Award-winning author of

The Polio Journals:
Lessons from My Mother

Winner: 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Finalist: 2012 Benjamin Franklin Award
Finalist: 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards
Finalist: 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards
2nd Place: 18th Annual CIPA EVVY Awards
Honorable Mention: 19th Annual Writer's Digest Book Awards

Overcoming Adversity: Lessons Learned from Growing Up with a Disabled Mother

We live in a society where we are bombarded by images of lives that seem perfect - glamorous wives and handsome husbands effortlessly raising exceptional children. So when the unexpected happens - an illness, problems with our children, a divorce - we often become consumed by fears that we wonít be accepted by others if they know us for our perceived imperfections. Living in a society that puts a premium on silencing suffering, we instead project an upbeat, positive, and cheerful demeanor. Not only do we withdraw and hide our problems from others, we often hide them from ourselves as well.

But is there a price we pay when we focus solely on presenting the picture perfect family? I know well the impact on a family when struggles are silenced in the hopes that this will lead to more acceptance by others. My family believed that if we could downplay the significance of my motherís paralysis - by helping her accommodate to the world of the nondisabled, by never discussing her disability and always presenting a cheerful, upbeat attitude, we could "pretend" as if her paralysis didnít exist. Yet such silence robbed our family of an opportunity to show compassion toward each other and led to feelings of isolation that weakened the bonds of intimacy across several generations of my family.

Sharing my own inspirational journey to break free from the silence of my past and transform adversity into a growth opportunity to form deeper bonds with those I love, I impart valuable lessons to help others deal with adversity in their own lives. This includes understanding how sharing vulnerabilities with others enhances compassion, and how intimacy derives from our ability to share both our strengths and our weaknesses

In The Polio Journals,
Dr. Gross describes the impact of shame and secrets on multiple generations of her family. To learn more, visit