Who am I?
Hi! My name is Michelle, and I'm an American living in the Netherlands temporarily for my husband's work. Having previously done biomedical research for several years in a cancer lab, I now work as a freelance medical writer and editor, helping scientists get their biomedical and clinical research articles published in major scientific journals. I also do some personal writing, including this blog, which I founded in 2016. I live with my husband and our son, who was born in 2013.
What is this blog all about?
“In Amsterdam I Am” is a blog about my journey raising a child with special needs. My goal is to help other parents of children with special needs by sharing resources that my family has found helpful, as well as personal stories that those parents may find inspiring and/or relatable. Of course, non-parents and parents of typically developing children are welcome here as well—anyone who wants to learn more about what it's like to raise a child with special needs.
What or who inspired this blog?
The short answer is: my son, Oliver. Oliver was born 12 weeks and 1 day early due to a rare pregnancy complication called HELLP syndrome. As a result of his prematurity, he has undergone numerous surgeries and has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and communication issues. He's spent many hours in doctors' offices and in physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions. These issues aside, he is a sweet, happy little boy with a lot of curiosity, joy, and determination.
|Oliver at age 3 walking with his daddy|
On a surface level, the name comes from the fact that when I purchased the blog's domain name, I thought my family would soon be moving to Amsterdam. As it turns out, we moved to a different town in the Netherlands instead, but I decided to keep my blog's name as "In Amsterdam I Am."
For one, I liked the way it sounds. Plus, it’s reminiscent of the character “Sam-I-Am” from Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham, which seemed appropriate for a blog pertaining to children.
Most importantly, though, the name "In Amsterdam I Am" reflects the foreign-feeling world that we parents of children with special needs often find ourselves in—upon receiving a new diagnosis; upon noticing a new, unexpected behavior or the lack of an expected one; upon looking around at parents of typically developing children and sometimes feeling so alone.
In this blog, I'd like to share with you some of my son's struggles and triumphs as well as some of the things I've learned during our medical and developmental journey. My hope is that the resources I share will be useful to you and that the stories I share will help you feel a little less alone.
Michelle L. Jones, PhD