As you can imagine, today’s guest is a very special one. For anyone who has been following the podcast, the truth is I haven’t had many guys on the show. But that doesn’t mean it’s because the male perspective is any less important.
That’s why I’m so happy to finally introduce you to my husband, Gary Freedlund. We’ve talked about doing an episode on the podcast together many times, but he wasn’t quite ready to share his side of the story… until now.
For those that don’t know, Gary has worked as a Child Life Specialist in a pediatric oncology outpatient clinic here in Illinois. And as such, he has a bit of a different perspective working with families that are going through a medical journey since he’s been on both sides of those life-changing events.
So today, Gary shares the Freedlund family journey with Mattea Joy from a Dad’s perspective. You’ll hear what it was like to deal with our new normal when she was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome and what those 9+ months were like for him.
He also talks about how important it was to make sure our oldest daughter Reese had as much of a normal life as possible. From making sure she ate supper at home and slept in her own bed every night to also being strong and trying to keep things together for the family.
You’ll also hear how his perspective changed once he understood that families with other kiddos can’t always be together at the hospital because, as we all know, there are bills that still need to be paid. I hope you’ll enjoy this conversation with the man I’ve shared so much with on this incredible journey and that you’ll share it with the man in your life.
Key Takeaways with Gary Freedlund
- How difficult it was to just trust the advice from doctors in his role as the parent and not a medical professional.
- The realization that the meaning of Mattea’s name was “gift from God.”
- You always get to decide what your new normal looks like.
- Not everyone is going to be able to support you the way that YOU want them to.
- How important it was to keep a normal life at home for their 2 year old child while spending so much time at the hospital with Mattea.
- Staying strong as the provider while also having the ability to be in touch with your emotions.
- Seeing the miracles that are happening around you that you’re not focusing on during a medical journey.
Gary Freedlund Tweetables
- “I had to learn to not be upset or not be frustrated with those friends or family or whoever that might have done that didn’t support me the way that I wanted to be supported.” – Gary Freedlund
- “That is an emotional rollercoaster each and every day and it was a relief to come home at night to find out there was a meal that was dropped off or there’s a meal that’s in the freezer.” – Gary Freedlund
- “Grief is such a complicated journey for people. For me, I felt like I had to keep it together for the family.” – Gary Freedlund
- “I have learned that there are a lot of dads that just want to be heard on their journey and not that they are comfortable speaking to their spouses, but it’s having someone else as a male that they can relate to.” – Gary Freedlund
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