53 episodes

Joy In The Journey is a podcast dedicated to supporting families with critically ill kids. Life brings unexpected circumstances, but choosing joy makes all the difference.

Your host, Jamie Freedlund, knows this better than anyone. Her world changed when her daughter, Mattea Joy, was born with several severe medical complications.

Jamie and her husband were given a very small chance that Mattea would survive at birth, but were able to share nine and a half wonderful months with her that they didn't expect to have. This experience led to a deep level of gratitude, shifting Jamie’s life as a result, and allowing her to discover joy in every day—even the tough ones.

Most of Mattea’s life was spent in the hospital. It was there that Jamie came to understand what it means to be a parent of a critically ill child and the challenges that go with it. Through this podcast, she hopes to help other families going through similar struggles. Join us on a journey of connection and learning through beautiful stories, expert content, and finding more joy in the everyday!

Joy In The Journey Jamie Freedlund

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Joy In The Journey is a podcast dedicated to supporting families with critically ill kids. Life brings unexpected circumstances, but choosing joy makes all the difference.

Your host, Jamie Freedlund, knows this better than anyone. Her world changed when her daughter, Mattea Joy, was born with several severe medical complications.

Jamie and her husband were given a very small chance that Mattea would survive at birth, but were able to share nine and a half wonderful months with her that they didn't expect to have. This experience led to a deep level of gratitude, shifting Jamie’s life as a result, and allowing her to discover joy in every day—even the tough ones.

Most of Mattea’s life was spent in the hospital. It was there that Jamie came to understand what it means to be a parent of a critically ill child and the challenges that go with it. Through this podcast, she hopes to help other families going through similar struggles. Join us on a journey of connection and learning through beautiful stories, expert content, and finding more joy in the everyday!

    Navigating Big Feelings on the Big Heart Journey with Taes Leavitt

    Navigating Big Feelings on the Big Heart Journey with Taes Leavitt

    When our children are experiencing big feelings, it can be very tempting as a parent to try to do everything in our power to make our children feel better. But what if the best thing we could do for them is actually help them experience their emotions with confidence, rather than running away from them?
    That is what Taes Leavitt, my guest on today’s episode, has dedicated her life to: helping parents and children navigate their big feelings. Taes has been called the “new age Mr. Rogers” for her extensive work in children's entertainment, for which she has earned two Juno Awards (the Canadian version of the Grammys).
    She has spent the last 15 years creating empowering television and stage content for kids and in more recent years she has shifted all of that research and experience to inspiring kids and parents through a project called the Big Heart Journey.
    Her research has revealed that the biggest thing that holds people back is not knowing how to navigate big feelings such as bullying, failure, guilt, sadness, and heartbreak. And today, she shares valuable resources on how to identify and cope with those emotions, and how we can help our children navigate difficulties like medical journeys with confidence.
    She also provides some great tools such as meditation videos for children you can start implementing with your kiddos today that have been shown to boost resilience and confidence, as well as reduce anxiety. And the best part, these tools are available for FREE! 😍
    Key Takeaways with Taes Leavitt
    How Taes creates safe spaces for children and parents to address big feelings. Empowering kids to move confidently through their biggest feelings. Identifying the difficult feelings (guilt, shame, sadness) that may be holding you back and how to deal with them. How mindfulness practices can help boost resilience and reduce anxiety. Ideas for strengthening relationships between children and caregivers. Tools to help kids navigate difficult journeys. How unaddressed feelings can lead to disconnection. Strategies to help children regulate before medical treatments. Finding new roles in a community for children who feel like they don’t fit in, or are getting bullied. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/53.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 27 min
    Creating Joy for the Entire Family with George Hardin

    Creating Joy for the Entire Family with George Hardin

    Caring for a hospitalized child or teenager can feel like a scary and overwhelming experience, but being the hospitalized child or teenager can truly make you feel like you’re missing out on real-world experiences. 
    Thankfully, there are wonderful people who are making a difference to create fun experiences for these families. I’m thrilled to introduce you to today’s guest, George Hardin, as he shares all the wonderful work he does with hospitalized children and teenagers. 
    From hosting music festivals to bringing in therapy dogs, making stuffed animals, discussing sneaker styles, and much more, George truly exudes care, compassion, and joy in his work. 
    George is currently the manager of volunteer services and in-kind donations at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago and has previously worked at Lurie Children’s Hospital in a similar role. He has extensive experience in bringing joy and comprehensive family care to families all over Chicago and to his two little girls. 
    George shares some wonderful tips on supporting the patient and the family as they navigate hospitalizations. He offers advice on how to be of service to a family in need, and he brings a new perspective to asking doctors questions and staying informed. He also reminds us that supporting children goes beyond medical support, as the social and emotional aspects are just as important. 
    George’s work is an excellent example of how easy it can be to bring a much-needed smile to someone’s face and how giving back, and volunteering can be a powerful and gratifying experience. I hope this episode brings you joy, inspiration, and motivation to make a difference to those who need it in your community. 
    Key Takeaways with George Hardin
    The power of volunteer work and how you can make a difference. How George brings joy into the lives of hospitalized children. Providing mental health resources for children, teens, and young adults as outpatients. Comprehensive family care that also supports siblings and parents of hospitalized children. How to support as a family member: asking what the family needs and how to help. George’s perspective on how to ask your doctors questions when you feel unsure or unclear. The importance of talking to hospitalized children about their interests, as they can get tired of only dealing with medical staff.  Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/52.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 43 min
    The Importance of Self-Care & Connection for NICU Parents with Theresa Schreiber

    The Importance of Self-Care & Connection for NICU Parents with Theresa Schreiber

    After the lessons and connections my family experienced during our journey in the NICU with our daughter Mattea, I knew I wanted to be a part of the moving force that helps so many families in the NICU find their own strength and support. 
    Today's guest is Theresa Schreiber. Theresa also knows what it's like to spend time in the NICU and lose a baby, and she talks about how she transformed that loss in a beautiful way to give back to the NICU community. 
    For those that don't know, Theresa was a teacher for 15 years. She talks about how her experiences with the NICU staff would inspire her to become Family Support Program Coordinator through the March of Dimes, where she helps educate parents on their NICU journeys. 
    She shares many different resources available to parents as well as some of the areas of concern and how to address them. She reminds us of the importance of self-care as NICU parents and how finding connections within the NICU community can make the experience feel less daunting and intimidating. 
    You'll also hear great advice on celebrating milestones, overcoming setbacks, joining classes to get more information on how to care for your NICU baby, and dealing with the parental guilt of feeling joy and pain simultaneously throughout your journey. 
    Key Takeaways with Theresa Schreiber
    The best ways to support NICU parents during setbacks and heartbreak. Celebrate milestones, no matter how small, to help keep a positive outlook. How former NICU parents can offer support to current NICU parents. Family Support Programs and other helpful resources parents can use. The benefits of Kangaroo Time, Skin-To-Skin Bonding, and understanding the baby’s development. How holidays look different while in the NICU and easy ways to celebrate them. The power of community and connection with other NICU parents. Dealing of the parental guilt of feeling joy and pain at the same time.  Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/51.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 26 min
    Resilience and the Amazing Spirit that Bonds NICU Families with Dr. Patrick Myers

    Resilience and the Amazing Spirit that Bonds NICU Families with Dr. Patrick Myers

    There are very few things as powerful as the strength, courage, and resilience parents find when caring for their sick children. As Dr. Patrick Myers puts it, it is “mind-blowing” what families can do when thinking about their kids.
    I thought a beautiful way to kick off 2023 would be to celebrate this bond that unites NICU families by inviting Dr. Patrick to share with us the biggest lessons he has learned and teaches, to help families navigate the NICU journey.
    This episode is especially helpful for those of you currently in the NICU, or for extended family and friends who want to know how to best support their loved ones during this difficult journey.
    Dr. Patrick Myers is the Fellowship Director of Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital at Northwestern University. I’ve known him since our daughter Mattea was born and I can tell you that his passion for nurturing the next generation of physicians to be caring, compassionate, and connected to their families is truly heartwarming.
    Dr. Myers shares excellent advice on how to advocate for your children during their NICU stay, what he has learned from both parents and the babies he works with, and advice on how best to support each other through difficult times.
    I have no doubt that his work will certainly lead to a new generation of doctors that are not just excellent practitioners, but also indispensable emotional support for families. I hope you find this episode as inspiring as I did, and that hearing his advice will help you and your family feel more confident during your NICU stay.
    Key Takeaways with Dr. Patrick Myers
    What you can expect from an unexpected stay at the NICU. How families find resilience and strength during difficult life changes. The miraculous adaptability and strength of NICU babies. No two NICU experiences are the same, but connecting with families in the NICU can make you feel less alone. Advice for family members & friends wanting to support their loved ones. The importance of rest and tag-teaming your NICU stay whenever possible. Tools to lessen the emotional burden of your stay. How to create a positive relationship with your medical team. How he’s training the next generation of physicians to be better emotionally equipped. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/50.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 28 min
    NICU Blessings and the Joy of Happy Endings with Sarah Hemenover

    NICU Blessings and the Joy of Happy Endings with Sarah Hemenover

    It’s a new year and I thought there’d be no better way to start off 2023 than to introduce you to my good friend, Sarah Hemenover. Sarah and her family are such a breath of fresh air and a beautiful reminder that NICU experiences, while sometimes difficult, can have incredibly happy endings.
    Sarah and her husband Matthew are the parents to three beautiful children, and I’m so grateful to have them in our community. Today, Sarah candidly talks about their NICU journey with their youngest daughter, Ava Jane. Ava Jane was born full term but due to complications at birth she had to be rushed to the NICU, where she spent the first two months of her life.
    This unexpected medical emergency forced Sarah and her family to slow down and truly reevaluate their priorities. The experience taught them the power of relying on your community, letting others show up for your family, and spending time with “your humans''.
    Her beautiful story has the happiest of endings because Ava Jane is a happy and healthy little girl who you’d never believe was once a miracle NICU baby.
    Sarah shares incredibly helpful coping strategies for parents in the NICU, which include journaling in order to help you celebrate the little wins and put into perspective how far you’ve come. I hope this episode inspires you to look out for the small wins this new year!
    Key Takeaways with Sarah Hemenover
    Reminders that while the NICU journey can be long and hard, it can also be beautiful and worthwhile. How hard challenges force us to stop, slow down, and reevaluate our priorities. Opening yourself up to help and support from your community. Coping strategies for sudden and unexpected medical emergencies. Journaling as a way to celebrate little wins and put hard moments into perspective. Taking the time to nourish your life and relationships outside of the hospital during your NICU stay. Managing the isolation that comes from being a (NICU) parent. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/49.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 22 min
    The Magic of Making Wishes Come True with Gina Cordes & Lisa Holt

    The Magic of Making Wishes Come True with Gina Cordes & Lisa Holt

    The holiday season is always an incredible time to make wishes come true, but for Gina Cordes and Lisa Holt, it’s their full-time job. I invited these wonderful ladies because they are real-life Fairy Godmothers. Together, they have granted 40 wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with no plans of stopping anytime soon.
    When we think of serving others, it’s easy to focus on how it will benefit them and make their lives a little better. But as Gina and Lisa’s stories will show you, helping our local communities can have an incredible impact and bring joy to everyone involved.
    I hope you enjoy this conversation as they share how they became Wish Granters for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, what the process looks like, and how they help connect children and their families to their wishes. They also remind us that while medical teams typically refer children to Make-A-Wish, anyone can refer a child for a wish if they meet the requirements.
    From making Disney trips come true, to connecting a child with their favorite YouTuber or giving a little girl a real ballerina experience, the stories these ladies share today are pretty tender and will pull at your heartstrings. But they are also extremely moving examples of how easy it can be to change the life of a local family simply by showing up and being there for them.
    I hope you'll enjoy this episode as they have some great advice on ways to show up for anyone in need and spread some holiday spirit as we head into the new year.
    Key Takeaways with Gina Cordes & Lisa Holt
    How serving others brings joy to everyone involved. How anyone can become a Make A Wish volunteer, and how the process works. Some of the inspiring stories of the beautiful wishes Gina & Lisa have granted. The magic of coming together as a community to support a family in need. Advice on how to support families during difficult times. Reasons not to sweat the small things in life, and truly appreciate what you have. Show Notes:
    Get Full Access to the Show Notes by visiting: MatteasJoy.org/48.
    Rate & Review If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

    You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

CharlieConnely ,

What an inspiring show!

Jamie is such an inspiring human being and the stories being shared on this podcast are uplifting and super helpful for other families who are trying to find the light during the life’s darkest moments. Can’t wait to hear more!

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