A Vintage, Modern, STRONG Mom of the Month!
Stephanie Wolfe from The Vintage Modern Wife is our September Mom of the Month!
Stephanie hails from Waco, Texas where she's wife to Mathew and all-star momma to Addie (5) and Lawson (1.5). The Wolfe family has had their share of struggles but they're also experts at not letting it stand in their way or bring them down.
Today we wanted to talk to our Mom of the Month about how she stays so strong and positive in the face of hardship, as well as her best tips to persevere.
When Stephanie was pregnant with their now 5-year-old daughter Addie they learned their daughter had a chromosomal abnormality that would cause her to be born with Sacrococcygeal Teratoma. Upon delivery the Wolfe's also learned that Addie had trouble breathing because of a floppy airway as well as legal blindness and deafness. She would also have learning and physical delays due to these conditions.
For the Wolfe's, as you could imagine, the initial news of this was devastating. But soon after they pushed those feelings aside and realized Addie could do anything she set her mind to. Stephanie says, "There are no limitations! We encourage Addie to work hard daily to achieve her goals and we encourage Lawson to learn to be loving and compassionate towards others. We also are super into natural living, but we do love a good donut now and again because #balance."
In order to make sure that Addie continued to reach and even exceed her goals the Wolfe family had to make some lifestyle changes. "Since Addie has breathing issues and has a trach with a ventilator, we were told we couldn’t use candles and air fresheners in our home. We discovered Young Living Essential Oils as a perfect alternative and now we use diffusers and natural products to make our house smell nice and clean." Stephanie continues, "We also had to learn basic nursing skills, and more advanced skills like changing and caring for a trach, using a ventilator, and other machines like suction, oxygen concentrator, and pulse oximeter. Having a trach is essentially another airway, so the hospital had to make 100% sure we could handle it all before she went home."
In order for Addie to thrive and continue to live at home she has occupational, physical, and speech therapies twice a week (each) in addition to school twice a week. Stephanie tells us "Addie works hard during her therapy workouts and practices walking, standing from sitting, and grasping items. We were initially told during Addie’s NICU days that she would never walk, and just recently at 5 years old and 1 day, Addie took her very first unassisted steps in a gait trainer! She also has been using an eye gaze device to choose specific topics from a screen to help her speak despite an eye doctor saying her vision was too poor that even glasses wouldn’t help. Addie also is a Girl Scout, plays soccer on a special needs team, and is a cheerleader! There’s nothing that will stop this girl from living a full and fun life and proving doctors wrong".
Stephanie wants other parents to know that education is key in helping others with acceptance and understanding of special needs children. "The more you can share about your child to educate friends and family, the better, because you turn something that may initially seem different into something not so different! Also, know that most people have good intentions and they may not know how to word questions. Telling your friends and family how to best word questions regarding your child can be so helpful and will help avoid hurt feelings." Stephanie says "simply stating "I'd love to know more about her" is the best way to open the door".
Family and friends of special needs parents can always look for ways to help out the family. Stephanie tells us that the best help they can get is simply having someone watch their younger son, Lawson, while Addie is with her nurse so that her and Mathew can have some couple time. "Special needs parents live such stressful lives that getting out is much needed and can make a huge difference in a marriage," Stephanie mentions.
It's obvious that Addie hit the jackpot when it comes to an awesome momma and family. Addie and her mom Stephanie are proof that you can do anything as long as you put your mind, heart and soul into it. We can't wait to see what she's up to throughout the coming years!
As for the near future? Stephanie, Addie and the rest of the Wolfe family are headed to Disney with Make a Wish! This is their first big family trip together and they couldn't be more excited. Recently the Wolfe family also got to test out a Toyota Sierra for a week and they fell in love. If you'd like to donate to get Addie a new van (for more big family trips!) you can do so here or Venmo Mathewsbambina (with "Addie's Van" in the memo).
- Brooke Pakulski