As a mom, you may not have qualified for the Rio Olympics, but you certainly deserve a spot on the podium in our eyes. There are no “perfect scores” in motherhood, but if you had a discipline breakthrough, managed a meltdown, or found time in your day to pursue a dream, then we want to take a moment and celebrate alongside you. Even the little “victories” add up to be big wins in the long run; so let’s champion each other. After all, we’re on the same team.
Today we are featuring Maria Dunlap, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Vivian’s Victory, as well as wife and mom. ☺
Hello! I am Maria Dunlap, wife and mom of 5 crazy babies (literally, babies. My 4 living are 3 and under!). The first “real” picture below is pre-Zelie.
This picture is from a couple weeks ago, just after Zelie arrived. If you look closely, there is a bear called “the Vivi Bear”. It’s made out of the few clothes she wore while she was alive–our way to have her in our pictures.
Congratulation on your newest arrival! What a precious idea, to have the Vivi Bear! ? Sounds like there’s a story coming! So, do you wear any other hats in addition to your [big, gigantic, hugely significant] Mom Hat?
Yes, yes I do. And it’s because of that story you mentioned. In 2012, my husband Rod and I were blessed with our first baby, Vivian. She was prenatally diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), and after her birth, Turner’s Syndrome. We lived at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital during her 59-day life and saw first hand the deep suffering and loneliness families go through while their child fights for his or her life. We lived in a “love bubble”, but we quickly realized we were the exception to the rule. When you watch families struggle, thinking about how they will be able to keep their child alive after they go home, or see parents unable to be present when their child dies, you realize the love you received has to be used to do something. Viv was the catalyst of saying “yes” to our lives’ missions, not just as spouses and parents, but as founders of our non-profit, Vivian’s Victory, which assists families during a hospital stay with a child and during their transition home. I am the Executive Director, (so yes, I do “work”!) and I am really honored to say that our organization has doubled in size since our inception in 2014. It’s a bittersweet need to fill—it will always be growing, but we are growing too. Allowing families to know they are not alone on the roller coaster is one of the greatest blessings.
What an amazing way to turn heartbreak (that I can’t imagine) into caring for others. Thanks for filling that bittersweet need! How can we find out more about your mission, Vivian’s Victory?
Thanks! Now that we know about sweet Vivian, tell us about your living kids.
Iris is 3 and, well, is beginning to wear many hats herself–especially after the birth of our daughter Zelie just a few days ago. Fulton is 2, and on a scale of 1-10, he’s a 15. ALL. THE. TIME. And is the sweetest, most loving child. He makes our life so interesting! Auggie is 13 months and is cool as a cucumber. He goes with the flow unlike anyone I have ever met, is totally content in his own skin. He is a HUGE consolation after 2 so-strong kids! And Zelie, well she is 3 days old today and we are all obsessed with her.
The fact that you could put these sentences together with a 3-day old is a major win!! Plus, I heard at our MOPS meeting last week that you have a pretty major event planned for Vivian’s Victory. I’m sure getting this together has taken time and perseverance to accomplish! The Masquerade Ball! Is’t like prom for big kids, right? Plus it supports what you’re doing!
That’s right! You can get registered here: http://viviansvictory.org/events/
We’d love to have you!
I hope it is a huge success! So, what is a mom win that you would text your best friend?
I should preface this with the fact that I had been living in a state of impending doom awaiting the arrival of our newest edition. Feeling overwhelmed didn’t quite seem to fit the bill. I was putting Iris to bed a few nights before Zelie was born. As I was walking out the door, Iris says, “When I love more, my heart grows, Mommy”. It stopped me in my tracks—wow! Out of the mouths of babes!
That brings tears to my eyes! Don’t you love it when your littles remind you of something so simple, yet soooooo profound?! Anything else you would like to share?
You aren’t the only one who feels overwhelmed, insufficient, a hot mess, whatever—we all do. Whether we admit it or not, none of us have our stuff together—our best cheerleaders are each other! WE CAN DO THIS! ☺
Thanks for sharing that! Such a good reminder. And as such, I would just like to say, you can do this, Maria! It seems like there’s a ton on your plate, but I you can do it!!
If you would like to be featured as a Gold Medal Mom or you know someone who would, please contact us here!