Brooke is another amazing mom we were so happy to interview for our Down Syndrome Awareness month! She found out that her son, Ashton, was “rocking an extra chromosome” while she was pregnant and hasn’t stopped advocating for him since! She talks about how important it is to put your marriage first, what it was like having a baby who needed open heart surgery, and how her son gave her a strong voice. Please help us welcome Brooke into our Mom of Fame, she’s another mama who definitely deserves it!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
My name is Brooke and I married my high school sweetheart, Jesse, 6 years ago on October 12th, 2013. We grew up in Wisconsin and went to college there. We now live in Littleton, CO and we love to hike and snowboard and spend time outside with our dog and son. We expanded our family on February 8th, 2019 with our son, Ashton Thomas, who rocks an extra chromosome.
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?
I think the best advice I was given from a friend and from our church was to put our marriage first and to show each other love so that our son has a good example. Another piece of advice was to not lose ourselves in our child. We still spend time with friends and do our hobbies with and without him. Getting in date nights is so important!
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
I think motherhood is more difficult but more rewarding than I expected. Ashton has a ton of appointments and went through open heart surgery. Having a special needs child can be exhausting in that aspect. But, his one smile will turn around your entire day. I never want to stop snuggling him.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
I believe my three strengths are advocating for him, juggling working full time and being a mom, and finally showing him love. I know he can feel how much we love him already.
Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
There have been a million moments already of feeling overwhelmed, and he is only 8 months old! I think the most stress was the week of his open heart surgery. It was so difficult watching him wean off pain meds and not being able to hold him for days. He developed chylothorax, so I was unable to breastfeed him for weeks and I felt like we kept getting kicked while we were down. Now, he is an excellent nurser and he is so strong and recovered much faster and better than I ever would.
Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
I have really tried hard to maintain my work, my relationships with my friends and family and my husband, along with my hobbies. We have had difficult moments juggling time together as a family and time alone as husband and wife. Luckily, our parents have been very helpful in watching Ashton so we can have time alone. I think I have gained a strong voice that I didn’t know I had with advocating for him and shouting his worth.
What do you want your child to learn from you?
I want Ashton to learn to love and accept all people, no matter what they look like or believe in. I want him to be kind to everyone and to grow up knowing Jesus and to have a strong faith. I hope he finds a passion later in life and will find a career that he loves.
Since it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, what is the most important thing you want people to know about Down syndrome or about being a mom to a child with Down syndrome?
I want people to know how awesome Ashton is and that my life is not any worse than a mom of a “typical” child. Yes, we have more appointments and stress about his health, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. He is so perfectly him and his extra chromosome makes him so happy, sweet and loving.