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 syndromea 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 lifea 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."
About the Author
Writer and photographer Kelle Hampton chronicles the simple joys of motherhood and daily life on her popular blog, Enjoying the Small Things. She has been recognized as a Babble Top 50 Mom Blogger, and her blog was named The Best Special Needs Blog by The Bump and The Blog You've Learned the Most From in the 2010 BlogLuxe Awards. An advocate for individuals with Down syndrome, Kelle has been honored by both the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), receiving the NDSC National Media Award in 2010. She has been interviewed on CNN as a Connector of the Day and on Rosie O'Donnell's radio program, Rosie Radio. Kelle lives in Naples, Florida, with her husband, Brett; their two daughters, Lainey and Nella; and her stepsons, Austyn and Brandyn.
Praise for Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected--A Memoir…
“Bloom is one of the most emotionally stirring books I’ve ever read…. This story is a reminder that perfect, when it comes to human beings, is such a relative (and irrelevant) term…and that a mother’s love for her child is a powerful, eternal, unshakable force.”
-Ree Drummond, New York Times bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks
“Kelle Hampton…reminds us that life may not always look pretty or perfect, but it is always beautiful…. She has indeed made of her life something ‘wild and precious’ and her book, like her two beautiful girls, is a bundle of joy. I finished it reluctantly and with a full heart.”
-Claire Fontaine, national bestselling author of Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back
“In her tender and genuinely beautiful memoir, Kelle Hampton encourages us to not simply accept the unexpected circumstances of our lives, but to embrace them like the things we wished for all along.”
-Matthew Logelin, New York Times bestselling author of Two Kisses for Maddy
“A constitutionally positive person…Hampton makes a convincing argument that grief and disappointment can be transformed into compassion and joy.”
-People (3 stars)
#11 New York Times Bestseller
-New York Times
A USA Today Bestseller
“Bloom is not only about a particular young mother working through the place of hurt …it is about all of us…. [A] powerful meditation on loss, perspective, challenge and opportunity. Give it to anyone you know who is hurting.”
-Fort Myers Florida Weekly
“In Bloom, a searing and brave portrait of her baby’s first year, Hampton opens up about her fears…jubilation, and…‘the throbbing pain of losing what I had expected.’ Filled with personal photos from the delivery room through Nella’s first birthday, Bloom gives…new meaning to the term ‘open book.’”
Winner of 2012 Mom’s Choice Silver Award, Biographies & Memoirs
-Mom's Choice Awards