Kelle Hampton’s life seemed to be perfect. She was close to her family and had a wonderful husband, a two year old daughter she adored, great step-sons, and another baby on the way. Kelle had always wanted to be a mother, so she was happy and content. When it was time for her second daughter to be born, she went to the hospital full of anticipation and excitement which was quickly replaced by grief and despair when she learned her second daughter, Nella, has Down syndrome.
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, by Kelle Hampton, is an absolutely gorgeous book. The cover is just as striking as the dust jacket and the pages are thick and glossy and filled with beautiful photographs, many of which were taken by the author. I’ve flipped through the book many times just to admire the photos.
Hampton shares her story during Nella’s first year of life from her utter despair, to her acceptance, and, finally, to her celebration of what Nella and Down syndrome could bring to their family.
Things were slowly shifting as my perspective tilted toward seeing my child having Down syndrome less as an obstacle and more as an opportunity. An opportunity to bloom where we are planted.
I admire Hampton’s brutal honesty in this book because she doesn’t always come across as sympathetic after Nella’s birth. She was devastated because of the difficulties Nella would face in life and also because she was worried about what other people might think. It’s easy to sit back and judge someone when they express feelings like that but, I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all shared the same kind of emotions.
Speaking of emotions, Bloom is full of them and I found myself crying on more than one occasion. Hampton’s writing draws the reader in and makes you feel like you’re there with her, experiencing the same thing. My only complaint with the book was that some of it became repetitious after a while. Having said that, I enjoyed the book a lot and hope to see more from Hampton in the future.