Ep 46: The Emotional Journey of Having and Parenting Specific Needs: Kate and Jess

When we experience issues that impact our physical health, that can also provoke certain feelings that impact our mental health too. In today’s episode of Hope Pieced Together, we speak with mother and daughter, Kate Turner and Jess Sohns, about the emotional journey of dealing with those repercussions, as well as how to parent through them. When Jess was born with what Kate calls “specific needs,” it turned Kate’s expectations of what her parenting journey was going to look like on its head. Tune in as Kate and Jess share some of the physical and emotional challenges they encountered as Jess grew up and how they learned to overcome them. Both women also share some poignant advice about the importance of allowing your children to make mistakes and allowing yourself to feel your feelings in order to heal, and you’ll discover some helpful resources and powerful tools for raising self-confident, motivated children who are ready for the real world. Make sure not to miss this candid discussion!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to today’s guests, mother, Kate Turner, and daughter, Jess Sohns.
  • Hear about the unexpected turn in Kate’s parenting journey when she gave birth to Jess.
  • When Jess first realized that she was different from her peers.
  • Some of the challenges Kate encountered in parenting a child with “specific needs,” including navigating comparative milestones.
  • Jess shares some of the challenges she experienced growing up, including feeling isolated.
  • The insight Kate gained with hindsight into her unhealthy methods of coping with shame.
  • Self-pity versus self-compassion and how Jess learned to cope with negative emotions.
  • The parenting decisions that felt more difficult for Kate and her experience of what she calls learned helplessness.
  • How the Love and Logic program helped Kate allow her kids to be independent thinkers.
  • Find out why Jess believes that certain struggles help young children build independence.
  • The importance of allowing your children “the gift of little mistakes,” as Kate says.
  • How Kate’s pride prevented her from feeling her feelings and how she overcame that.
  • Jess emphasizes the value of allowing yourself to grieve and feel pain in order to heal.
  • How Kate and Jess’s mother-daughter relationship was impacted by their struggles.
  • The benefits of allowing your children to exercise control over choice where they can.
  • Some of the healthy coping mechanisms that Kate learned through Love and Logic, the 12-step group, and her faith.
  • What has been helpful for Jess on her journey, including a story in John Chapter 9.
  • Ending on a story of hope: Kate uses the analogy of an oyster, a grain of sand, and a pearl.
  • Learn more about the Love and Logic program from Kate.


“I felt like I didn’t have time to feel my feelings. The type of personality style I am, I’m really good at feeling other people’s feels and I’ll compartmentalize mine and put them over there until they implode on me or somebody else at some point.” — Kate Turner [0:10:56]

“Developing relationships was a hard thing for me because I didn’t feel like I had a lot of common ground with people who could understand [and say], ‘I’ve been through that too.’” — Jess Sohns [0:14:16]

“Self-pity is the shadow of self-compassion, it’s the imposter of self-compassion.” — Jess Sohns [0:19:28]

“I wanted her to be strong and independent. I didn’t want her birth defects to hold her back, yet because of my empty toolbox and my empty parenting skills, plus the shame, I had an overload of sympathy for her instead of empathy.” — Kate Turner [0:23:22]

“When we are struggling through [certain] things as young children, we are building those muscles of independence.” — Jess Sohns [0:29:03]

“Even if you can look at all of those things that are your blessings in your life instead of your pain, eventually that pain will catch up and demand to be noticed.” — Jess Sohns [0:33:15]

“Retraining myself, the 12-step group, learning about how kind and loving God really is, that He wasn’t there with a baseball bat and He was sad. Leaning into my faith and letting people help me, that helped [turn] the ship around.” — Kate Turner [0:42:12]

“What we have and has formed now, really, our relationship we see as a pearl. It is what has come out of this struggle, out of the irritants and the sadness and the surgeries and the poor parenting to the good parenting.” — Kate Turner [0:47:49]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Kate Turner

Kate Turner on LinkedIn

Kate Turner on Mosaics of Mercy

Jess Sohns on Instagram

Love and Logic


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