Skip to main content

Our Stories

Our Stories: Reflections of the 2018 DSDN Rockin' Mom Retreat

After last year’s DSDN Rockin’ Mom retreat I wrote about the power of our hands. (Linked here). This year I leave with the importance of stories. Our stories. Everyone who has heard Bethany Van Delft's story was very excited to hear from her. Even though I was two years removed from our diagnosis and therefore past the initial processing of our diagnosis and the accompanying emotions, it brought me to tears when I listened to her story.

Every time I share our story or hear a story that I connect with at such an intense level it brings a sense of release. Sometimes it's those stories of our tough times, times when we feel so alone, that people relate to the most. That when we bring ourselves to share, we realize how truly similar we are to what others have felt and we connect to those stories. Those stories can bond us. They can change us. They can empower us.

At the retreat Bethany spoke about the events surrounding the sharing of “the story.” It added more of her chapters for us to understand about her own story. She served as evidence that it isn’t easy to share your story. Ask anyone who speaks or writes about their journey, they will tell you the emotions that goes with it. It requires you to be vulnerable and opens yourself up for people to witness your heart and eyes. This can be uncomfortable. It can leave you worried about criticism or if people will get it.

I had the opportunity to be an exhibitor for the retreat and have a table for Mighty Miracles Foundation. I didn’t know what I would think about doing it. I didn’t want to miss out on time to connect with moms. However, I thought I'd give it a go and I’d try to have fun with it. So I made stickers for moms to place on their name tags to help identify other moms with similar experiences. They were stickers that helped share a part of their own stories. I LOVED it. Yes, I shared with many about our story with Kaleb, but more than that I got to hear THEIR stories. I got to hear so many stories as they got their stickers. Stories that often came with hard memories, tough times, uncertainty, and sometimes tears. However, what I heard and took from each one I was privileged to hear, were stories of strength and love. I was left humbled and inspired.

Occasionally with the stickers I would hear a mom some they weren’t sure they should get one, that their heart issues aren’t weren’t as bad or their NICU stay was not as long and only a couple of weeks. It wasn’t a measuring contest. Each story matters and each belongs. Each story is important. Because it is your story. There’s is no one else with a story quite like it or with your perspective.

In the medical outreach training they spoke how now with our bigger numbers we have the ability to go to these conferences. It’s not only the numbers and money that are important. The numbers also give us a louder voice. A chorus of voices in harmony as they share and advocate for their children.

Saturday Brian spoke to all of our hearts. We heard from a unique perspective of a sibling. His talk was filled with reminders that we are so busy loving our children that we need to be sure to take care of ourselves. Along with the important reminder to help our children dream. Two quotes in particular, I have heard moms repeating and I, myself wrote down to remember. “Please, don’t compare your child to others. Trust in their destiny.” Along with, “This is me. This is my child. This is us.” -Brian Donovan. I love getting to watch Kaleb live out his story. This is his story. This is our story. A story that has power.

DSDN could not be more accurate with their retreat description; connect, inspire, recharge. There is something so incredibly powerful about a big group of mamas coming together. It was also a chance for us to take time to not only connect but recharge ourselves. Yes, there were quite a few memories and stories from all of the fun and shenanigans. Then finally it leaves us inspired and ready to take on the next phase of our stories.

On to the chapter...

"If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn't let go. And if I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up."
-My Story, Big Daddy Weave



Popular posts from this blog

Preemie Mom: Grief from pregnancy and delivery

I don’t have baby fever. Nope, not at all. Instead I’m the person tagging my husband on the story of the vasectomy celebration thrown by a wife for her husband. Complete with the snip snip hooray cake.

However, when I see a big pregnant belly or hear of a mom talking about packing her hospital bag, the twinges come. This is when the twinges of grief and dare I say envy come in every now and then.

I’m a preemie mom. As preemie mom I lost out on the last three months of pregnancy. I just got to the third trimester in time to have my pregnancy unexpectedly come to an end. Suddenly, gone was my time to spend with my oldest as I savored the last little bit of him as my only little boy, my baby. Gone was the time of planning and prepping the nursery. And yes, gone was the time of sleepless nights, crazy feeling hiccups, heart burn, and aches and pains. Basically the unpleasant but proud markers of pregnancy.

I lost out on so much. I didn’t get to post to social media asking for everyone’s h…

SPANX and Parenting

I will never forget when I went to an interview almost eight years ago. I felt uncomfortable in the dress I was wearing so I got some shapewear. (The 33 year old me who has since housed and birthed two tiny humans, now rolls my eyes at the 25 year old me. Shapewear. 🙄 Oh hun, just wait a few years...). I digress... So 25 year old me goes to this interview attempting to put my best face, or waist, forward.

However, while sitting in the chair they had led me to I waited for the interviewer to arrive. I looked down and to my horror my shapewear had slid down and was now showing underneath my dress. I discreetly attempted to push it back up while appearing to be a professional lady simply waiting for the interview. At this point in time I was listing to myself all the reasons why I should have been comfortable to go as me. That I didn’t need shapewear. Needless to say there wasn’t a way to pull it up to stay. And of course they wanted to give a tour and I spent the whole dang time wonderi…