Discovering stories – Bethany Van Delft

I get so excited about discovering new things these days.

New friends to meet. New TV shows to binge watch. New comedians to make me laugh. New stories to inspire me. New music to smile to or cry to. New authors to read.

It’s a big part of why I’m so excited about the podcast. This blog has already introduced me to so many amazing new people with inspiring stories. I am inspired on a daily basis by people I have never met and their everyday challenges and successes. So to be able to not just read their stories but share them through the podcast in a personal, intimate and honest way, feels very special. I feel privileged to hear these stories, and I can’t wait to share them. It makes me feel connected and part of something. I hope it has that affect on people who listen too.

Sometimes I hear a story that feels particularly important or striking. One of my facebook mama friends recommended I listen to an episode of The Moth featuring Bethany Van Delft. I made the mistake of listening while I ran on the treadmill. Bethany is a Boston based comedian who tells the story of the birth of her daughter who has Downs Syndrome. About halfway through my run I had to stop and put my feet on the edge of the treadmill while the belt wheeled underneath me. I couldn’t run with a sob rising in my throat. So much of what she said resonated with me.

She talked about her feelings when her daughter was born. Her grief. Her coping mechanisms. Her challenges with her own expectations and her ideas about other people’s expectations. And the part that really got me, her realisation that while initially she had wished she could have gone back and had an amnio so she had known her daughter’s diagnosis, she came to wish that instead she could go back and give herself the ability to enjoy the experience of new motherhood.

Bethany Van Delft - picture credited to The Moth - True Stories Told Live.

Bethany Van Delft – picture credited to The Moth – True Stories Told Live.

Bethany is so honest and clear. She is unapologetic about her experience, and that’s powerful. She lets her voice catch when she gets upset. She explains her feelings and while you can tell it must be difficult to admit some of the thoughts she had when her daughter was first born but no longer has anymore, she keeps telling her story.

So much of what she said I had thought or felt. I felt like if I could meet Bethany we would understand each other instantly. That feeling, that connection to someone else, that understanding and compassion and sense of community, that’s what I want to create with the podcast. I know it’s a lofty goal, and I may fail miserably, but if I can make one person stop in their tracks because they feel like someone just spoke directly to them about their experience, then I will feel like I have succeeded.

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7 thoughts on “Discovering stories – Bethany Van Delft

  1. Susannah.

    In every post you write I am struck by your intelligence, your empathy and incredible ability to describe how you feel.
    To create a connection for just one person what a beautiful goal to have. I can’t imagine you will fail.

  2. Jodie

    Yes, you have already succeeded. Aside from being a mum and having a special needs child born around the same time, you and I appear very different in probably every other aspect of our lives. However, more times than I can count, I have read your blog and had tears, recognising some of the many fears, joys and feelings you write about, and felt immensely sad (but fortunate) that I still have my wee dolly here but you don’t. It seems that for the practicalities of every day life we seek those parents with a child with the same special needs/disability/syndrome, but for the emotional side of the journey, the name of the syndrome matters not one bit. The thoughts, fears, joys are common to all of us. When people like you lay it out, others – like me – get the chance to go Bingo! someone else knows too. Pure gold.

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