This morning I sent Ben off to take Jakob to a birthday party, I made myself another cup of coffee and finished Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected–A Memoir by Kelle Hampton. It was important to me that I buy it and read it not only to support Kelle, who I view as a sister in this big DS family but also because she is, whether she knows the impact of it or not, the present voice of DS Mommas. She has the ability to speak and be heard by many, raising awareness and showing the world how wonderful a life with designer genes can be.
Let me begin by saying, Kelle has produced a very aesthetically pleasing book filled with many of her beautiful photographs. Her writing style stays true to her blog, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your own preferences. And while it is not the genre I tend to be drawn to, it definitely resonates with the larger population of Mommas who read it. She has written out her story beautifully, a story which a lot of people find themselves in. But note, I am not going to try and push aside my feelings towards Kelle in my review of this book. I read it with all of my own preconceptions from the journey we have had together for the last two years whether she is aware of it or not (which I am pretty sure she is not, as I have never met her nor conversed with her).
I remember the first time someone sent me the link to her blog. Ella was already 8 or 9 months and I too had blogged my journey. So when I read her story, I hesitated before adding to over a thousand comments to welcome her to the DS family. But I did. Because, just in case she read it, I wanted her to know it was going to be okay. If I had known her feelings towards “support” at the time, I probably wouldn’t have offered a hand but I did and I put a link to my blog to say you’re not alone. Our kids were about the same age and probably like hundreds of other moms out there, I thought maybe she would find a connection and a comfort. I think she was already too big for that though. Regardless, I began to follow her blog, like I do many other DS mommas and had to swallow my tongue and my pride every time someone sent me a link to her site, which was often.
Kelle and I are very different people even though many of the circumstances and events in our lives are so similar. We both come from broken families where the church took sides and we, as kids were caught in the middle of a manipulative game. We have families that have taught us to love despite mistakes, misgivings, sexual orientation and pressure from those we trusted. The first chapters of Bloom couldn’t make our differences more evident. I was captivated by her response to Nella. It was completely foreign to me and I while I felt my throat tighten as I read of her first night, the gut-wrenching pain that she spoke of was something I knew very little about.
Do you know the phrase, What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger? I hate that phrase. But now thinking back on it, I guess it is true. My life has been through many valleys. A friend commented on the last part of Ella’s story, that she cried when she heard about Ella: How could this happen to my beautiful Krista? Hadn’t their family been through enough? I won’t go into the details but lets just say there has been major refining in my life. This refining I cursed at the time, but perhaps it was the reason that instead of crying out “WHY ME?!“, I thought quietly, of course, me.
I have never had a “perfect” life at least not in the way society views perfect, so unlike Kelle, I didn’t feel like I was losing out on anything when Ella was born. And when looking at this book as a whole, I think that would be my biggest disappointment: Kelle spends more time talking about herself, how she would accept the challenge…that she has been given lemons but with her incredible attitude and strength will make lemonade. Instead, I saw Ella as a gift. A precious gift that I had been entrusted with from God and he would give me the strength and grace to raise this child. And this, my friends is what our differences hinge on. While Kelle talks about God and even believes in God, He plays a very different role in her life than mine. She knows the lingo, she was a PK (pastor’s kid) for goodness’ sake but there is a serious disconnect and relationship that needs to be mended there.
This brokeness shines through in Chapter Nine when she talks about “God-spinners”.
Now that you know what I think, why don’t you find out for yourself. Long story short, I accidentally ordered two. So just leave me a comment or email to let me know and it’s yours.