A lesson in confidence from MTHR Collective founder, Danielle Kelley.
When we asked Danielle Kelley for her thoughts on parenting and motherhood, we knew we would get a dose of reality. Vulnerability and truth is Danielle’s brand – and sharing her story amongst many others in a trusting, supportive community of mothers – is her mission.
The greatest lesson in parenting for Danielle came early-on in her journey as a mother – in fact, it was day one.
In late 2016, Danielle and her partner found out they were pregnant with their first baby. Although the majority of her pregnancy was routine for the most part – the actual birth of her child presented dire complications for both mother and baby. Danielle describes it as a “traumatic birth experience” that forced her and her husband to have really difficult conversations and make decisions that would impact their family forever.
In early May 2017, just shy of 40 weeks, Danielle made a call to an advice nurse, concerned that she hadn’t felt any fetal movement recently when normally the baby was “throwing Ronaldo-sized kicks”. When they arrived at the hospital, the doctor confirmed that their baby was not moving – and with each mild contraction, their heart rate was plummeting to alarming levels.
Not 30-minutes later, Danielle had an emergency C-section.
Their daughter, Eisley Winter, was born severely anemic (unable to produce or circulate blood effectively) with both kidney and liver damage, swelling in her brain, and was experiencing seizures all in the first 11 days of her life.
The experience of watching their newborn daughter fight for her life in the NICU was unlike any challenge they had ever faced together. The Kelley’s monitored Eisley’s recovery through a sterile plexiglass window, unable to hold or kiss her, trying to make sense of all the wires covering her tiny body and what the sounds of each machine meant. The wait for positive news and updates could feel excruciating.
Slowly but surely, with the help of incredible doctors & many prayers, their strong and tenacious baby girl began to heal and stabilize. As Danielle puts it, “Eisley was on a diehard quest to prove her place in the world.”
The entire experience was an unexpected lesson in strength and intuition. Experts told the Kelley family that if Danielle had not trusted her instincts and made the emergency call when she did – Eisley would likely not have made it.
Normally the when faced with such intense and dire circumstances, Danielle would have expected the fear to consume her. She had never before been pushed physically, mentally or emotionally in this way. She felt totally unprepared.
However, when the situation presented itself – Danielle was able to find confidence in her child’s strength.
” If I could witness my baby’s will to fight and live – I learned that I too could come out on the other side of this experience a braver person. Rather than live as a fear-based parent, it has been my goal to encourage and remind my daughter of her own inherent bravery. Together, our family is prepared to face future challenges, knowing what we are capable of overcoming in the past. “
Danielle’s advice to other moms in need of confidence? Trust in the strength of our children and ourselves for the courage it took to bring them into this world.
More about the MTHR Collective
An intersection between community and creativity, MTHR Collective is an inclusive, visionary space built for mothers to share, connect, and become stronger advocates for self-care in the realm of motherhood.
Since 2018, their mission has been to provide a powerful platform that will connect mothers through their various commonalities, stories, and mutual struggles. Their annual retreat is rooted in rest and women-empowerment, with the end goal that everyone leaves feeling both creatively re-centered and majorly supported.
The third annual MTHR Collective retreat will take place at Autocamp Russian River in Sonoma County. It will feature a weekend of creativity, inspirational speakers, wellness, MTHR Market, farm-to-table meals and much more! Be sure to join their mailing list to stay up to date on ticket sale and other important info.
Share the Gift of Self-Care
In celebration of our upcoming Mother’s Day series highlighting women we admire – we’re giving away a pair of Mom & Me gift sets featuring some of best-selling products! TO ENTER: subscribe to our email newsletter below, where we’ll be featuring REAL moms talking about balancing parenting, work & self-care. In the meantime, you can read more about woman business owners we admire and our part 2!