offer, big and small, and live it as hard as they could! While I always have in the back of my head and heart the ifs, ands & buts of life as a parent I have to maintain my focus: give our family the most amazing, fun, creative, beautiful adventures and life we can live and embrace every second of every minute. Easier said than done since my anxiety skyrockets when I think about all the horrible things that can happen in this world (granted, I have always done this to some extent but since having my sweet girl it skyrockets x 2000) but I can try my hardest..and I will.

I leave you with a wonderfully honest excerpt from the beautiful birth story (accompanied by beautiful pictures) of Nella Cordelia. 

"I knew the minute I saw her that she had Down Syndrome and nobody else did. I held her and cried. Cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone that would tell me she didn't have it. I held her and looked at her like she wasn't my baby and tried to take it in. And all I can remember of these moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over...she locked eyes with mine and stared...bore holes into my soul.
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. I don't remember a lot here. My friends have filled me in, but I feel like I was in a black hole. I know I held her. I know I kissed her. I know I begged every power in the world that this wasn't happening...that she was normal, but I knew in my soul exactly what this was"

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