When did you start blogging?
I started way back in 2008 before the Pinterest and Instagram era, if you can believe it! My first blog was called “Olive Weddings” about my garden-inspired wedding plans! That morphed into Sincerely-Sara for awhile before I launched Fit for a Bride. My intent was to create a space for brides to prepare for their big day beyond just the aesthetics that were abundant on the web at that time, but ultimately, Fit for a Bride became a space of celebrating couples with a shared love for fitness! It was really fun to feature those stories and certainly paved the way for the podcast I’d launch with Aaron in 2019 called Stronger Together.
What does Be Strong Mom mean?
My blog peaked at the same time my fitness did, back in 2015 when I was doing CrossFit regularly. Being strong meant being physically capable of lifting a heavy barbell, but after the birth of my first son, I viewed strength in a new way — it meant being physically present amidst the unimaginable fear of losing your child and being strong enough to sit with him; to hold him; and to love him no matter the outcome.
What is JR’s diagnosis?
JR has hypertonic cerebral palsy with low tone in his trunk and some signs of dystonia—this causes muscle stiffness and a combination of involuntary postures and movements. JR also has moderate-to-severe bilateral hearing loss and a diagnosis of auditory neuropathy, as well as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (also known as BPD), which is the equivalent of chronic lung disease. I share about these things to add to the dialogue about treatment options, since cerebral palsy is considered incurable. We’ve been delighted by the places and people we’ve met through seeking help to understand and manage JR’s diagnoses and we’d be honored to facilitate others access these kinds of positive experiences and breakthroughs through sharing openly about our journey.
What resources do you recommend for special needs parents?
I think it depends on what stage you’re in on your journey. Google can be misleading and scary to new moms and if you have a premie you’ve just brought home from the NICU, I don’t necessarily suggest joining a dozen Facebook groups on the subject. But I can’t deny that social media has played a huge role in our journey and lit a dim and dark path on days we just didn’t know what to do or where to turn next. However, the biggest turning point for us was joining a group of local moms who all have medically complex kids. Being local and familiar with the area’s doctors, the state’s policies, and local businesses has been a game-changer and I honestly don’t know where we’d be without the support of this local group of supermoms!