Julie Keon is the author of What I Would Tell You, an essay she wrote for parents new to the world of special needs. The essay went viral, so Julie created a blog, www.whatiwouldtellyou.com, to reach out those touched by her story. Today, she shares about her and her husband’s experience as parents of Meredith, age eight and a half. Tomorrow, she’ll be back with the story of how What I Would Tell You went viral.
Julie is one busy woman as she’s a doula (birth and postpartum), prenatal educator, breastfeeding counselor, artist, Newspaper columnist, blogger and writer. She also creates and facilitates workshops and private sessions for women who have experienced a traumatic or difficult birth. Her husband Tim is a network specialist and works at an atomic energy plant.
Julie, would you share your special needs journey with DifferentDream.com readers?
Meredith was born on December 5th 2003 after a full term pregnancy and a normal labor. Sadly, she aspirated at the time of birth resulting in an abrupt lack of oxygen and consequently a profound brain injury. We unexpectedly and suddenly became parents of a child with special needs and medical fragility. She is and will always be our only child.
How has parenting Meredith changed you and your husband?
Becoming parents of Meredith has enriched our lives and expanded our minds and spirits in ways that I am not sure we could have experienced otherwise. It has not been an easy journey and dealing with the grief and joy and all of the trials and tribulations that make up the last eight years has been the greatest experience of our lives. I have taken this as an opportunity to grow as a person as opposed to becoming bitter and burdened/ crushed by life not going in the direction I had anticipated or planned.
How has your family been most encouraged and supported since Meredith’s birth?
We moved back to the small town where I was born and raised when Meredith was just nine months old. Being in this environment surrounded by people who know my extended family has been a blessing. Community support and of course, the support we receive from local agencies and government funding has made it possible to continue to care for Meredith at home. We also learned (eventually!) how to ask for help and accept support from others.
What Would You Like to Tell Julie?
Well, that’s Julie’s story so far. As was mentioned before, she’ll be back tomorrow to tell about her original essay going viral and how that changed life for their family. Until then, you can read What I Would Tell You and leave a comment about how her advice resonates with you.