Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton

I’ve been reluctant to read this book ever since I first heard, months ago, of its impending arrival on bookstore shelves, given that I’ve been turned off by the whole Kelle Hampton brand since her now famous birth story first started making its way around the internet over two years ago.  I finally relented because, let’s face it – it’s pretty much the biggest thing to hit the Down syndrome community since Road Map to Holland.  There’s been a ton of hype and promotion of this book, and in the end – especially since, as a parent of a child with Down syndrome myself, I try to read everything that hits the Down syndrome literary landscape – I caved and downloaded Bloom to my iPad.

I won’t lie and say that I wanted to like this book.  What I wanted was to be able to read it with an open mind, which I knew would be difficult given my well-settled distaste for most of what Kelle presents and seems to represent, and I wanted to try to understand what it is about Kelle and her story that seems to appeal to the masses so much.

When I first read the story of Nella Cordelia’s birth a little over two years ago, I found it all to be unreal.  So much of it seemed staged, and there was very little I could relate to – from the Martha Stewart-esque party favors, to the full makeup while giving birth, to the photos that seemed absolutely intended for a vast audience.  Most of all, I just couldn’t swallow the notion that this woman “got over it” – her baby’s surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome – so quickly and virtually effortlessly.  It seemed that within 24 hours, she was fine with the whole thing, and I called bullshit.  Having gone through it myself about a year and a half before Kelle did, I knew that there is a process of grief involved in coming to terms with birthing a baby who turns out to be different from the one you planned for.

In Bloom, we find out that, indeed, she wasn’t over it in 24 hours.  But her account in her book is almost as unreal as the initial nearly griefless account she documented on her now famous blog, Enjoying the Small Things.  Rather, there was earth-shattering grief, there was “writhing in bed” with the pain of it all, there was crying “for seven hours straight,” so that in the morning after Nella’s birth, Kelle looked like a prize-fighter with eyes so swollen with shed tears that they were mere slits in her face.  And this went on for days.

That’s the thing about Kelle Hampton: it’s all about extremes.  Nothing is average or middle-of-the-road, and the constant extremity of it all diminishes her credibility.  So does the fact that in the midst of this soul-shattering grief during the first couple of days in the hospital, she was able to pull herself together enough to notice that the on-call OB was hot.  In fact, she refers to him in her book as “Dr. Hottie” as she recounts asking him for something she could take to help her “not be so sad.”  I can’t help but wonder how it would go over had her husband referred to – or even noticed – a nurse who was “hot” so soon after the birth of their daughter, and during such a time of initial grief, to boot.

I spent a good part of the book feeling disgusted and rather pissed off.  Why, oh why, was her grief so extreme?  Yes, she gave birth to a baby and received a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome.  That is a shock, and one that everyone who is faced with must come to terms with in their own way and their own time.  But, I have to say, as one of many, many moms whose baby’s surprise diagnosis was accompanied by immediate health issues, immediate major surgery, an extended stay in the NICU, and prolonged feeding difficulties, it is very difficult not to feel like – if this is the true account of Kelle’s experience – that she was a big, spoiled baby.  Nella was fine.  The worst – and only – issue she faced was jaundice, which was treated with photo-therapy right there in Kelle’s hospital room.  And though Kelle had a normal, uncomplicated vaginal birth, she was allowed to remain in that hospital room with her new daughter for five days – she never had to suffer through forced separation, she had full access to her daughter at all times.  Nella nursed like a champ and gained weight from the get-go.  Kelle’s hospital room was constantly filled with dozens of friends from her “net,” bringing her food and beer from the outside, pampering her and holding her hand while she cried for hours on end, keeping her company while she showered, and handing her her makeup so she could primp in order to face this ghastly ordeal.

Sigh.  I think it goes without saying that this is not the average Joe’s experience.  And I don’t know that Kelle realizes this, either – that truly, in the grand configuration, she has lucked out at every turn.

After five days in the hospital, and after being reassured by her pediatrician again that Nella is “a normal, perfect, beautiful baby,” Kelle tells the doctor,

“You know,” I told her, “I’m gonna do this differently than you’ve ever seen it done before. I’m gonna come up with my own way, and it’s gonna be amazing.”

Thereby rejecting the entire Down syndrome parenting community who came before her (much like Rick Smith over at Noah’s Dad) without even getting to know them, many of whom would become her most ardent fans and supporters.  Go figure.

The rest of the book chronicle’s Nella’s first year – or, rather, Kelle’s first year as Nella’s mother, because really, this book is about Kelle and not Nella.  Over that first year, we are treated to various parties and trips and outings, a physical therapist who is “a little bit hot,” a recounting of a wild night of drunken skinny-dipping with the neighbors (not really sure what this had to do with anything, except maybe to show everyone how super cool she is?), her ability to identify with women who struggle with infertility because she suffered through four long months of trying to get pregnant, many, many photographs (227 to be exact, 103 of which contain Kelle herself – in case you were wondering), and, oh yeah, the breakup of her parents’ marriage when Kelle was a kid.

I actually do think that this little bit of history is pertinent to the whole Kelle story.  Kelle and her older brother and sister had an idyllic childhood with a dad who was a pastor and both parents who approached child rearing like it was “an Olympic event.”  When she was in the third grade, she was called out of class to leave school early for the day because, as it turned out, her mother had packed up their belongings and left Kelle’s dad because, as she later found out, her dad was gay.  She writes:

“So, for what seemed like six hours, my mom and grandma did what you do when you love your littles and want to spare them from hurt. You pretend it’s okay. You fake smile and tell stories and overcompensate for the slightest moment of awkward silence with forced normalcy.”

And that, my friends, is why she has this need to make everything perfect, or at least to appear perfect. She never learned to truly cope. She learned to fake it, and she learned that if you can make it look good, then it is good.  Appearances seem to play such a huge part in the whole Kelle Hampton brand, which to me, makes everything seem very shallow.

Her writing is mediocre – not horrible, but certainly not stupendous.  I’ve long wondered if her writing could stand on its own without all the fabulous photographs, and I think the fact that this book is about 50% photos speaks volumes.  While she has the ability to dig deep and come up with something meaningful, she’s very prone to melodrama, canned-sounding nuggets of wisdom, clichés, and sophomoric expression.  This is not the writing of a mature woman, but rather, of a girl who sees herself as a “rockstar” and a “badass,” and enjoys her position up on a high pedestal.

“I walked through the parking lot, breathing heavy and chanting to the rhythm of my jeweled sandals hitting the pavement, ‘I’m a rockstar. I’m a rockstar. I’m a rockstar.'”

I think the thing that bothers me the most is this whole facade of Kelle having overcome so much adversity and triumphing in spite of it.

“At the fork in the road on this journey, I thought long and hard before I chose my path. And, for the sake of everyone – but especially my kids, who needed a happy mama – I took the path of positivity.”

She is widely seen – and touts herself – as a “positive person,” as someone who sees her glass as “half full.”  The truth is, though, that her cup runneth over!  And yet, she’s lauded for seeing it as half-full?  And what adversity has she overcome?  A broken home?  Millions and millions of us have come from that and worse.  A child with Down syndrome?  Tens of thousands of us have also dealt with that, and in her case, Down syndrome is barely more than a label, seeing that Nella has been fortunate enough to be minimally affected by her extra chromosome.

Kelle believes in “living life big,” but to me it just comes across as grandiose and materialistic.  I find it very disturbing and puzzling that so many people have chosen someone with those ideals to hold up as a role model.

In the end, she manages some reflection, some regret, and some gratitude, but it’s not enough for me.  Fundamentally, I think Kelle will remain too focused on appearances and the audience she now caters to and depends upon for her popularity.  I think those who already love her and what she presents will love this book, and those who already don’t like what she’s selling won’t like this book.  People who read it and are not themselves touched in any way personally by Down syndrome probably will see her as noble and courageous, since most people on the outside of this experience still see Down syndrome as something inherently tragic, and that to accept it and embrace it is heroic.

I’m most concerned about how this book might impact expectant and new parents facing a diagnosis of Down syndrome; if they are as fortunate as Kelle has been, then it might be a welcome addition to their bookshelf; if, on the other hand, they are like many other parents who do not enjoy the good fortune and resources Kelle has, I think it just might make them feel like shit.

I think Kelle still has quite a bit of blooming to do.

139 thoughts on “Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton

  1. This is not a book I plan on reading. I figured it would be more of her blog put bound between two hard covers and well, ew. I agree with everything you’ve stated about her, in general. It’s almost as if she’s trying to construct something to overcome, when, in reality, she doesn’t have a clue what some parents of children with DS go through. Can you imagine her being the mother to Parker? Or Jaxson? Or any of the kiddos with seizure disorders or big, huge, life or death issues?

    I can only wonder how she would try to paint that away.

    It will be interesting to see if Nella “evens out” as she ages. Em was a VERY high functioning toddler and preschooler. Now that she’s in first grade, her inabilities and developmental delays are more profound, noticeable and undeniable. I would no longer label her as “high functioning”, but rather “a typical kid with Down syndrome.” If that’s the case with Nella, how would KH handle it?

    You can paint over the surface of just about anything, but it doesn’t change what lies underneath. And, in time, paint flakes off and underneath is years of rot and neglect.

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  2. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and mine differs from yours. This is her book…her experience…her story…not ours.

    As the mother of a child with DS, I do subscribe to some of Kelle’s optimism. I think there is nothing wrong with looking and searching for the bright side of everything. For not accepting opinions of others…I hope to try to change them…or at least enlighten them. Trying to create a better tomorrow. I think every parent wants the best for their children and I certainly don’t fault Kelle for pushing Nella to realize her greatest potential. I think parents that label their children as a “typical child with Down syndrome” are missing the point. None of our kids are “typical”…not even “typical” kids. Each child has a gift to share. A talent. Fostering those talents are our jobs as parents. And yes – kids with Down syndrome, as a whole, experience some difficulty with learning…but I will never forget what an amazing doctor told me upon my daughter’s birth…every child is different. Every child. You can have 3 children (all typical)…one could be an athlete, one could be artistic and one could be brilliant. Why are they not all the same when they are raised in the same house by the same family? They are unique individuals and people with Down syndrome are just that. They each have a gift to share with the world.

    The previous commenter spoke of creating beauty…Don’t we all CREATE beauty? We take our children to parks, read to them, have holiday traditions, and love them with all that we are. That is CREATING beauty. It doesn’t just happen.

    And yes – life sucks. A lot. And there is laundry and sickness and house chores (all of which Kelle talks about, too)…but she chooses to mainly focus on what is important…her children and her love of them. I happen to applaud her for focusing on all of those things when life is so easy to focus on the negative. I truly don’t believe she is “selling” something. I think she is being raw and telling her experiences…and yes, creating a lot of them. But I happen to believe most things in life that are experiences, are created. In order for a child to enjoy writing on a sidewalk, you must buy chalk with that in mind. In order for a child to enjoy swimming, you must have a pool or a membership. In order for your child to learn to ride a bike, you must provide them with a bike. The point is, we all create joy…just by setting up life in a happy way for our kids. Whether we choose to enjoy that beauty and that joy is up to us. I choose to enjoy it.

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    • I agree too. Alot of people on this thread are being negative and hateful and taking things the wrong way. Her writing and blog are inspirational for goodness sake. It’s your personal choice to think whatever you want of her, but does it really matter? If you couldn’t stand what she is based on her blog, of course you don’t like the book. Here’s a woman voicing her raw, honest feelings about struggles and she gets attacked from people who are too sensitive.

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  3. I take offense to the fact that I’m “missing the point”. (Funny how you’re so quick to judge me while saying KH shouldn’t be judged.) When I say my child is a “typical child with Down syndrome” I am referring to her DIAGNOSIS and where she fits on the spectrum of that diagnosis. I am not denying she has talents, strengths and vast individual traits that make who she is as a PERSON.

    Creating beauty and using to cover up reality completely different.

    I’m not quite sure where you were going with your last paragraph, but I also choose to enjoy it. However, that doesn’t mean I subscribe to or jump on every pretty bandwagon that passes by.

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    • her birth story was far from staged. i personally believe that she had her “village” with her because that is just how she rolls. she made each person a little gift box because she seems like the kind of person that loves to give. if you’ve followed her blog then you will see that she’s the first to throw a baby shower or a birthday party for a dear friend. i think she genuinely loves to make people happy.

      i’m sorry but there is no way her birth story was staged. i mean sure, she might have put make-up on to look decent in her pictures which just means that she likes to be pretty. who was she harming while sliding on her lipstick anyway? not a thing wrong with that.

      she wanted all her girlfriends with her because she seems like the kind of girl who likes to go through things (good or bad) with her troops. not a thing wrong with that either.

      and those same girlfriends, knowing their friend, took a plethora of photos because they knew that kelle would appreciate it.

      i think kelle is an ultra-talented artist. she get’s ridiculed for staging her children in wonderful clothes when i truly believe that she is just expressing yet another facet of art. she wears rad clothes because she digs fashion. she isn’t trying to piss anyone off by being all sorts of cute. she’s just way to artistic for her own good and expresses it in her clothing, her children’s clothing, her writing, her photography, and her love for life.

      i guess i’m just baffled by the negative reviews on such a great person. her blog isn’t a “brand”, it’s good for the soul. or at least it’s good for mine.

      oh and i don’t think she got over down syndrome in a day. matter of fact, i’m certain that the fear of the unknown is mightily present in her thoughts at least once a day and that she finds her happy place through blogging.

      i can’t get over some of the mean things said about her, especially since i can’t recall one nasty things that she has ever uttered about anyone.

      she’s pretty freaking awesome in my opinion. i’m sitting her full term pregnant, extremely exhausted, and find myself up way past my bedtime defending some lady that i’ve never met.

      by the way, i read her book and strongly recommend it. and no, it wasn’t solely about nella…which wasn’t a bit surprising because kelle fiercely tries to focus on life. the fullness of it. and i guarantee that nella will benefit from having a mom that rocks life out.

      team kelle!!

      peace out!

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      • Team pathetic.

        Her entire life is staged.

        She is the first to throw a party, give gifts, etc. And she’s right there with her camera and her blog to turn every possible angle of every event and gift on HERSELF.

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  4. I was blown away by Nella’s birth story when it first appeared on Kelle’s blog and went viral. The way she did birthing was so completely different from me (the room full of friends, the party favors, the photographs) that I found it all fascinating. The emotions she talked about were similar to what I felt: deep, deep anguish. I visited her blog occasionally after that but eventually quit because it was always the same: lovely, happy, beautiful, embracing DS. I bought her book and started reading it last night. Unfortunately it might be one of those books I don’t finish. I am easily bored by navel gazing, especially when there’s no real original insight because the navel under consideration is so . . . average. And I was a little offended that she rejected the support of the on-line DS community. I LOVE my on-line DS community.
    Thanks for the review!

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  5. Thanks for the review. I was on the fence about this book. I found the birth story fairy tale like and found it to be staged. I don’t begrudge that she handles things differently however, when she chooses to blatantly toss aside a whole community as if she is better somehow I do take offense. I don’t care to read about a life all rosy and glamorous and one that is about looking good and making money rather than true educating. Her story and pictures were fine and dandy but she walks alone in her shoes and her voice is not one that speaks for me or to me.

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  6. I think you missed an important point: 2 years in is WAY too early to write a memoir. There is absolutely no sense of perspective, and the book is shallow by its very nature.

    Otherwise, I completely agree – this could easily be a review of her blog, not just her book.

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    • I completely agree. I’ve wondered for a long time why someone so new on the path would be writing a memoir. I’m guessing that Harper Collins stumbled upon her blog (or had it directed to them) and they saw marketability (I.e., $$$) based on her huge fan base. It’s weird to me, too, that she was asked to be a guest speaker at a local DS support group when Nella was a mere two months old, and that she received a media award presented at the annual Ds convention when Nella was less than a year old. I really think its just based on her popularity, which seems to feed itself – she’s popular so more people want to be a part of it so her popularity grows. And I think her dad had a lot to do with that birth story going viral. He was certainly monitoring comments/popularity as soon as she clicked “publish.”

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      • You said you loved Road Map to Holland (as did I) but wasn’t her child only a few years old also when that book was written? I think it is actually better when you are closer to the first few years. I’m too far ahead now to remember details. The memoirs bring back those details for me.

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  7. There is something else that bothers me about this book in general: her kid is only 2. That is way too early for a memoir. How can you wax poetic about the profound effects of delivering a child with Down syndrome after only 2 years? That makes the book shallow just by its very nature.

    Otherwise, I completely agree with you – and I think this could easily be a review of her blog, not just the book.

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  8. Very well put. I’m not reading the book. I can’t get past reading her blog. Because I can’t identify AT ALL with it. And there are plenty of blogs that I don’t identify my life with theirs- but at least with those, I feel like I’m learning something about them, about their religion, their heartbreaks, etc.

    With Kelle’s, I think I’m learning more about her advertisers, her friends, and what it’s like to be rich. Things I don’t really need to know.

    I do not begrudge her success. I don’t think she quite “gets it” as far as what Down syndrome really can be (like the previous commenter said, look at Jaxon or the others…). and I think she paints an overly rosy picture, and with that, I think loses some credibility in my book. I can’t identify with someone who thinks she’s a rockstar when really she has it VERY good.

    I like blogs that talk about both sides. The good and the not so good. I like honesty. And I’m not saying she’s dishonest, I just don’t think she sees things as they are for other people.

    I have four kids. She has two. We work HARD to support our kids. We can’t go on fancy vacations and we don’t live by a beach. I have two kids with special needs (one with autism, one with Down syndrome) she has one. My life isn’t at all like hers, even though our daughters have the same number of chromosomes. And I don’t think I have ANYTHING to learn from her.

    Or freaking Noah’s dad. He’s the WORST. Tell me how to raise my freaking kids after you have a couple more. ahole.

    Anyways, fantastic review.

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      • My god, is it necessary for y’all to be so nasty? For a community that claims to be all about supporting each other and staying strong, you sure are quick to tear this woman apart.

        Sounds like she isn’t the one who needs to get over herself. Shame on all of you.

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  9. I’ve long felt like an outcast in the Ds world for NOT buying into the whole Kelle Hampton thing (I, too, called bullshit). It’s lovely to see that there are others out there unimpressed with the facade.

    I will fully admit that a reason for my disgruntledness is a bit of jealousy. I poured my soul into my blog for ages and didn’t end up on Good Morning America or wherever else she was trotted out as the spokeswoman for Ds Moms.

    Your word “brand” hit on the larger reason I don’t care for her or her story. It just seems far too glossy. And I don’t buy it. I don’t feel compelled to feel sisterhood with her. I have no desire to read her book and appreciate this review, because now I can move forward knowing that I’m not missing much.

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    • Go to a Kardashian’s blog. You will see the same words-“jealous”, “bitter”, “hater” on those comments from people who dare call them out on their uselessness as you do on Hampton’s. These moms really need to get a life and stop living through a woman who is the spitting image of the actress Shelly Duvall (not a compliment!)

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  10. My personality is close to opposite of Kelle, and yet I find her writing refreshing and sweet. I don’t see her as a role model. More as a fellow mom, navigating life in her own way. I disagree with your analysis of her, but you are entitled to your opinion. What I worry about is your bitterness and hope that you can let it go and wish her well. I have found her to be humble and honest. I find you to be critical, rude and jealous. Just my opinion from this small glimpse of you.
    Lu …. Mom to a little blessing with DS

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    • You’re going to have to come up with a better argument, luwana. “Jealous” and “bitter” are the same old, recycled adjectives that Kelle’s non-fans are labeled by her fans. So, are you saying the points I’ve made are without validity?

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      • I’m new to the arguement, so the adjectives aren’t actually recycled. This is the first I knew that people were upset with Kelle.
        I see validity in some of your points, yes. And you are great with your words.
        I read Kelle’s blog and it seems to me that her intentions are pure and she is just sharing her perspective. I guess I don’t understand why some people are so angered. I have found that the DS community is very easily offended and scrutinizes peoples words to the point that I would be afraid to say anything in a public place like a blog.
        What am I missing? Why so outraged?

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      • I, for one, am not angered or upset. Not with KH and not in general. I am simply not a fan of her writing. I think it’s silly that anyone who shares an unpopular opinion about her is angry, jealous, bitter, etc. Why can I just not care for her writing or her online persona without being labelled so unkindly?

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  11. Can we start our own little group here? I was beginning to think I was the only person on the face of this earth that felt EXACTLY LIKE YOU PUT IT. And I am so damn sick and tired of every post on my FB news feed mentioning the Today show, KH, and this book. I think the unfriend button on the KH worshipers is gonna get a work out

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  12. luwana, I think “angry” and “outraged” are overstating it. I’m bothered by what she presents for the reasons I’ve talked about. I didn’t care for her book. The ardency of her fandom disturbs me. Why does any of this matter to me? Because she’s been unofficially chosen, and has accepted and is basking in the position of, spokesperson and poster child for parenting a child with Down syndrome – or parenting any child for that matter. And I’m a mother, and a mother of a child with Down syndrome. I think she presents a very unrealistic, materialistic, vain, over-the-top approach which in some ways does more harm than good – all the while congratulating herself – and accepting everyone else’s congratulations and accolades – for handling it all so well, for overcoming such adversity. The best thing she’s done – and I don’t undervalue this – is that she’s managed to paint a prettier picture of Down syndrome than anyone else has ever managed on such a large scale.

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    • You have good points Lisa. I don’t think Kelle asked to be chosen though and her intentions in “accepting” were probably good. She wanted to help others. I think her heart is right in it all. It all just fell in her lap and she decided to go with it and try to make a positive difference. Now that she is an unofficial spokesperson, should we ask her to follow all kinds of guidelines and change who she is? She’s simply telling her story. I haven’t even read the book yet. Maybe then I’ll be “bothered” too?

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  13. In fairness we all know lots of optimists and lots of pessimists in our parenting world (i’m a working mum 3 teenagers … been there wore the t-shirt) and we all know a small number of realists.
    I believe Kelle is one of lifes optimists (and god bless us we hate them, I have a sister who hasn’t had a bad holiday … ever ) There are wonderful books on the difficulties of parenting and wonderful books on the reality of parenting, so I believe there is a space for a book which is uplifting and says despite the crap live eveyday as it comes.
    I know this book is from the perspective of a baby momma, but I imagine kelle has the ability to produce a superb insight into the coming years with her two daughter.
    If kelle book is the solitary reading of a parent I agree with your review, if it is part of a well rounded reading portfolio it has a place in any parents armamentarium.

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  14. I think it’s a memoir of her life which includes her dealing with the diagnosis. The book is not meant to be a Ds parenting guide. She was offered a book deal and she took it. Who wouldn’t? There are other mommy bloggers doing the same thing. We all could use more money and appreciation for our efforts. I agree it’s certainly not the best book I’ve ever read, then again she’s brand new to this.

    I’m thinking that maybe parents with older kids are probably more understanding. They’ve been there, done that and know that Kelle doesn’t speak for them or for Ds. One of my first thoughts post diagnosis was “oh great, I’m having a kid like Sarah Palin’s. I despised her and all that she stood for and I thought that because we both had kids with Ds we would somehow be similar people or be judged the same. Now I know that we still have nothing in common! I’m ok with that…

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  15. Lisa, you have summed it up perfectly here. This is Kelle Hampton in a nut shell. Instead of living in denial and hiding behind her blog, book and fake world I really hope she is in intense psychotherapy. I don’t think a child would every really get over what her father did to her and her family.

    “When she was in the third grade, she was called out of class to leave school early for the day because, as it turned out, her mother had packed up their belongings and left Kelle’s dad because, as she later found out, her dad was gay. She writes:

    “So, for what seemed like six hours, my mom and grandma did what you do when you love your littles and want to spare them from hurt. You pretend it’s okay. You fake smile and tell stories and overcompensate for the slightest moment of awkward silence with forced normalcy.”

    “And that, my friends, is why she has this need to make everything perfect, or at least to appear perfect. She never learned to truly cope. She learned to fake it, and she learned that if you can make it look good, then it is good. Appearances seem to play such a huge part in the whole Kelle Hampton brand, which to me, makes everything seem very shallow.”

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  16. I’m a little surprised at the comparisons being thrown around here. However, I’m not surprised that Kelle has “rejected” the support of the online DS community if this is a representative sample.
    I enjoy looking at Kelle’s pictures and reading her blog. I read every DS blog I can find. As a new DS parent (8 months) I find comfort in reading about other experiences and approaches. I make NO judgments. Every experience, just like every one of our children, is unique and beautiful. Whether you are “lucky” enough to have had a baby who fed easily or spent weeks in the NICU, we all share a common experience- the grief and overwhelming love that comes with this diagnosis.
    The simple truth is that Kelle has brought much needed attention to Down Syndrome in a positive way. Whatever you think of her and her blog, THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT DOWN SYNDROME ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA TODAY. So who cares how they got there?
    I feel like I need to include this so you will not dismiss me- four kids, unplanned pregnancy, diagnosis after birth, two weeks in the NICU, difficulty with feeding.
    Although no heart defects so I guess I’m “lucky”.

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  17. Hmmm.. Hard to know where to start. For one, I gave up reading most books about DS after my daughter was thru the milestone years. It’s not that I don’t consider her developmental tranjectory any more (she’s 12 now) but I prefer to know folks IRL or bloggers day to day experiences. Two- I try to not critique any other parents way of moving thru this path of acceptance and actually for any parent at all ( short of abuse). It can be very hard to stay in this position but since we all make mistakes it feels fairer. Three- I did not have grief about my childs birth and am notably completely non-perky. And thus, because I am way less than romantic I was very happy with her as she was. Not to say I wasn’t concerned/ fearful about what her life might be like/how others might see her. Perhaps I’m not typical but I am not kooky. Because I’m not a romantic I’m not very attracted for long to Kelles perspective, somewhat jealous of her living near the beach perhaps and love the photos, not interested in the hype or her day to day life which seems a bit bland to me.
    She’s a gal filling a need for positivity, celebrity and pretty and, while I can see the reason to pull in the other direction just for balance I think it’s important to not blame her for how other people choose to interact/ respond to
    her and to resist judging since none of knows her as a person. I do think though that when someone writes a book it’s fair to critique the quality of the writing and express ones own reaction to it. Just as people are free to respond to the reviews!
    This process of polarization can be kind of fascinating!

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  18. Who would ever write a book that anyone would care to read that was so focused on the downside of having a child with DS? For that matter, who writes a perfectly “balanced” book about any of their children. I would prefer outsiders to see the joys rather than reinforce the negative stereotypes that have led to the ethnic cleansing of our children through elective abortion.

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      • Right, and that’s a topic Kelle won’t touch with a forty-foot pole.

        Frankly, I prefer a book about Ds that I can actually relate to. I understand this was HER experience, but it’s being held up as the ideal, and it’s not realistic. And she decided before she even left the hospital that she was going to “rock it” and do it differently and better than anyone had ever done it. ???

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      • Lisa
        I also had a crazy ideal of what ds would be when I left the hospital with my newborn. I had hopes to raise the smartest child ever known with Ds. She was going to be reading at 2 years old. Walking at 1. etc. I think I even remember you mentioning that in Finn’s first year book that I put together. That is a normal response. I’ve heard from multiple moms that in the beginning they had this idea that their child would be different from other children with Ds.

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      • Oh, I totally did, I don’t deny it. I thought, well, if he has Ds, then maybe he’ll be a Ds superstar and do everything on time, and the Ds will only be a label and not really a true manifestation. I agree that that’s a pretty common response. I’m glad I eventually got past that mindset. Finn’s got obvious delays, but they just don’t matter to me like I thought they would.

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  19. I will start by saying that I am NOT a worshiper of KH and I have not read the book. I don’t read the blog (unless someone posts something about something she wrote and it sounds interesting to me.) But, I do take issue with one of the points that you made in your review. You said you wondered why her grief was so extreme when Nella didn’t have medical issues and she didn’t have to be seperated from her baby and “that she was a big, spoiled baby. Nella was fine…” I was DEVISTATED when my Ella was born and I was told that she has Down syndrome. DEVISTATED. My grief was all consuming for many weeks. I cried far more than 7 hours. In fact I kept saying that I wanted my old life back. My Ella was born 6 weeks early, by c-section and was able to stay in my room from about 2 hours old until we went home 2 days later. She did not have health issues. She ate like a champ. She didn’t even have jaundice. Does it make me spoiled because I was deathly afraid of the unknown??? I think not. I think everyone is entitled to feel the way they feel and to not be judged for it, and it has taken me a long time to start to forgive myself for feeling the way I did about my baby.

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    • No, it does not make you spoiled. You said it… that you were afraid of the unknown, and likely devasted by the sterotypes. I think one big difference between your reaction and Kelle’s is that you knew you were afraid and admit that is was fear that caused your reaction. Kelle was very specific in the book that she was not the type to do fear, “Within hours of Nella’s birth, I had a crash course in Down syndrome and all the health issues involved. I could have easily been paralyzed with fear, but I’m not the kind of person who can handle that kind of mind-set.”

      I do wonder though, in the midst of your grief were you checking out your OBGYN? I don’t know you personally but I doubt it, and I know I sure as heck wasn’t. I know everyone’s experience is different but that for me created credibility issues with her whole initial reaction. I wanted to believe her the description of her pain but that was like some sort of sick joke thrown in the middle… indicating either that the scene was embellished when it was recreated and written down for the book (and for what weird purpose?), or that Kelle is capable of noticing and remembering that a man is “hot” in the midst of experiencing the most extreme grief… a “talent” that a man would be strung up high for.

      Your blog was the first I found after I went online looking for other families. I never got the impression that you thought you were a “rockstar” mama or that you were “doing it like it has never been done before”. I just saw your beautiful daughter and how normal you seemed, and I was relieved and encouraged by that.

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      • I had to laugh a little at your response Sandra….nope, no checking out my OB she was bitch and told me “at least you will have a baby for the rest of your life” which perhaps added to my devistation. And you are right, I definitely dont consider myself a rockstar! Perhaps I should read the book before I comment on peoples reviews of it. Something about that paragraph in this review rubbed me the wrong way, but again I guess not really looking at in the context of the book. My point I guess was just that everyone does react differently and that is okay! Still not sure if I will ever read the book….but I am intrigued! Anyhow thank you Sandra for the kind words….glad I seemed normal lol…but seriously thank you!

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    • Kacey. I agree. Morgan had a complete AV canal that required OHS when she was 4 months old. After getting the Down syndrome diagnosis, nothing else mattered. They could’ve told me a plethora of things that were wrong and it wouldn’t have mattered. I was completely numb after the Ds diagnosis and wouldn’t have felt anything else no matter how devastating. I remember them telling us that she failed her hearing test in the NICU and not even thinking about how awful it would be if she wear deaf. I just couldn’t get past the Down syndrome diagnosis. The heart defect? Repairable. The Down syndrome? Permanent.

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      • Heather, your post reminded me of how different we all are, and I find that amazing.

        We received my son’s diagnosis almost immediately after birth. Although I was shocked and saddened by the diagnosis, it was the plethora of other medical problems that shook me to the core. For the first two months, it was a complete wait and see. We were told in no uncertain terms that he was fighting for his life.

        I certainly still grieved over the diagnosis of Down syndrome but at some point, I told God: I don’t care if he has a million syndromes, just let him survive. Once he was in the clear, I grieved some more of the permanent diagnosis of Ds but by that time, I’d gotten used to it more. He is three now and doing great! 🙂

        So really, each of us deal with things in different ways and I love the variety.

        Regarding Kelle, I don’t visit her blog and won’t buy the book. I’m not sure what exactly rubs me the wrong way but I suspect it is the image of perfection. It is the same feeling I get when I look at pinterest too long. Lots of lovely, fun crafts that I will probably never have the time to do. And if I try to do them, my three kids will fight over who gets the glue, scissors, or chair next to me. One will hit the other, then the screaming begins. Forget wearing makeup and cute clothes. Maybe I’m jealous. Either way, I don’t care if Lisa wrote a good or bad review. It is just that, a review…an opinion.

        Very well written Lisa! Your reviews are always fun to read.

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  20. In each review I’ve read of this book, I’ve left with something different to hang onto, and yours is no exception Lisa. I am not knew to this world of Ds as you know (my daughter is 22). Over the years many books have been written, some making it big and others not so much. For most of them, I’ve come away wondering why they think they know something that the rest of us don’t who have been down this journey for a much longer time. Then one day, I realized this is not one size fits all. We each have a very different and unique take on the entire birthing, discovery, grieving, accepting process. And it is probably good there are different viewpoints out there for each person/family to read until they find one that helps them.

    I was not planning on buying Bloom simply because I am much beyond that point in our journey, but another review did spark an interest, so I did read it and wrote about it http://sarahely8989.blogspot.com/2012/04/gay-in-bloom.html. I do think some of her need for perfection might go back to those early years. There are times in her book that I felt she described some deep pain, although I’m not sure she recognizes it as such yet.

    I originally thought the birth story was somewhat over the top, but then realized the birth story was always going to be over the top. I mean how many mothers have an entire neighborhood in the birthing room, moments after baby’s arrival. The champagne glassese, the preprinted favors with Nella’s name, the special outfit that Kelle was going to change into for perfect pics. The fact that Nella had Ds had nothing to do with all the glitz and glam. That’s just how Kelle chooses to live. And who am I to question that? I must say though, I think I would have been pitching a fit had I been trying to sleep in room 15 or 17, especially as the beer coolers were arriving.

    It seemed to me the interview she gave on tv today was appropriate, especially when she barely was given the chance to speak, as Kathi Lee kept trying to take the moment from her. I felt like she tried to portray that life with Ds today is not what it was 40 years ago. And that is a good message.

    Now that I’ve read the book, I would not hesitate to suggest it as one of several -not the only – for a new mom to read. Especially if she is blending a family. I think Kelle had some of her best paragraphs describing her stepsons coming into acceptance of Nella. I also think that was a turning point for Kelle in accepting them. I felt maturity developing at that point in the book.

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    • I read this review and all the commentary and really appreciate all the words that are compassionate towards the book’s author.

      Joyce, thank you for your wise and kind words, they speak volumes. How ironic is that some members of the online Down syndrome community (thankfully not all of you) advocate for Individuals with Ds to be accepted in our society, they advocate against stereotypes and the use of hate words and to eliminate the use of the hurtful r-word. And, when it comes to accepting the views, personal stories and life styles of others, some of the members of this online Ds community fail to accept the differences in diversity they are advocating for and attack and dehumanize others that are different from them. I find this very sad.

      What these members of the online Ds community need to understand is that if they want the world to be an accepting, kind and compassionate place for their children with Ds, these members should be more accepting of others unique journeys, as well. And, they should stop bullying the book’s author.

      Again, If we want others to be accepting, kind and compassionate towards our children with Ds we have to begin by being more accepting, kind and compassionate towards others, regardless of our differences. Joyce, thank you so much for being such an example of what true advocacy is. Compassionate and kind people are the ones that keep my faith in humanity alive.

      Good wishes to all

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      • I’m so tired of being accused of “bullying” because I don’t appreciate what someone else – someone who has a very far reach! is presenting. I read her book. I didn’t like it. I discussed why I didn’t like it. I read and review a lot of books, and yes, I try to read every memoir I can about raising a child with Ds, because I have a child with Ds and am interested in others’ experiences. Some of the books I read I really enjoy and appreciate and get something valuable from. Others, not so much. Kelle’s book is not the first memoir about having a child with Ds that I have written a less than glowing review of – but none other seems to elicit the emotional responses this one does. Why is that? What is it about Kelle Hampton that brings out such protectiveness? I’m not a fan of hers or her book – so what? There seem to be a lot of people who share my concerns and have their own added issues with her and the image she projects. That doesn’t make anyone a bully, or negative, or jealous, or bitter, or anything, really, except in disagreement. Why is it that it’s only okay for her adoring fans and her defenders to be vocal, but anyone who doesn’t like the Kelle Hampton brand should just be quiet about it?

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      • I also fail to see where anyone has BULLIED her. But, as you said, anyone who has an unpopular opinion is automatically a bully. I guess I would rather be known as a bully for SPEAKING MY OPINION than someone who keeps their mouth shut. As a parent, I encourage my children to speak their minds, share their opinions and viewpoints and disagree respectfully. Apparently, you’re not allowed to do that when it comes to KH’s brand. I accept KH as a person. I acknowledge her. I have not been “mean” to her. I’ve simply stated my opinion.

        And yet, anyone who speaks up is not only a bully, but lacks compassion. And WE’RE the ones being mean?!?!

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      • There’s this rule… “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.” Pretty good rule. THAT’S why it comes off as bullying. And before you accuse me of being a fan or anything, I’ve never read this woman’s blog until a close friend on my FB put a link to this post on her feed. From an unbiased perspective, y’all just sound bitter and jealous.

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      • Bitter and jealous, the ol’ standby.

        “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.” And yet, here you are, saying not very nice things!

        It seriously cracks me up that – what? a year? – after I wrote that post, people are STILL coming here and getting all outraged. It’s kind of sad, and boring. I’ve moved on – that ship has sailed, folks.

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  21. bully 1 |ˈboŏlē|
    noun ( pl. -lies)
    a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
    verb ( -lies, -lied) [ trans. ]
    use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants : a local man was bullied into helping them.

    I think we need to understand what bullying means before we start throwing the term around so casually.

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  22. Lisa, there were two bloggers who wrote very intelligent blog posts about Kelle Hampton about a year or so ago, Mrs Odie and Jessica from 24 Year Age Gap. These were very intelligent women with very accurate insights. They too were not fans of the glorious KH and received the same moronic comments from the same set of Hampton minions. Trust me, it’s not you, it’s the mindless women who just somehow need some sort of idol. I suspect some of them have Justin Beiber posters on their walls!

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  23. Memoirs are also one of my favorite genres. I don’t have to be able to relate or know anything at all about a subject and then an excellent writer pulls me under into their moment in time and I am forced to see what they saw, to feel what they felt, forced to go through their life-altering experience in a way that changes something about me.

    For example I have almost nothing in common with Rian Malan, the author of My Traitor’s Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience, who begins as a somewhat shallow personality and by the end is profoundly changed. The experience of reading his memoir was incredible to me… I felt guilt, horror, and hope in a world I know only through his book.

    Bloom could have been that sort of book, (especially for those who have not gone through it) but as a reader who already should have been able to relate to the story, I was left feeling like I was reading a soap opera script derived from a diary.

    In the book the author tells me a lot, proclaims a lot but she doesn’t give me the details I need to believe her scene. Without concrete descriptions… without the little details I can taste, there is no way in for me. Sometime she does give me details but they actually throw off the mood (think Dr. Hottie). Kelle has raw talent, and some good insight so it is a shame that the editor did not do a good job guiding the writing in this book to a more polished level.

    Kelle was actually in a very unique position to debunk the imagery and instant recall of stereotypes that come to mind when someone hears that their child (or someone else they care about) has Down syndrome. Nella was very fortunate to have no manifestations of her extra chromosome (aside from looks), and so the grief was based on perceptions, possibilities, and preconceived ideas rather than concrete concerns such as loss of the nursing relationship, or possible death due to heart surgery. This first year could have been portrayed as Kelle seeing Nella for what and who she is… seeing Nella as the rockstar, seeing Ds as not something to fear, as not something that “can ruin a life.” Instead of “putting a lens on” and then being able to find something beautiful in this unexpected child, she could have shown how the scales fell off her eyes and saw the beauty that was always there. It may not seem like a big distinction but really it is the difference between “Ds sucks but Kelle Hampton overcame it and rocked it” and “Ds is just another way of living the beautiful life and Kelle Hampton realized it.”

    Anyway, kudos to you Lisa for writing your honest opinions about Bloom. I think a lot of people forget that this is a product review. Bloom is not free like blog posts… and it is a disservice to your readers to sugarcoat the weaknesses of a book so as not to be attacked by an author’s fan club. I would recommend that people get this book from a library before shelling out $25 for it. Those that love it can then purchase a copy for their library, those that don’t can toss it back in the library return bin with nothing lost but their time.

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  24. it amazes me how these people never seem to comment on your blog or your book reviewing blog either, but the mere mention of kelle hampton seems to elicit such a response. how do they even find you? do people sit there and google “kelle hampton” and just end up on your book reviewing blog?? i have been following you since finnian’s journey and book lust and part of what i love about your blogs are reading the comments so i know the trend. you NEVER get this many comments when you are talking about other issues, even though you should! it just proves the whole point that kelle hampton must have some kh seeking staff on hand with a lot of spare time to troll various sites/blogs and start commenting wars. why not comment on a post where lisa talks about her incredible son kevin and all he’s done in his young age to advocate for people with down syndrome? for he is truly the one we should all be looking up to and giving the accolades to-NOT kelle hampton.

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  25. I could not agree with you more. I remember being told to visit Kelle’s blog when I was a new mommy to a little one with Ds. I was expecting encouragement. I was expecting to find connection. I was expecting to relate. Instead I was met with an “airbrushed” portrayal of Ds. I was no “rock star” – I was merely watching and relying on my faith as my son struggled through a heart condition, and as I steadily realized my new normal – of which I fell head over heels in love with. But, there was no glam, just normal reality met me where I was.

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  26. I do read Kelle’s blog from time to time (I admire her photography skills), but don’t plan on reading her book. My daughter does not have DS, but she does have another chromosomal abnormality which has affected her (and our family’s) life, though perhaps not noticeably from any outsider’s perspective. Why am I telling you this? My daughter is my third, and last, child. In the 10 years since I have given birth to her I have learned many things. First, my path is my path, hers is hers, and yours is yours. Everyone is different and valuable. Second, life is mysterious and sometimes the best prayers are the one’s not answered. I know you don’t believe in God, Lisa, but NOTHING in my life has convinced me more that God is real than the birth and life of my daughter (and no, I’m not religious and I don’t go to church). Thirdly, and most importantly, “Comparison is the thief of Joy”. I don’t compare my life to anyone’s, especially not Kelle Hampton’s. Kelle is presenting something that just IS for her. I agree that anyone can comment on her writing style and the general story (that’s why reviews are written), but I don’t understand the personal attacks by some of the people in the blog world. I’ve never gotten the impression that Kelle presumes she is speaking for the whole DS community. So she doesn’t align herself with the online DS community? Who cares? I know my own daughter’s condition has an online community as well that I’ve never cared to be a part of. Perhaps someday, but not now…because MY PATH IS MY PATH! Live and let live and throw away judgements, especially if you don’t know her as a person, because that’s what we all want from society for OUR children.

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  27. OMG – I struggle to be for or against KH…I love her optimism. The majority of Ds mom experiences are so far from hers tho – you are right – she never had her child whisked away from her, or handed over to strangers for OHS, or poor latching mechanism. Soooo….to the general public who doesn’t really understand the WHOLE Ds community she is a legend and poster mom…..but most Ds families consider her a rarity with -as you said – lucky breaks all along the road. Good review…I also thought the book was a little sugar coated based on it’s reviews. Nufff said.

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  28. I really enjoyed both “Bloom” and “The Roadmap to Holland”. I got different things from both books. My friend read the Roadmap after my review on good reads. She loves biographies and memoirs and thought she’d give it a try even without having a child with Ds. My personal opinion is Roadmap is better for the Ds community. Bloom is better for the general population and probably why it is being sold with the best sellers and not in a subcategory. Here is my friend’s review of Roadmap:

    I read this book because I saw it listed on your goodreads account. You gave it 5 stars. So in an attempt to understand some of the feelings, challenges, and uncertainities you experienced with Morgan I read the book. Though I’m sure you experienced different feelings than the author, I imagine you also identified with her in many aspects.

    I was surprised how long it took her to find joy and fulfillment in her detour to Holland? I wondered if she’d had the gospel if she would have come to this conclusion sooner, or at least been able to get over the guilt of wanting more than one child and thus the blaming of herself that she did for so many months after the twins were born.

    I appreciated the author’s honesty and willingness to lay bare her soul. I learned a lot from her but did get bogged down in all the details about her daily life. I don’t believe I would have made it past all the details and finished the book if I hadn’t been reading it with the intent to understand you and Morgan better.

    I also appreciated her comments about how a prenatal diagnosis of down syndrome should be delivered to the parents. It appears if more care and tenderness, along with the joys, were delivered with the diagnosis less parents would opt to abort the pregnancy.

    Thanks for recommending the book. I feel enriched for having read it. My favorite type of books are the ones that uplift me and leave me a changed person. This book accomplished that. Love you.

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  29. I think your review was a little harsh and I feel the book caused you some anger reading it and I’m not sure why. Maybe if I had a child with DS I would better understand your feelings about it. It’s just a mother’s story detailing the account of the first year of her daughter’s life and the struggles and pain that she faced. I appreciated her openness and honesty, but I did feel some parts were over the top and a tad bit narcissistic.

    The overuse of the word “dude” was monotonous, the constant “I’m cool” beer references, the skinny dipping story was unnecessary (her bra was found a day later in a bush, underwear found in the sink, really? Reminds me of “Swingtown”), the constant “drop everything” appearances of the Net, etc. This is great she has such a wonderful, close knit bunch of friends, but it all seems just too flowery to me. What most surprised me was the reaction of some of her friends when they heard the “news”. People crying in cars, the sudden halt of a birthday party, someone collapsing in a driveway? Wow. This would be a little more understandable if the child had died but that whole scenario really had me scratching my head.

    Aside from my dislikes of the book, it did have me shedding tears at certain points and I felt bad for her during her struggles, and I’m sure there will be more. Thanks for your review, I appreciated your honesty as well!

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  30. I predict the husband will leave this egomaniac after a while. Living in a house with Kelle Hampton and her ego will become impossible. She’s an OCD personality and she will not be able to stop. She will sell, sell, sell her children, herself and her family for as long as she can and I can’t imagine a spouse standing by and tolerating that year after year.

    Someone who knows the family claims the sister and the brother can’t stand the “Kelle and Poppa Show” and they don’t even live in the same house so it must be exhausting to live with her constant redecorating, posing the kids, making them do things to get good photos and on and on. He’s older and looks completely worn out in every photo she posts of him so I can’t believe he will last with her forever.

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  31. Also, having the father, Rik Cryderman, as a huge part of this ” staged show” (which it has become) must be so creepy. That man appears to be involved in 100% of the blog and every move she makes. He is over compensating IMO for being taken out of her life so young. She often writes in the blog, if she swears, … my father will call me immediately and tell me to take this swear word out!!
    How old is she? 14?

    It reminds me of Jessica Simpson and her creepy father who is always there and involved in every move she makes. The first husband couldn’t stand it and it seemed entirely inappropriate. He got out and Brett Hampton should take a clue from that.

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  32. I tried watching the interview on Kathie Lee and Hoda but I honestly could not watch the entire thing. There is something funky about Hampton’s eye/eyes? that just disturbs me. It is really difficult to look at her face on. She looks like Olive Oil from the Popeye show with a really wonky eye and bright red lips. I never thought anyone could ever be more annoying than Kathie Lee Gifford but then along comes Hampton! I have no doubt she will be aiming for Kathie Lee’s positon if she retires from the show.

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  33. Kelle Hampton and Jessica Simpson. Good comparison. Common denominator- both have fathers who are “Reverend’s”, both men who are trying to look like they are 25 years old and both involved in their daughters’ lives in a very strange and weird way. And the holy rollers wonder why they get a bad wrap!

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  34. I have yet to read Bloom, but have read many of KH’s posts. Both my sister and I have recently learned that each of our children has a sensory processing disorder. I was recently mentioning to my sister how I don’t think that it is at all possible that Kelle’s life is quite as easy and beautiful as she presents it. Yes, every life has beautiful things in it. But everyone also deals with tough moments, with or without a child with special needs.

    Though I am 100% in favour of seeing the glass as half full and try to do this in my own life, I have come to realize that reading her blog and other similar things have made me feel guilty for having a harder time dealing with a child with special needs. I feel that I shouldn’t be grieving the loss of a “normal” child because Kelle Hampton was able to get over it within a couple of weeks. I also feel like she is presenting a falsehood about what raising children is truly like – again, whether it is a child with special needs or not. Everything is not wonderful about raising kids and anyone who tells you that is lying to themself and others.

    I’ve recently chosen to be much more real in blog (foodforthoughtlinds.blogspot.com), as has my siser in hers (sewrite.wordpress.com). I feel that presenting both the joys and the struggles of raising a child with special needs (or even just a child) is a much more realistic and also that likely more people identify with this anyhow, since it is probably their reality as well. That being said, I do try to remember her “glass half full” vision of things in times of struggle.

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  35. It’s obvious that Hampton is terrified to see anything in life as less than perfect. She has convinced herself if she just remains in a constant state of happy then all will be well. This is how she herself says she was conditioned to deal with the shock of her childhood experience. Her original family imploded so Hampton will keep living her self created fairy tale life at a thousand miles per hour taking pictures,
    spreading glitter everywhere and creating an entire fantasy world thinking if she does this her life will be perfect. It’s sad really. She doesn’t seem to realize she can still live a normal life without going over the top as she does. She’s an extremist and that is not good for her kids either. They must have no idea how to relax and just be kids without a camera in their face and being placed in stage play situations. I don’t know how anyone can stomach reading about her faux life but there are a lot of people who like the fake reality shows and soap operas too so this is probably her mommy fan base. I am honestly surprised she didn’t ask Snookie to write the forward of her book!

    On a side note, can you imagine being her neighbor and having to live next to her circus everyday? I’d move, real fast! I am waiting for her neighbors or an ex-friend to write a book about this loon. Now that one I would buy!

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  36. I don’t know what to think.. I am so sick of what words I can use in this world and what words I can’t use. Should I start a blog about use the Word “God Damn” and “Crazy” and “Ignorant”.. I mean come on it seems everyone has a problem with using certain words because someone is offended. Constitution People. “I have a Right to Speak and say what the Hell I want to say”.. If you can speak against God then I can say what I want and I will continue to say what I want.. I don’t care who is offended that is your problem not mine. Should I use the word slow because it hurts someone’s feelings. Why don’t we just make a list of what words to use and what words not to use. Get over yourself Lisa.. Write a Book Lady so everyone else can pick your book apart.. You haven’t had the hardest life in this world so stop acting like you have. SI konw people who have had a much harder life then you and continue to do so.. Write your damn book and stop crying about it.

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  37. Why do people get so irate over some one giving their honest opinions in a book review? Lisa has the right to express what she thinks without everyone getting all bent out of shape…In the end who gives a shit what she thinks of KH, who cares what any of us think? People are expressing their opinions and the impressions they were left with after reading this book.

    I am not a fan of KH’s blog, but I read her book. I was curious to see what she would do with this fantastic opportunity to write a book and have it published. I found it interesting that she chose to write mostly about herself. It’s a memoir…So in the end you are left with an impression of who exactly KH is…And who she is, is a very immature, vain, needy, ridiculously silly woman.

    Examples…The way she talks in her book. The use of the words “Dude” and “Rock Star” made me feel like I was reading a book written by a teenage girl…I expected a bit more maturity in a memoir. The things she talked about showed how vain she is…She wrote about what she wore on almost every given occasion like we would give a shit…She needed to mention drinking beer on almost every page…I felt like she was trying to sell me on how “cool” she was or something…Her little skinny dipping escapade was ridiculous and I have no idea what made her want to even mention it! Why would some one want to share one of their wild nights of binge drinking along side of the birth story of their child…It was strange, to say the least and left me wondering what the hell the editors of this book thought their job was, cause they certainly didn’t edit a damn thing!

    KH makes herself look and sound shallow throughout the book…I mean who gives a fuck if her Doctor was hot…She does, that’s why she thought it note worthy enough to add in her book!! Again, she makes you feel you a reading a book written by a very young girl.
    And the whole “net” of friends was way to overdone and seemed almost absurd. I have never in my life seen a grown woman need so much attention…She basically needed a team of people to help her function. I was astounded at how many “sleep overs” this woman has with her friends…How she can never do anything on her own…Her husband goes away on a business trip and she needs a friend to come be with her…You almost forget she is a grown woman and a Mother. Being her friend sounds like it would be truly exhausting!

    And here is what really does her in for me. From her blog you would never have imagined she struggled or was upset in the slightest during Nella’s first year…Everything was wonderful as she “rocked” things out….Yet her book goes into some detail of her struggles and pain…So which is the real story? If her book is real, then her blog is not. And if you want to say her blog is indeed real…Well then you cannot deny that it is carefully crafted to portray a certain image making it, well, fake.

    I think it would be mentally draining to be KH. To be constantly trying to make the “perfect” moment out of every single thing you do, say, or see during the day. She is not as spontaneously optimistic as she leads you to believe on her blog.

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  38. KH’s personality reminds me of Michael Jackson. She is permanently stuck in the time period of the childhood/teenage years and she just can’t break out of it. The sleep overs are ridiculous as are all her other immature acts. Her girlfriends have to be as immature as she is and must really be desperate for a friend. I would be running from a person with such as narcissistic personality as would most other sane people.

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  39. Seriously, people? Many of you are taking this too far. Absolutely 110% WAY. TOO. FAR. It’s one thing to not “buy” her optimism and it’s another to start dissing her friends and putting the woman down.Someone very close to me in my family is severely disabled with another disorder, and I am active in that community. If there is one thing I have learned since his diagnosis, it’s that everyone handles hardship differently. So with that said, even if you believe it’s all “fake,” just let her be. If you don’t like it, don’t comment. How would you like it if someone criticized YOU as a mother? Criticized your friends? Your way of life? It’s appalling and completely disrespectful. There are women out there WHO HAVE A CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME that LOVE this book because for them, it IS relatable and gives them strength. You may think this is phoney-baloney, but for someone out there, “Bloom” is helping them pick their head up and move forward. Since many of you might know how difficult it is to raise a child with special needs, shouldn’t you just be happy that some people find comfort in this? In her? There is nothing wrong with that, just like there is nothing wrong with you NOT finding comfort in it. You are all entitled to your opinions but please, find a way to voice them with kindness.

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    • Cathy, your holier than thou preaching about how people should comment on a woman who puts her entire her life out there (see in her book skinny dipping, etc.) and is using her kids for financial gain is obnoxious. You certainly are entitled to your opinion but don’t come and scold others who have a right to express their negative opinion of Hampton. I think Hampton is so needy she likes any kind of attention, good or bad (and as long as it makes her money).

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      • Agree wholeheartedly. Don’t like how this woman is living her life? Don’t look. Don’t like how she’s raising her kids? Don’t follow her example in raising your own. But bashing her friends, family, and everything about her so hatefully is crossing so many lines and so disgustingly disrespectful.

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  40. I found the book sad at points.Maybe because I found out about my son Levi whilebI was pregnant. He had fluid on his brain. By the time he was bone it had disappeared. I know God healed him and made him perfect. So Ai felt so blessed when he was born healthy with down syndrome. He is six months now and such a joy. So I had a hard time with understanding her sadness. Yet itnwas her story and we are different people. So it is as it should be.

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  41. I guess I might be a little more optimistic if all I did was dress my girls up in designer clothes and jet set around the countryto meet ” fans” and eat at restaurants. Reality is I have five children and a husband who travels 5 days a week so we can put food on the table. My kids don’t wear matching $100 outfits, and we don’t take trips or go out that often. My daughter with DS is low-functioning and my life is very different from the fantasy that Ms. Hampton lives. But I’m happy- I have a great life and that’s real. :). P.S. I have a great DS community, but there are some really annoying moms who worship KH and that is just disturbing to me.

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  42. M.C. says:
    April 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    “I work in Public Relations. And we’ve got nicknames for people like Kelle Hampton. She’s a little hick girl who grew up wanting to be somebody others noticed. Nothing more. People talk more about Kelle’s very obvious inability to apply makeup properly and horrendous taste in clothing as they do about her writing, which tells me she’s a failure as a writer and a dresser. She’s just a little girl who grew up being the ugly duckling who dreamed about being anything but laughable. Now she just uses her disabled child to do the work for her. Truth be told though, the ugly duckling is still there. It’s just covered by a lot of cheap, heavy makeup. She’s still a nothing. Just a nothing with a disabled child.”

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  43. Here are some excerpts from your post Lisa:

    “ it is very difficult not to feel like – if this is the true account of Kelle’s experience – that she was a big, spoiled baby. Nella was fine.

    And though Kelle had a normal, uncomplicated vaginal birth, she was allowed to remain in that hospital room with her new daughter for five days – she never had to suffer through forced separation, she had full access to her daughter at all times. Nella nursed like a champ and gained weight from the get-go. Kelle’s hospital room was constantly filled with dozens of friends from her “net,” bringing her food and beer from the outside, pampering her and holding her hand while she cried for hours on end, keeping her company while she showered, and handing her her makeup so she could primp in order to face this ghastly ordeal.
    ‘You know,’ I told her, ‘I’m gonna do this differently than you’ve ever seen it done before. I’m gonna come up with my own way, and it’s gonna be amazing.’
    Thereby rejecting the entire Down syndrome parenting community who came before her (much like Rick Smith over at Noah’s Dad) without even getting to know them, many of whom would become her most ardent fans and supporters. Go figure.

    And that, my friends, is why she has this need to make everything perfect, or at least to appear perfect. She never learned to truly cope. She learned to fake it, and she learned that if you can make it look good, then it is good.

    This is not the writing of a mature woman, but rather, of a girl who sees herself as a ‘rockstar’ and a ‘badass,’ and enjoys her position up on a high pedestal.
    ‘I walked through the parking lot, breathing heavy and chanting to the rhythm of my jeweled sandals hitting the pavement, ‘I’m a rockstar. I’m a rockstar. I’m a rockstar.’
    I think the thing that bothers me the most is this whole facade of Kelle having overcome so much adversity and triumphing in spite of it.”

    You’re likely receiving the reaction you are because it is obvious that you have a problem with how Kelle handles/handled things because it is your perception that you have it “rougher” than Kelle does or did. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. Kelle has potentially only mentioned SOME of the things that have impacted her life. In the end-who cares? Aren’t we all entitled to express how we feel about our current circumstances?

    Further, to state factually that Nella was “fine” is somewhat disrespectful. She had DS, just like Finn. Clearly, this is not the expectation of an expectant mother. They (along with the father) expect a healthy baby. I understand Finn had many other complications, and that you went through alot at the hospital as a result. But to fault or criticize the way that Kelle felt about her own unique situation and the birth of Nella is a bit presumptive, don’t you think? In the moment, we don’t compare our situations to others, we compare them TO OUR OWN.

    I’m honestly trying to shed some light on why all the backlash may be coming. Maybe you don’t care, but I’m trying to do so in a way that you might be a bit more receptive to understanding and digesting.

    It’s one thing to critique a book and the way it’s written. It’s another to judge someone’s emotional reactions to their own unique set of circumstances, which you aren’t fully experiencing.

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    • No, actually, I think the backlash comes from the unique quality of fanatic fandom KH has somehow generated. I’ve written negative reviews before – and when you’re reviewing a memoir, keep in mind that the main character IS the author, so any opinions or observations made about said author/main character ARE going to be personal – and have never received this kind of passionate response – from both sides. There is something about her that elicits extremely strong emotions and opinions from both the people who support her and the people who are turned off by her. It’s actually been a fascinating experience to see how this has unfolded.

      Thanks for the feedback!

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      • I assume when all you mommie bloggers become grown ups the nasty spiteful comments will cease and your ability to coexist as differing parents in the world will start. You are the first generation of mothers on the blogging sphere and you have the opportunity to support differing parenting view points instead of being nasty and spiteful as generations of mothers at the the school gate have been. Lisa you are no youngster and I am surprised you are so judgemental at your age, your behaviour is that of a nervous 25 year old mother not that of a mother in her fourth decade with a plethora of kids. (I am in my late 40’s with lots of kids and I find kelle sweet and interesting I find your blog insiteful and inspiring and I need both in my life I imagine most regular folk need both too)

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  44. […] When I first read the story of Nella Cordelia’s birth a little over two years ago, I found it all to be unreal.  So much of it seemed staged, and there was very little I could relate to – from the Martha Stewart-esque party favors, to the full makeup while giving birth, to the photos that seemed absolutely intended for a vast audience.  Most of all, I just couldn’t swallow the notion that this woman “got over it” – her baby’s surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome – so quickly and virtually effortlessly.  It seemed that within 24 hours, she was fine with the whole thing, and I called bullshit. Turn the Page […]

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    • Adult response …. See you in the school yard … You are a forty something please behave like one and use reasoning and appropriate language.

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      • Just reread my last comment and wish to add that adult conversation doesn’t include nasty name calling and I suggest despite your difficult childhood you doesn’t give you carte blanche to be nasty to those who disagree with your perspective. I live a continent away from you and your neninsis, and read both your blogs as entertainment neither given me a eureka moment but neither have irritated me to the degree Ms Hampton appears to have irritated you. I assume you have never met her and for some odd stalker way you just dislike her, I can only say way to go with the parenting … Great message dislike people who are different to you .., your difficult background is now irreverent you are a middle aged woman please behalve as one ….

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  45. Margaret, not even sure who your comments are directed at at this point. This entire comment thread has become pretty diluted, and I’m actually really surprised that people are still hung up on it.

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  46. This review sounds so hostil and bitter. And from what I can see you aren’t try open minded.
    You say “what trials has she had to overcome” trials that we all overcome don’t have to be on some huge grand scale. Everyone’s suffering is different and whether it’s happened to millions of people like divorce or thousands like a parent getting the news of a child with DS it is still a trial. A trial isn’t measured by the amount of people that have gone through it. So you discrediting her for going through things so many others have experienced is immature and naive. Kelle is just telling her story. She uses extreams because she is a writer. She is descriptive with her writing and that’s why extreams are used.
    She tells of the many good things in her life yes, and maybe seems to have it all, but she decides to write about the aspects of her life that she wants. If she doesn’t want to share her bad days as a mother or fights with her husband and so on that is her choice.
    I think there need to be more people like kelle in this world. Think of all the good and awareness she has done for DS. I think it has opened the eyes of many people and her story touches many. My sister who also has a child with DS can relate to so many things kelle went through and for that I find her genuine.

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  47. Kelle Hampton comes across as a self absorbed teen. I think these mommies who are inspired by her better seek help and quick! I imagine they are equally as mindless as Hampton.

    I find it unfortunate that she writes that her oldest has never attended a preschool and she may not even put her in kindergarten. She’ll be six years old. Hopefully the state of Florida will intervene at some point because the fact that she is so insecure about allowing her child to be around, I am sure in Hampton’s mind, less than perfect kids is horrible parenting. And she talks about homeschooling. What a joke. The woman spends the majority of her day taking pictures, editing pictures, doing interviews, spending time looking at herself in the mirror, shopping and doing anything she can to gain attention for herself in order to make more and more money off her kids. When would SHE have time to homeschool? That’s as funny as Mrs. Duggar claiming she homeschools her kids. Yeah, when? Their main goal is to make money off the backs of their kids too and between the filming and numerous trips to make it “look good for the camera” these kids are simply a comodity to their parents. Hampton is no different.

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  48. I thought this was a book review??? Rather, it’s a review of a person, her lifestyle and her blog.

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  49. Sounds to me that you are an extremely jealous person. Jealous of Kelle and her life filled with great friends and family. It’s her story. Who are you to judge that. Horrible of you. Shame.

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  50. I wish KH herself would comment on this post and ridiculously long thread of negative comments. Damn, it’s a sad world when someone can’t write their own personal account of their life without being ripped a part and labeled as fake. KH needs to visit this site and sprinkle some of her fairy dust on all of you bitter Betty’s!
    She’s positive. She’s someone to admire. She’s loving. Love wins. Always.
    I challenge and strongly suggest you read “the only mommy war worth waging”….and give that a review.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/mommy-wars_b_1510807.html

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    • Yes, Kelle’s fairy dust is what this world needs. lol. OMgosh, that was the funniest thing ever….and totally depicts a typical KH fanatic.

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    • Yes, all that is wrong with the world it that it is lacking some of Kelle’s fairy dust. LOL. OMgosh, that was the funniest things I have ever heard. Clear example of a KH fanatic.

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  51. Well, first and foremost, I will say I have not and probably won’t read the book that is being discussed so my comment may be irrevalent…. But I will say that I worked with children with Down’s Syndrome for 6 years and those were some of the best years of my life. The love, affection and pure joy that I was so fortunately blessed to have experienced brought so much light to my life. To be encapsulated by love and forgo all of the negatives in the world is such an amazing thing.
    Whatever hidden lining may be thought of Kelle and her outlook and experience on what life has given her, I love seeing her photos of Nella. I have nothing but utmost respect for all the mothers raising kindred and beautiful spirits. They are the light in this sometimes extremely dark world.

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  52. I just read the book and enjoyed it very much. I thought it was entertaining as well as uplifting. I read the birth story and was very moved but did not follow the blog. I thought it was too sad and had too much sadness in my own life at the time. I do not have a child with DS but I have worked with adults with DS during my nursing career as well as worked with high risk obstetrical patients and have seen my share of perinatal sadness, loss and pain. As a mother I understood the grief and guilt she expressed. As a two-time Cancer survivor it took this book about a family coping with DS to show me that by changing one’s attitude from victim to victor changes all. How would Kelle’s story benefit anybody anywhere under any circumstances if she would have whined and cried and stayed the victim since the birth of the baby Nella? Sharing her optimism and her life, exposing herself and her family to all of this negative energy amazes me. I will try to take with me from the book, what I believe the author intended: how you can recover from some of the huge blows life throws by truth, courage, hard work, love, kindness, family, friends, optimism, humor. I did not expect Virginia Woolf, Jane Austin, Edith Wharton or Louisa May Alcott, but then again they wrote fiction awhile ago. This is a memoir about a young mother living in the USA in 2012. Love it for what it is! I do! We should thank her for inviting us into her life. If you don’t want to know her don’t read her. Please don’t reduce yourselves to haters and name callers. It’s unbecoming in human beings.

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    • Audrey, if you want to read a truly uplifting memoir about someone who actually did overcome something horrific and came away with a positive, inspiring outlook, read Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson. Now, there’s a person who has actually earned the title “hero.”

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    • Not that I expect any of you jackasses to read my follow-up comments here, but I am so, so sick of the “jealousy” comments. Is that really the best you can do? Can you not look a little deeper and imagine that there are actually people out here who think she wrote a crappy book, and because it’s a MEMOIR, she is the star of the story and therefore has opened herself up to judgment? I’m not jealous of her. If I were jealous of her, wouldn’t I be jealous of anyone and everyone who has what she has?

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      • Why would you even care enough to blog about another person in the way that you have? How would it make you feel to have someone say things about you like you have said about her? Who cares if you agree or disagree with her? She is another human and to publicly write about her specifically certainly tells something of your character. I sure hope you feel better now that all this “Kelle Hampton ” hatred is off your chest.

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      • . . . and yet, here you are, doing pretty much what you’ve accused me of doing. Why do you care what I think about her? Are you aware that I write LOTS of book reviews, and certainly not all of them are glowing? Why do you feel so compelled to scold me specifically about Kelle Hampton, but not any of the other memoirs I’ve written negatively about? Have you looked at the Amazon reviews of her book? There are lots of people there who rake her over the coals much more harshly than I have here – are you going to read all of them the riot act as well?

        It’s a book review. It’s ridiculous that you don’t seem to get that. It’s ridiculous that you don’t seem to understand that when someone writes a memoir, they are giving themselves the starring role in the story, and whoever reads it is going to make judgments about that story and its star.

        Please get over it and move on. It’s actually tiresome that after all these months, people are still stumbling on this post and getting all outraged about it.

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      • For some reason, the link to reply directly to Jane’s comment below does not show up so I’m replying to one above.

        This is a book review. Lisa reviewed a book.

        If and when Lisa writes and publishes a memoir for PUBLIC consumption, she will be opening herself up to many, many book reviews in which people can say whatever the hell they like or dislike about her book.

        I guess all book reviews should be positive.

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  53. Hi Lisa, I enjoyed reading your book review. I recently found your blog and like learning about you and your family very much. i have no children with DS , just twins who are in 1st grade but I am drawn to reading about others experiences with children with DS. i had read Kelle’s blog for a while, but I mostly look at the pictures, her writing usually doesn’t interest me. Sometimes I can almost see that right outside of the lens in her house things are a disaster. I am curious how the 3rd addition will be to the house, i almost see her more traumatized with a boy, or maybe a ‘spirited’ child than with Nella.. we will see, and she will get more real i think as the months/years go on.

    the only part of your review that kind of i didn’t get was that part about how kelle should have gotten over it because nella was fine (meaning no acute health problems besides jaundice).. why? when you are hit with an unexpected situation you don’t only think about how it could have been worse so you shouldn’t be upset, right? i have no idea how I would react but her reaction seems reasonable to me. unless the book goes for $3 or less on amazon kindle i am not buying though, your review gave me more than enough 🙂

    thanks for keeping it real and being verbal about your love of your family and life without needing a god to make it more meaningful(i am an atheist as well); i am with you on that.

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  54. What Sophie mmmm said. Bitter much? I thought the book was open and honest. Why don’t you write a book about your experiences?

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  55. I’m not a mother to a child with DS but I am raising two kids with lifelong issues and I was born with a chromosomal issue that will cause lifelong issues. What I find worst about Kelle is her claim that she is going to “do” DS “mama-ing” better and different than anyone else. The world is full of parents who are positive and find joy in parenting their children with SNs – I would say that is actually pretty common and usual not a rock star display of heroism in the face of tragedy.

    Second, all babies and 3 year olds are cute. Bigger kids, teens and adults with DS tend to get less of the “awwww how cute” reaction, especially if they want to express their sexuality or get p’d off with people. I think Kelle has a pretty, currently high functioning child, and I wonder how she would cope with a less simple and photogenic presentation.

    Which brings me to my third point. Kelle is an apparently rich SAHM to two kids with a third on the way, all of whom were wanted and can be provided for, who “struggled” with four months of infertility and came from a broken home, but is surrounded by incredibly supportive family and friends, living in a lovely home in a nice area, generating an income with a creative activity she loves, is a published author, has plenty of me time and freedom, and wants for nothing materially, and receives constant affirmation for how awesome she is. Most of the world would give their right arm for her life, even if they had to work hard for a few hours/days to overcome the “tragedy” of having a child with ongoing issues.

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  56. […] Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected by Kelle Hampton.  Despite the hardcore fandom, I still don’t get the hype.  A self-indulgent, self-congratulatory memoir, this book is more about how the author overcame the apparent tragedy of her daughter’s Down syndrome than it is about anything as deep or meaningful as “finding beauty in the unexpected.”  Hampton seems more able to find beauty in herself than anyone else, and her memoir reads more like a high school Popular Girl than a woman who has gained wisdom and maturity from life experiences.  My review of her book garnered more comments than any other post I’ve written, and the comments still trickle in from time to time, most of them admonishing me. I’ll say this for her: she’s accumulated quite a loyal following. […]

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  57. Sounds like you are jealous of Kelle’s life. Instead of being so bitter why don’t you write a book since you think you know everything. No one knows anyones elses struggles firsthand.

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    • Blah blah blah. You Hamptonites sound like a broken record. It’s always “jealous” and “bitter.” Whatever. If it makes you feel better.

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  58. I am saddened and disappointed in the negativity and hatred I have read in the above posts. Why can we not just value humanity in all of its expressions and forms and be a united front? Why can’t we see the positives? Why do we even have to criticize and review/judge others? There is enough negativity and hatred in this world that is advertised and marketed to the masses through the media and it sells even more so than a woman who wrote a memoir about her own personal experiences. We should do better by our children and set a better example of ourselves. I have faith in goodness over powering the evil in the above posts. Life and time are precious and we should spend more time living than writing hateful comments online.

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  59. Found her blog through pinterest… Never paid much attention to it.. Found the blog again… Googled her name. Found lots of weird stuff about her. A little too much wine on Friday night. I do however wonder why there was such a big deal over the older siblings bday, and Nella gets simply a… Store bought Publix cake and 2.99$ banner. Idk

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  60. Holy glitter in a tornado… I should have just stuck with reading the book review. I think it’s really hard to separate the book from the blog, because they are sort of one in the same, most of the pics came from the blog didn’t they? I have read a few memoirs and this one just didn’t connect with me. I was expecting insight into living with a new baby that had ds, instead I felt like I got a bunch of unrelated stories. Obviously the reviewer didn’t connect with the book. No one deserved to be roasted over the coals for having an opinion. It’s the rabid “fangirls” and hostility they give off that turns me off from the book even more. When you are a blogger that writes a book about what you blog about, it’s realistic to expect a review of both products, you can’t really talk about one without the other. And I know I’m over a year late to this comment party, but I find it interesting that the story of a beautiful baby being born (every baby’s story is amazing to me) has evolved into a product, with sponsored posts, and I don’t trust the sincerity of it. I don’t trust the sincerity in her book, I don’t actually feel sincerity in her book, which is pretty much the point lisas trying to make, imo. Anyways, long comments happen when it’s late.saying a Book=bad , does not equal a public shaming for feeling that.

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  61. Anything positive that is written about down syndrome is a plus in my book considering that so many of these precious babies are aborted. I love that Kelle is finding beauty in the unexpected. She is showing that a child born with down syndrome is a blessing not a burden. For that reason alone, I applaud her.

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  62. I know this is a year after this whole thing, but I need to thank you for this review. I started reading Kelle’s blog because someone had shared Nella’s birth story on Facebok and wrote “such a tragic story for this poor mom” what is tragic about it? NOTHING. The fact that she openly wished Nella was a different baby made me so angry and uncomfortable. If you look back to her pre-Nella blog posts, all of them were about how perfect her first daughter Lainey is. This disgusts me, poor Nella doesn’t get any posts like that and if she does, they are shared with her sister. Nella’s 1st birthday party was centred around Kelle’s book and I feel that it is wrong. Kelle needs to stop pretending that her life is picture perfect and beautiful, and focus on devoting 10000% of herself to her kids, rather than just their fancy clothes she puts them in or the cookie-cutter perfect crafts she always has them do for perfect photo-ops. THANK YOU for this review!!

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  63. Bravo!! I too have a daughter with Down syndrome and I totally agree with your review of kelle and her book. Siennas diagnosis was a surprise to me too, maybe I should write a book. Not the happy, I am so blessed by all my great friends, I am a rock star book, but a real life, oh what the fuck am I gonna do now book!!
    I am definitely following you as you seem my type of person

    Louise

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  64. I have received this book and have yet to write my book-Thankfully I do not have a DS child and cannot imagine the challenges raising a child with any disability-I was rather disgusted by the author. It seems that Hampton is a self-centered individual who needs her children for her own self-esteem-no one is truly perfect and too be crushed that the sisters cannot have bonding or the perfect outfit-grow up lady.

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  65. Lisa, You hit the nail on the head. I’m not down on Kelle because she’s trying to be happy, but how oblivious she is, what she doesn’t realize is how inferior she makes “normal” people feel. She seems to think that she has to make her life perfect in spite of having a child with DS. Her book is like a long bragfest about how deeply she feels, how wonderful everyone in her life is, how great her kids are, how she overcomes obstacles, blah, blah, blah, barf. I’m glad she’s glad….about everything. It is just annoying and not really believable. I wonder what kind of person she would be if she had less. Of everything. She probably would be too busy trying to “live” rather than document and discuss. I think the fundamental problem with this book is; most people can’t relate to her. You know those annoying dogs that yip all day long. I kind of felt like that, except she was saying, “I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy….etc.” over and over and over and over again. Like I said, she is allowed to be (act) happy all the time, but to write a book about how life is so perfect, everything is a learning experience (no matter what it is), and that good comes out of everything is just a song of a dreamer. Not my style or interest, I want to read about how people overcome really tough situations and tell their story in the raw with ups and downs and real heartfelt sorrow and happiness. Kelle is more worried about how she looks physically and emotionally to the world, I couldn’t finish it. The photos are lovely, but I kept wondering what kind of money this girl must have to be able to publish a book with that many full color photos? Wow, I have never seen that except in textbooks.

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