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Meet the mom of a special-needs child who’s bringing hope to others


Kelly Speck

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 07/09/22

If you could use some hope and encouragement, this beautiful new book is for you.

If you could use some hope and encouragement, check out a really beautiful new book, Hope in the Heartache: A Journey of Grace and Growth with a Special Needs Child by Kelly Speck. 


A wife and mom of 3, Kelly Speck considers herself a recovering type-A planner ever since the birth of her oldest son, Bennett, nearly 15 years ago. 

She was blindsided when her textbook first pregnancy led to a scary birth and postpartum period. Baby Bennett fought to survive, and the family found themselves on a journey they never imagined. 

They journeyed through grief and exhaustion while navigating hospitals, churches, and insurance offices, but the Specks never lost faith. In their devotion to God and family, they realized hope is what matters most. 


Kelly tells her story so well. Hope in the Heartache grips and holds attention from the first page. 

Perhaps it’s so well written because it’s so well lived: Kelly knows what it means to hold on to hope every day. 

If you’ve ever faced real heartache, if you’ve faced trauma or you’re supporting a loved one who has, this book is for you.


I had the chance to ask Kelly a few questions about her book and her family’s story. Here’s what she told me. 

What inspired you to write Hope in the Heartache? 

Living in the Washington D.C. suburbs following 2020, we felt the heaviness of the world exponentially. People around us were scared, angry, and tense. We know our story is a story of hope and encouragement, so we took the leap to reach out to a publisher to see if there was any interest on their end. The publisher soon said YES and the rest is history.

What do you want people to know about your story? 

We want people to know that there is no doubt that life can be extremely hard and filled with pain. We also know that while in that pain, there is a God who loves you. He never left our side — even when we were looking the death of our newborn son straight in the face.

How do you find support as the parent of a special needs child? 

We have found support through our son’s public-school community as well as through our faith communities. Friends and family also have surrounded us with tangible acts of love such as gift cards to pay for meals, babysitting our two younger kids, or being willing to watch Bennett so that we can experience respite.

What is the most important thing you would want people to know about Hope in the Heartache? 

There are really good people in this world. Look for them. Whether it be the kind medical techs in the NICU, the wheelchair repair man, the nurse who comes into our home, or the door dash delivery guy. Bennett has changed our perspective on everything and most importantly we learned from the young age of 30 that THINGS DO NOT MATTER. People and relationships are the secret to life; and when we open our eyes to the good people in the world, we will find them … They make life so much fuller. 

And lastly, we know what it is like to feel like your heart is breaking and there is no hope. We were told to prepare to bury our firstborn son after a near-perfect full-term pregnancy. Even amidst that deep pain and anguish, we cried out to God and He gave us the peace and comfort we needed in those moments to walk through some of the hardest days of our lives.

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