Kelle has seemingly had a wonderful pregnancy. She made favors. She invited her friends. She made welcome signs at home. Everything was ready for Nella, but it turns out Nella was not going to be what was expected.
Nella arrived into the world a midst joy and happiness, but that soon faded. It was glaringly obvious that Nella was different. No one even had to wait for the blood tests to confirm. Nella had Down Syndrome.
At first, Kelle was devastated. She didn’t get the baby she wanted. She didn’t get the child she thought she was going to get. She mourned all the things Nella wasn’t going to get to do because she had Down Syndrome. Nella was jaundiced and that was a hurdle, but everything else with Nella was fine. She did not have any heart problems, nor did she have cancer. Nella could go home.
Kelle had to learn to be a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, but the more she learned, she found out that it wasn’t so entirely different as she had first thought. Nella was still a baby. She still needed the same things. Sure there were therapists involved, but Nella was a normal child for the most part.
Kelle soon threw herself into the world of Down Syndrome and raised money for the cause. She also wrote about it on her blog. Nella had learned to take what she had and make it bloom.
What I liked
I liked that Kelle’s and Nella’s story turned out so well. This is how it should be, really. If a family encounters the birth of a child with Down Syndrome, this is how it should work out. The mother should still be able to write in her blog, take her pictures, and make the little favors. The family should still be supportive. The older brothers should worry about whether or not people will make fun of their sister. There should be a large support group around the family. The father should totally and completely accept the child. Really, this is how life is supposed to work; if you get knocked down, you get right back up and make the best of what you have.
What I didn’t like
While I really admire the things Kelle has done, her story is not typical. Kelle doesn’t even seem as an overly real person from her story. I’m not trying to say that Kelle doesn’t exist or that somebody made her up, because she does exist. I’m trying to say that Kelle is too good to be true in a lot of ways. She lost her baby-weight almost immediately, well, from what I can tell of her pictures. She had time to make favors for her birth. She had all these friends. She had beer. She has this husband who adores her and accepts whatever comes along.
I have never known anyone who has made favors for the birth of a child. In my experience, Kelle is not typical and seems almost Stepford-wife-ish. While Kelle does have this distinction, her struggle isn’t any less real, but her struggle wasn’t exactly awful either though. With Down Syndrome, there are often heart problems involved, major heart problems. One of my former high-school teachers had a baby with Down Syndrome when I was still in high school. The baby had to have open-heart surgery before it was even born and then other surgeries once it was born. Kelle skipped all of that.
Let’s also be blunt about this, many Down Syndrome babies are aborted or given up for adoption. While the attitudes about Down Syndrome are changing, many people choose to abort these babies. Fathers choose not to accept them, even when the mothers do. The darker side of children with Down Syndrome is quite sad. Kelle had the absolute best experience she could have had.
It’s great that Kelle wrote this book, but it’s not a typical experience. Kelle’s life, along with Nella’s, turned out to be something so much better than the lives of many family’s who have a member of the family who has Down Syndrome.
I’m glad Kelle found a good life. I’m glad she was able to take what she had and make it beautiful.
Is Kelle a person you feel sympathy for?
Does Kelle need sympathy?