The Life We Never Expected by Andrew & Rachel Wilson: A Book Review and Giveaway

My brother had cerebral palsy, and he was confined to a wheel chair for his entire life.  Before his teen years, he lost one of his great loves–eating.  He had surgery so that he could get his nutrition from a feeding tube since he was aspirating so often.

That surgery wasn’t his only.  He had many more during his 29 years including surgery for scoliosis when spines were put in his back.

My brother couldn’t talk; he could only communicate through his infectious laugh and by nodding or shaking his head, or when he was really tired, simply by blinking.

Thanks to the aspiration he had for a few years before the feeding tube was inserted, his lungs were weakened and scarred.  When he got pneumonia at 29, he just couldn’t fight it.  We lost him almost nine years ago.  Writing about him like this and thinking of him, fills me with an aching and brings tears to my eyes.  We miss him every day.

Life We never expected coverBecause of my intimate knowledge of what it’s like to live with someone with significant disabilities, I was interested in reviewing Andrew & Rachel Wilson’s new book, The Life We Never Expected.  The Wilsons are parents to not one but two children with regressive autism, meaning their children were progressing on target developmentally, but at some point when they were young, they started to regress and lose those skills thanks to their autism.

This book is so many things.  It is a place where the Wilsons can express their disappointment, anger, and frustration at their and their children’s situation, which they do unflinchingly.  As a reader, I sometimes found some of the things that they wrote painfully honest and raw.

The book is also a place of encouragement, especially for parents who are walking a similar path.  The Wilsons turn to God and find great comfort in their faith.  They manage to find many good qualities about their situation, which will encourage other parents to find the same silver lining.

Finally, there is a beautiful chapter at the end of the book where the Wilsons suggest what people might want to say to families who have children with disabilities.  Too often, people say things that are really hurtful without realizing their being hurtful.  The Wilsons also share what people can do to help families with kids with disabilities.

Simply put, this is a beautifully written book.

4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

The Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a copy of this book.  To enter, simply leave a comment stating why you’d like to win.

For an additional entry, follow Mom’s Plans on Pinterest and come back here to leave a comment that you did so.

This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents, ages 18+, and will end on July 17th at 11:59 p.m. PST.  The winner will be chosen via

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”



  1. I’d like to win because I’m raising (and teaching) a child with multiple medical issues — both physical and educational difficulties.

  2. I follow you on Pinterest. 🙂

  3. I have a child with a brain injury and I too am living a life I didn’t expect! Would love to read it.

  4. My oldest has some disabilities and it has been a learning experience! We never expected what we got, but love every moment of it! Plus, I love the name 🙂

  5. Tari Lawson says:

    I work with kids with many disabilities. I would love to read about how a family deals with them.

  6. Ashley C says:

    I would like to win because this sounds like a very interesting book that would shine lots of insight into other people’s lives.

  7. Sandy Klocinski says:

    This resonates with me because my husband was diagnosed with ALS in February and being his primary caregiver, I can relate

  8. Denise S says:

    I want to win because I love reading and this sounds really good.

  9. As a parent involved in children’s ministries at our church, I think reading this book would be helpful to my interaction with parents in situations beyond my understanding.

  10. I would love to win this because I have 6 kids with special needs. I am also a social worker and am interested and vested in children and adults with disabilities.

  11. I joined via Pinterest Cindiizzy2569

  12. Holly Mitkowski says:

    I would like to win for two reasons, 1) my younger brother is autistic and 2) I work in the field of developmental disabilities and mental health.

  13. Holly Mitkowski says:

    I follow on Pinterest (@calibound11)

  14. I’d like to win because I really enjoy reading. I think this would be a good read.

  15. i would love to win because this sounds like a great book

  16. Daniel M says:

    always looking for new things to read

  17. I enjoy reading and discovering new books, which is why I’d like to win.

  18. I’d like to win because I would enjoy reading this story and passing it along to others to read. I am sorry for the loss of your brother.

  19. I’d like to win because I’m a special education teacher. I’m always looking to understand the perspective of parents.

  20. I follow you on pinterest (sweetmissa724)

  21. Jessica c says:

    Looks like a great book thank you for sharing

  22. Jessica c says:

    Following you on pintrest

  23. Gabrielly says:

    I want to win because I love reading and I think this would be a really good read.

  24. I would like to read the work of Andrew & Rachel Wilson.

  25. Jessica Peeling says:

    I’d like to win because I am a fourth year medical student who is going into psychiatry, and strongly considering child psychiatry.

  26. Jessica Peeling says:

    Followed you on PInterest as jpeeling!

  27. Susan Baughman says:

    My husband and I house parent women with disabilities and would like to open a home for children in foster care with disabilities. This would be a great resource.

  28. Susan Baughman says:

    following (tsgsusans)

  29. BILL HOFF says:

    Just watched the first episode of “The A Word” on the Sundance Channel and would like to learn more about autism…

  30. BILL HOFF says:

    follow on Pinterest

  31. Philip Lawrence says:

    I’d like to win since I could learn a lot from reading it.

  32. Melanie Montgomery says:

    As a mother, I would love to read this book

  33. Id like to win because my cousin was born with spina bifida(sp?). He passed away when he 13 yrs old.Id like to read this then pass it on to my cousin, her son is the one who died.
    Im sorry for your loss.Thank you for the chance 🙂

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