Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected–A Memoir by Kelle Hampton StarStarStarStarStar

Amazon Book Description:

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.

From the outside looking in, Kelle Hampton had the perfect life: a beautiful two-year-old daughter, a loving husband, a thriving photography career, and great friends. When she learned she was pregnant with her second child, she and her husband, Brett, were ecstatic. Her pregnancy went smoothly and the ultrasounds showed a beautiful, healthy, high-kicking baby girl.

But when her new daughter was placed in her arms in the delivery room, Kelle knew instantly that something was wrong. Nella looked different than her two-year-old sister, Lainey, had at birth. As she watched friends and family celebrate with champagne toasts and endless photographs, a terrified Kelle was certain that Nella had Down syndrome—a fear her pediatrician soon confirmed. Yet gradually Kelle’s fear and pain were vanquished by joy, as she embraced the realization that she had been chosen to experience an extraordinary and special gift.

With lyrical prose and gorgeous full-color photography, Bloom takes readers on a wondrous journey through Nella’s first year of life—a gripping, hilarious, and intensely poignant trip of transformation in which a mother learns that perfection comes in all different shapes. It is a story about embracing life and really living it, of being fearless and accepting difference, of going beyond constricting definitions of beauty, and of the awesome power of perspective. As Kelle writes, “There is us. Our Family. We will embrace this beauty and make something of it. We will hold our precious gift and know that we are lucky.”

My Review: I’ve spoken about the inspiring blog, Enjoying The Small Things, before, so when Kelle Hampton announced on her blog that she was writing a book, I didn’t hesitate and pre-ordered it that day.  Oh and then I counted the days until it arrived.  From reading her blog daily, I was already prepared for her grippingly honest and real account on life.  Kelle refuses to hold emotions back, even if they may stir up a negative or condescending reaction.  And that’s what I love about her.  She doesn’t pretend to be the world’s unruly definition of “perfect” and have only thoughts of rainbows and unicorns.  No, some days are a challenge, but in her new found perspective she amazingly transform them into beauty.  To say I was enthralled by her memoir would be an understatement.  I read it in 2 days.  And it would have been 2 hours had I not had to do this silly thing called work.  Even though I knew the story of Nella’s entrance into the world and have seen her gorgeous face every week on Kelle’s blog, I drank in every word and photo as if it could be my own story someday.  And that translates to the fact that for the majority of my reading, I was also crying.  I could feel her pain that was so accurately described and I think that anyone in any situation has felt that terrifying gut-wrenching pain before.  This book isn’t just about Kelle’s journey of acceptance and new world view, but really about taking anything in life that isn’t as you imagined and learning to see the other side.  The beautiful and rich side.  The side that makes you feel grateful.  Because as one of her many mantras, and maybe mine now too, what will we do with “our one wild and precious life” (original quote by Mary Oliver)?  Will we hide behind it with worry and fear living in our minds, or will we embrace it and love it instead.  I choose to love it.

Next up… Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford OR The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

**I was not asked to, or compensated for, writing this book review.



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