She’s a triathlete, nurse, advocate and ambassador for this month’s Kentucky Derby Festival marathon. She lives life at full speed, but her focus is always on family.
With an energetic outlook, Heidi Seuling blends all the aspects of motherhood with creativity and ingenuity. Between her full-time career as a nurse aesthetician, her husband and three kids including twin boys with Down syndrome, it’s hard to imagine fitting anything else into the carefully balanced equation of her very full schedule. Yet, Heidi does just that. An accomplished triathlete, community volunteer, and a marathon ambassador for the Kentucky Derby festival, Heidi embraces each facet of her life with enthusiasm and deep commitment. We caught up with her in hopes of gaining some perspective on balancing life on life’s terms.
What has having two boys with Down syndrome taught you?
Down syndrome was never part of our life plan. We were unaware our boys had trisomy 21 until they were a day old. We were stunned and confused. It was a very tough first few months, but the best way to describe the life we’ve come to know is to imagine you have a once-in-a-lifetime trip planned to Italy (or a dream destination you have), and you’re so excited and do all the research on your upcoming trip. You have so much planned, things you want to see and do on this trip. The time has come and you are on the plane…. when you hear you’re landing somewhere else. Holland. You’ve landed in Holland…. what are you supposed to do now?
You don’t know and it takes a while to figure it out, but it’s beautiful. It’s just not what you expected. We have learned to be very patient, humble, to stay grounded, and to be open-minded. We have learned a new world of what it is to be part of a family with kids that have special needs. Learning the world around us is unaware, lacks knowledge, and how to share the information we’ve learned. There are so many resources available to these kiddos to ensure their success in the community. We are so very thankful for Down Syndrome of Louisville and its connection to the entire Southern Indiana region as well. It’s truly amazing.
You are an accomplished athlete. How have you incorporated that with your kids? Do they enjoy being active as well?
I have been very physically active my entire life. After having the kids, I decided to take up running again, in order to get back into shape. My husband, Matthew, runs as well. We both have maintained a very active lifestyle in order to stay fit and set a good example for the kids. From 3 years of age, our boys, Nick and Max, have been riding horses. They absolutely love it along with swimming, cross country, and a multitude of other activities. They enjoy supporting their big sister, Olivia, as well. She also swims and plays soccer.
What does being a KDF Marathon ambassador entail?
I was looking at registering for the race as its one of my favorites. I saw a link to apply to be an ambassador and after researching the process, I felt as though I was a decent candidate. I was in fact selected, and am now part of an incredible team of ambassadors who promote the race and encourage those in the community to commit to a healthy lifestyle. For me personally, it’s about enjoying life, being healthy, making new friends, setting an example for the youth in our community, and achieving goals. (For information or to register for the Kentucky Derby Festival marathon, go to derbyfestivalmarathon.com.)
How do you balance all that you do and still be a present Mom?
Sometimes it’s hard. We are a very busy family. Matthew and I both work full time. He is an accountant and I am a nurse anesthetist. We work together extremely well as a team. He is such a team player and easy going. I owe being able to balance my life to him. We have many date nights!