Heard on Olympic & Bundy - Shelby Rideout is the creator and founder of Bright Signs Learning, a program that introduces young kids to sign language and basic reading concepts in a fun and interactive way.
She and her husband have four children of their own and are currently in the process of adopting a fifth child.
"All I've ever wanted is a house full of kids, that's it," she said.
When they first got married, Shelby and her husband started trying right away to have children but she was unable to get pregnant.
"Most people think of pregnancy and they don't think about how hard it can be," she said. "So the first month, I was like, 'Oh! Not pregnant? That's crazy. Probably gonna be month two!' Nope. I wasn't really prepared not to become pregnant right away."
They tried several rounds of IVF and had multiple miscarriages during the experience. Shelby spoke very openly about her struggle with infertility and what it was like interacting with other expecting parents during that time in her life.
"The emotions that I felt at that time are never far. I remember them so vividly. And what's so difficult is that you know everyone feels for you and the situation you're in, but then you also know they're side stepping you... I would be over-zealous and then I would dart many times to the bathroom and just bawl."
Simultaneously, they went through the adoption process. Shelby eventually went to Ethiopia to meet her baby daughter Tensae, which she describes as a "life-defining moment" when she finally became a mother.
As the universe would have it, she also found out she was pregnant around the same time with her son Jack.
She fully embraced motherhood, and began making a series of educational home videos for Tensae and Jack. Shelby has always had a passion for children and helping them learn, holding a B.S. degree in both Elementary Education and Special Education from Vanderbilt University as well as a degree in Sign Language Interpreting, and was encouraged by how quickly her kids picked up on the ability to communicate and read.
Other parents began asking to use those videos for their own children too -- and the Bright Signs Learning idea was born.
She joined me on Olympic & Bundy to talk about her background as a tutor and actress, the adoption process and simultaneous struggle with infertility, eventually becoming a mother to multiple, beautiful children and developing an idea into a successful business.
Read more about the Bright Signs Learning program at brightsignslearning.com.
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