Jen Gawel has not only mastered the hardships in her life but puts effort and intention into giving others the tools to master their own challenging paths, and she does it all while oozing joy from every fiber of her being.
If you ask Jen about her family, she will tell you that her family is just like everyone else’s; they just accommodate a few differences along the way. She’s a mom of three kiddos and having spent as much time in the NICU as she has, her attitude and perspectives are incredible.
Even though your journey as a parent might start in the NICU, it doesn’t end there. Her second child, JD, was diagnosed with a very rare condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. Some may describe it as missing the 4th chromosome, or as Jen would say, it just makes you lose some of your chromosomal instruction booklet.
And her third child, Kaitlyn, suffered from cardiac complications, having a pinched aorta, something that she says was almost harder because it was so unexpected.
I’m just delighted to share Jen’s story with you today. You’ll hear from one of the sweetest supermoms that I’ve ever met as she reminds us that through all the ups and downs, we have to look at the big picture and let our friends and families help us continue on with our own journeys.
Key Takeaways with Jen Gawel
- Why Jen thinks of the NICU as a warm hug.
- The gratitude that she has for the nurses at the NICU.
- The sense of community that comes from sharing your stories and connecting with other parents.
- The comfort that comes from having the opportunity to go through a grieving process after receiving a challenging prenatal diagnosis.
- The deep connection that comes with nursing a child.
- The hope that came with doing their own research and understanding what their child could do instead of what they couldn’t do.
- The power in writing your own narrative for your family.
- Everyone is unique, but your family is the same as anyone else’s family in all the ways that truly matter.
- The importance of teaching your kids about how it’s okay to be different.
- Enjoying and cherishing the little things goes a long way.
Jen Gawel Tweetables
- “You’re put on a journey, and it’s how you handle that journey and that path that will help you find that joy.” – Jen Gawel
- “A happy life consists not in the absence, but the mastery of hardships.” – Helen Keller
- “It shaped not just how we included him in the family but How other people saw that this was the same family just like anyone else. Effort and intention in giving him a voice.” – Jen Gawel
- Growing Up Gawel Blog
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Jackson Chance Foundation
- Ronald McDonald House
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
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