skip to Main Content
Episode 071: It’s Okay to Laugh: Special Needs Parenting with Hilary Harris

Episode 071

Act normal and read the room.

Hilary Harris and her husband Rich are the hosts of the new podcast “It’s Okay to Laugh.” They are knocking it out of the park! As special needs parents, they felt called to talk more openly and honestly about their experience as a way to let other special needs parents know they are not alone and gently educate anyone else who is interested in supporting special needs families.

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding disabilities. Being a care giver can be very isolating—Hilary understands this and is showing up in creative ways to shine a light into that space.

I love that you’re here for this conversation—whether you’re a special needs parent who is looking for support or a mom who is looking for ideas on how to help friends who have special needs children or how we can lovingly teach our kids how to interact with special needs families.

Hilary’s perspective, honesty, and humor are refreshing for all parents. She is honest about the realities of her situation and yet still full of hope, dreams, and a belief that there is more.

Hilary’s Bio: Hilary and her husband Rich are parents to three little girls, Jane, Haven, and Millie. They pastor at The Father’s House Church in Northern CA. Together they host their podcast, “It’s Okay to Laugh”. Their lives were changed when their first daughter Jane was born. Jane lives with epilepsy, blindness, immobility and special needs. It is Hilary’s desire to share their story through writing and speaking, to bring hope, healing and laughter to others who have faced disappointment and tragedy. Hilary graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in communication and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Theology. Hilary LOVES eating great food, getting her fitness on, spending time outside with her family, and purging her kid’s toys when they aren’t looking.

In this episode, Hilary & I talk about:

  • Her family’s story about when Jane was born
  • When we feel dismissed when presented with big information
  • How we can be more supportive
  • What to say to
  • Not being in the mood to answer questions
  • Ideas for how to interact with parents or special needs children
  • Ideas for how we can teach our kids to positively interact with people with special needs
  • What it’s like to be in public
  • Questions over assumptions
  • How society is shifted in their approach
  • Overcompensating
  • Fear of offending
  • Terminology: is it “special needs” or “disabled”
  • We’re all learning along this journey
  • Parallels: how so many ideas and thoughts surrounding special needs really applies to all parents and parenting
  • “Just ask questions”
  • What Hilary wishes more moms understood what being a special needs parent is really like
  • Grief
  • PTSD
  • Showing up with compassion
  • Being curious in a healthy way
  • Compassion fatigue
  • How we can show up authentically
  • Why we should buy chips & have them delivered to our friends—no seriously
  • Making time for creativity as moms
  • The elements of creativity: discipline, beauty, & sharing
  • Personality types
  • Enneagram 7s – personality changes along the way (7s want to run from pain)
  • Her podcast and intended audience
  • Education vs. advocacy
  • Supporting special needs dads

Hilary’s Links: Website and Podcast

Follow us on Instagram, @loribethauldridge and @elevatingmotherhood. Like, comment, and share that you’re listening to the podcast!

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE so you never miss an episode!

Love the podcast? Please let me & your mama friends know! Leave a review on iTunes to let me what’s serving you best. And share, share, share the show on social media, with friends & family, by word of mouth—whatever way you want to bring in your sisters to the conversation as we elevate modern motherhood together!


Blossom & Root: Today’s episode of Elevating Motherhood is sponsored by Blossom & Root a nature-based, Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool curriculum company that has been gently guiding and supporting families for years! This thoughtful, age appropriate curriculum begins at the preschool level—and acts as a much-needed resource for this age group.

Blossom & Root’s Early Years Volumes 1 & 2 are valuable tools for parents with young children—whether you choose to pursue homeschool long term or not. The information and ideas are easy to follow, fun, and engaging. School age curricula are also available with more grade levels being released each year. It’s the curriculum my family uses and loves. They’ve generously offered a discount for listeners of Elevating Motherhood: use the code LORIBETH10 at checkout for 10% OFF your order.

For more information about Blossom & Root, head over to

MUTU System: Thanks to MUTU System for supporting today’s episode of Elevating Motherhood. MUTU is a medically recommended, online exercise program that is designed to support mothers postpartum. And it’s not just for moms who have new babies. I started using MUTU 2.5 years after my third baby was born. My hip issues and unresolved diastasis recti were continuing to get in the way of my exercise attempts and everyday comfort level. I decided to do something about it and MUTU was the support I was looking for. I started to experience relief after just a week of using the program. I highly recommend it as a way to boost your strength and confidence! It’s gentle, do-able, effective—and you can use it at home. Buy it once and it’s yours for life. There’s more information over at And you can hear more from the founder and CEO Wendy Powell in Episode 41. Go check it out!


Love the Show? Leave a review on iTunes!
Connect with Lori Beth on Instagram: @loribethauldridge and @elevatingmotherhood
Visit Today’s Sponsors: Blossom & Root + MUTU System
More About Your Host: Lori Beth’s Blog