I first discovered Natalie and her beautiful daughter Chiara not long after Eva was born. I was in desperate need to find community and comfort, and Natalie's blog and her sense of realness combined with her beautiful optimism, was a calming balm for me.
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Mauro and Natalie with their daughters Grace and Chiara.[/caption]
I was struck very quickly with how hard Natalie and her husband, Mauro, work for Chiara. They are tireless (I'm sure the would say otherwise) in their love and care for her.
They try everything they can to make their little girl's life as good as it can be. That means they test out all sorts of therapies for Chiara from massage to hydrotherapy and more, and they put in huge efforts to fundraise for equipment that can give Chiara the best quality of life possible.
They are the definition of dedicated and act as advocates and champions for their daughter in any way they can.
When you read all this you might think it all comes easy to Natalie and that she has always had her act together on this great rollercoaster journey that is special needs parenting. But Natalie shares her vulnerability and moments she wasn't always as positive and confident in her role in Chiara's life.
Natalie acknowledged the hard times, while also gushing about how much love she has for Chiara and her family. I got to see both sides and felt an affinity for each one. As Natalie says in the episode, there's one thing this special needs journey is renowned for and it's the ability to experience the most extremes of contradictory emotions all at the same time. It's two sides of a magnet's pull. The bad and the good are inescapably intertwined.
Chiara has a number of conditions including: polymicrogyria, microcephaly and quadraplegic cerebral palsy. She cannot walk or talk. She cannot sit unaided. She can smile, boy can that girl smile, but when she's not smiling she is often suffering from issues related to her CP.
Natalie wanted to share the beauty of her life, and acknowledge that there are hard days, weeks and months in there too.
Natalie and Mauro, it was an absolute privilege to hear your story.
If you want to know more you can follow Chiara through her facebook page, Chiara's Journey
and through Natalie's blog
of the same name.
It's not every day you get to meet someone as inspiring, honest and warm as Natalie, or someone as brave and determined as Chiara.
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