My personal blogging story began 10 years ago. I am going to reflect back on how it changed for me over the years and to share my lessons in the hope they might inspire some new bloggers because we need to hear women’s voices loud and clear.

Blogging Story

The blogs that never got a single comment

When I first started blogging, I was in a mess. I did not know what I was doing. I just knew I was miserable, had no idea how to juggle 3 children with anything approaching aplomb and I hated having somehow ended up being a nobody. So I would start a blog, rant about household and parenting disasters and then give up a few days or weeks later.

The anonymous blog

I blogged anonymously for a few years with a blog called Giggling at it all. My mother could see I was suffering from post-natal depression. One morning when she was celebrating Christmas at our house, fuelled by whisky, she told me in a way that she should be obeyed, that I should start writing. She did not say it was for therapy but I think that is what was behind her advice. She knew I had always wanted to write and I think she felt it would give me a sense of identity. Within a few weeks, she announced that she was terminally ill with cancer. Now let me tell you when you covet statistics, let it be known  that these are often got through blogging openly and honestly about horrendous times and loss. Be careful what you wish for is my advice when it comes to statistics! Ditto awards for being inspirational – the come with a price tag!

I had no ideas about the bells and whistles of the tech side of blogging and did not know that blogging networks existed. If you are at this point in your blogging journey, know that it is OK to not know anything and that this will be looked back on as one of your most joyous times of blogging. Once you know about stats, review opportunities and monetisation, you can never blog quite as freely again, My blog at this time did not even have photographs on it as I am very much the wordsmith.

The lovely thing was that people started to want to know who was behind the blog so I felt I had to come out. I posted a photo of myself thinking everyone would comment on my ugliness but our greatest fears rarely happen.

Kate on thin ice

Kate on thin ice was born in 2011 when I was having issues with Blogger that I could not be bothered to work out and ever one was raving about WordPress so I made the switch.  By  now I knew about blogging networks, linkies and awards. I set up my own linky going by the name of Groovy Mums. People came to this as if by magic and it touched a real nerve with people who were a little lost perhaps due to confidence issues, depression, relationship breakdown or just the stuff that shows up when we become mums. I loved hosting Groovy Mums and have always felt I gained more from it than the beautiful women taking  part. I learned that women are not always as they seem and may not be revealing the very real personal torments they are going through. I learned to take risks and we got Groovy Mums trending on Twitter when I hosted a Twitter party. Of course I was clueless or I would have collaborated with a brand and made some money out of all this. However, I made what money can never buy in terms of heartfelt friends that are with me to this day.

Blogging events

Blogging events were totally outside my comfort zone as it meant meeting people in real life. Offline I am shy and introverted often found in the loo or trying to disappear into a wall. I actually volunteered to speak at BritMums Live as I knew that was the only way I would not bottle it completely as I had done the year before. As for the speaking, well I was never invited to do it again so I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. I have now attended a handful of blogging conferences and facilitated at BritMums Live usually to be found working out if my underwear will stay up and keep everything in place.

My blogging story was emotional

It was not planned but my blog covered emotions right from the start partly because I was so immobilised by post-natal depression and partly through the sense of loss before and after my mum’s passing. I found out people seemed to find it helpful when I told the truth warts and all so I shared my memories of childhood, my adoption, my martial issues, my parenting troubles and my grief when my Dad passed away.

America

I had always joked with my husband about the fact that some bloggers had gone on VIP trips to Orlando. I knew I did not have the profile for that type of thing so it was easy just to use it as an example to where blogging might take you as my husband saw my blogging just as a hobby. Never ever write yourself or your blog off! In 2013 just when my son was really struggling to come to terms with my Dad’s death and was having troubles in school, we were invited on a press trip to Orlando. I said yes because my friend Polly told me I would not have hesitated to go when I was 21 and because my Dad would have said “Go because they would not have invited you if they did not want you there!” which was always his advice when I was invited to parties and trying to convince myself that everybody hated me. I was out of my depth with proper journalists and bloggers when we got to Florida with my cheap camera and lack of notebook. I will be forever grateful to Jen, Kirstie, Sally and Kelly who were so lovely with us. That is another lesson – if you tell other bloggers how you feel they will do everything they can to help with a couple of exceptions and we don’t talk about them because they have their own issues going on.

Reviews

It was years before someone offered me a review and I did not know they existed so did not ask for any. Our first review was a toy hamster that chatted away. There must be some deep meaning in that! Lovely things followed and I particularly remember a Christmas hamper from Marco Pierre White partly because we were skint at the time and it made our Christmas special.

Working for BritMums

It was probably in 2012 when I started working on the charity round-up for BritMums that my profile went up but along with that came the idea that I had more confidence that I did. I moved on to being social media manager before the amazing Aby took over to show how it is really done. I  have said it a few times but Susanna and Jen at BritMums changed my life in such a positive way even if they still don’t quite understand my Yorkshire accent.

What next in my blogging story?

I have found my niche which was staring me in the face all the time. I asked what I was all about and my husband said “supporting women obviously.” It was a light bulb moment and my focus from now on as the blog covers self-care, parenting and the troublesome challenges like debt, housing, employment and family stuff that can hit any of us at any time. I will be offering free advice on the stuff women struggle with so if you have a problem/issue you would like me to tackle let me know via my “Contact Me” page. You can also subscribe to my blog to access freebies of the useful variety throughout the year.

I believe in myself more than I ever did and will proactively seek out exciting opportunities. I always was far braver than I made out. I just needed to feel it for myself and the reasons for my insecurity are pretty clear seeing as I spent the first year of my life in a convent waiting for adoptive parents to show up. When they did they were superb and my blogging will always be my mum’s legacy and what a lovely one it is too.

Watch this space – the next 10 years are going to change the world or at least one mum’s life that needs a little support.

Happy Anniversary Kate on thin ice – you did not slip as many times during your blogging story as you thought you would and you are a writer just like you always wanted.

Blogging Story 10 Years In

If you would like to share your personal blogging story please leave a comment or you could feature your story on my blog and let others now what blogging means to you.

 

 

 

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The Pramshed

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clairejustine

Mummy Times Two

 

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JakiJellz
Cuddle Fairy

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

A Blogging Good Time

Tummy trouble? How is your gut health?

The health of our gut affects almost every aspect of our mind and body; from our mood and immune system, to digestive health and comfort – so everyone can benefit from eating the right foods to keep it happy.

Gut  Health

 

To help you give your gut the care and attention it deserves, ‘gut guru,’ nutritionist and cook Dr Joan Ransley has selected a range of gut healthy foods for the Love Your Gut campaign.

Dr Joan Ransley’s food picks are full of gut loving fibre and micronutrients and low in components that might upset the gut such as fat and poorly absorbed simple and complex sugars.

Enjoy the foods knowing you are giving your gut the love it deserves!

Fruits

Bananas (not too ripe), blueberries, melon, oranges, pineapples and strawberries are all great gut-friendly options within the fruit category.

 Vegetables

Carrots, broccoli, spinach and kale are amongst the vegetables which provide a great source of dietary fibre, as well as a mix of micronutrients and polyphenols which are good for the bacteria in the gut.

 Herbs and Spices

Gut-friendly spice options include cinnamon, coriander, cumin seeds, ginger and turmeric. Herbs include chives, parsley, fresh coriander, tarragon and dill.

Oily Fish for gut health

Oily fish such as salmon is a great option for the gut as they contain omega-3s which can help to combat gut inflammation.

Oats

The outer layer of the oat kernel is high in a soluble fibre called beta-glucan which retains fluid and gently stimulates a stubborn bowel.

 

So how is your gut health and are you committed to trying some of the kitchen must haves that improve tummy health?

Gut Health  And How To Improve It

Getting over post-natal depression is possible and I really want women to know that as I know how truly awful the condition can be. I am writing this post to talk about some of the signs of post-natal depression that families, friends and colleagues can look for, I will also highlight some of the tools that can help a mum going through post-natal depression. I am hoping that mums who are starting to recover but might not feel that will be given hope by this post as highlight some of the signs mums are on the mend.

Getting Over Post-Natal Depression

Signs of post-natal depression

Poor personal hygience
Finding it hard to throw the duvet back in the morning
Never getting thrilled about anything
Seeking out darkness
Being scared of other people

Things that help women in getting over post-natal depression

Online support via social networks and mum groups like Net Mums and Mumsnet
Baby steps and not expecting too much of yourself
Writing or blogging it out can be helpful

Talking therapies

Getting Over Post-Natal Depression

Medication

What happens when you start to recover from post-natal depression?

Even in tiny ways you will start to feel like a somebody rather than a nobody. It is so easy to lose sight of yourself as a mum.
Tackling health issues such as needing to lose weight or gain weight
Investing in treats for yourself
Looking after yourself
Not accepting everything people dump on you
Noticing light and that there really is one at the end of the tunnel
You realize your story can help others
You stop always putting other people first
You start to say yes to positive experiences rather than hiding from them
You know you can make a fresh start
Expressing your thoughts and feelings and saying what you need
Recognizing your own talents, skills qualities and achievements
You realize you are not alone
You stop self-medicating with booze or other negative influences

Is it worth seeking help for post-natal depression?

There is lots of help out there both medication and talking therapies – neither define you as bad or mad although your poor friend depression might try to convince you of that until you get better
You will enjoy parenting in a much fuller way when you start to recover.
You will also be a better parent to your children although you are a good enough mum right now
You can make up for the dark days by making new and positive memories for you and yours

What needs to change?

Better recognition of the signs of post-natal depression
More resources for mental health services
More recognition and support for mums in the workplace

I know about getting over post-natal depression because I have done it but it was a long battle and I want to speed the recovery period up for other mums if I am able to do so.

 

 



Run Jump Scrap
Post Comment Love
Twin Mummy and Daddy

Lucy At Home

Wendy’s son has Down Syndrome and she kindly agreed to share her celebration of her life with him.

What is a human being?

NOUN

· A man, woman, or child of the species “Homo sapiens” , distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.

Son Has Down Syndrome

Personally, I believe there are many more qualities than this that make up the complex definition of a human being. Empathy, emotion, self-awareness to name but a few. What the above definition does not explain is exactly what is superior mental development? What is articulate speech? If you cannot stand upright are you less than human? Who, or what are we comparing ourselves to and who decides what makes us superior?

So many questions, and why do I ask?

My son has Down Syndrome

My son is three years old, comparative to his peers, he does not have superior mental development or articulate speech, but he is human and he has Down Syndrome. So is he less worthy of life? Current UK law classifies Down Syndrome as a severe disability and therefore allows termination up to 40 weeks. The termination rate following a positive diagnosis of Down syndrome is around 92%, in some countries it is 100%.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of NHS money is spent improving prenatal testing in order to detect genetic ‘abnormalities’. I understand that they can also detect other syndromes such as Edward’s and Patua Syndrome, which are life limiting conditions and to know of any pre-existing condition can be the difference between life and death.

The problem I have is when archaic information is given at the time of diagnosis from medical professionals and the media generally have a negative view on Down Syndrome. If you are given nothing but a gloomy account of what a child with DS will bring you, how can you make an informed choice?

You may think that I exaggerate but some midwives are actually taught to tell parents ‘it’s bad news’. Some women have been booked in for terminations despite stating categorically that their baby is very much wanted.

So let me tell you a little bit about my son, and then you can decide if he is less worthy of life, and a burden on society who brings me nothing but hardship and misery.

Celebrating a little boy’s life

I’m usually woken at around 6 am with some chirruping sounds coming through the monitor, as I slowly awaken this turns to happy chatter (he’s a mini Alan Carr), and he happily plays in his room until I’m finished showering and dressing at around 7 am. When I go through, he has pulled all his cuddly toys and some books into his bed and he is enthusiastically hugging them and pretending to read to them. I am greeted by an indescribable smile of pure joy, I undo his sleeping bag and hold my arms out. He toddles over to me and flings his tiny arms around my neck, holding on for twenty, maybe thirty seconds of bliss. He hands me a book and we sit on the floor while I read (and sign) the story.

We have breakfast, he scoops yoghurt into his mouth (and everywhere else) while he watches Peppa Pig. Squealing in delight and running around the room when the excitement gets too much. He signals to me that he wants the milk from my cereal, it’s teamwork, he finishes what I would normally waste. At some point whilst I’m getting ready he will jump on my knee, covering me in yoghurt, stroking my hair and bouncing up and down.

My Son  Has Downs Syndrome

When we go out we go swimming, horse riding or perhaps to a wildlife sanctuary where he can interact with the animals. He wants to hug everything, from ducks to donkeys to bunnies to birds of prey. As you can imagine some creatures are not so taken with the cuddles, some relinquish willingly.

My son is amazing, he has a zest for life that I have never seen in any other human, he has a determination that I could only dream of, he is happy, he is healthy and he is loved beyond words. These are the bits that the medical world don’t see, that the media don’t want to see.

Yes, he can be a pain in the bum and sometimes a total nightmare, can’t any child? We have our challenges, I’m a single parent so that is to be expected. But the joy that this tiny person brings to my life, and all those around him, surpasses any negatives or challenges that we may encounter. He is my teacher, my inspiration and my guiding star. He is a human being.

He is more worthy of life than so many, but there is no prenatal test to detect who will be a murderer or paedophile, but sadly there is a prenatal test for an extra chromosome.

So please, don’t feel sorry for me or give me pity, Be jealous, because I get to see life through the eyes of a child with Down Syndrome, I get to see life through the eyes of Elijah with wondrous excitement and awe.

Elijah, you are my world, and without you in it, I would cease to exist.

https://www.facebook.com/thisiselijahUK/

https://twitter.com/ThisisElijahUK

https://thisiselijah.com/

Thanks so much Wendy for sharing your story with  us and for showing that yes your son has Down Syndrome but is very much an individual in his own right.

 

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