“Am I a Mummy blogger?”
It is a question I have often asked myself during the past few months.
Yes, I am a mummy.
That fact is not in doubt, not for a moment. I am a proud mummy to my beautiful son, Hugo. I am also a sad mummy because Hugo died in my arms in March this year, aged 35 days.
But a mummy blogger? Or, to be more inclusive because there are many dad bloggers, a parent blogger?
Parent bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, and with every family configuration you can think of. You have families with mummy, daddy and one or more (living) children. Single-parent families. Same-sex parents. Divorced parents. Blended (step) families. Families with children who have special needs.
There is one thing all of these bloggers have in common to write about: ongoing experiences with their children.
My arms are aching and empty.
I had 24 weeks and four days of pregnancy. I had 35 short but precious days with my super champion boy. Those 35 days were spent in a neonatal intensive care unit – an unusual environment to be a parent, and with its own set of challenges.
Other parent bloggers’ accounts of ‘normal’ parenting situations: the third trimester of pregnancy, breastfeeding, nappies, weaning, crawling, talking, playtime, activities – and most recently, starting school – break my heart. They underline my loss, everything that Hugo will not do, and everything that I will not do with Hugo.
Being a parenting blogger often feels to me like torture and self-flagellation.
Of course, parenting bloggers are not defined by being parents. They write about all kinds of things such as current affairs, relationships, jobs and careers, style, travel, and food. There are many talented bloggers whose posts I love reading. Posts where I learn something new, or that offer an interesting viewpoint. Those posts, for me, make parenting blogging worth sticking around for.
That said, as an empty-armed mother there are many parenting blogger posts I feel excluded from. That is for several reasons: not only because they underline my loss, but because I am unable to contribute. We do not have shared experiences.
That’s not to mention the times where I see a gripe or a moan from a parent about something that I would love to gripe or moan about. I shout at my computer words to the effect of: “Blimey, that’s the worst you have to moan about? Count yourself lucky!” I try to move on from these – every parent has a right to let off steam about the challenges of parenting (within reason!) – and I feel glad that these parents do not know my pain. I would not wish it on anyone.
I do my best to avoid reading these kinds of posts. It’s impossible to avoid seeing them completely, because of social media. I could remove myself, but that would only cause myself an even greater sense of isolation than I already feel as a bereaved mother.
Blogging has helped me feel a little less isolated. It has connected me with so many people I would not have had an opportunity to connect with otherwise, especially other bereaved mothers, and mothers who have also experienced preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and/or a traumatic birth. People who ‘get it’.
So many parent bloggers have offered me kind support, through post comments and on social media. Removing myself from that support would be counter-productive to my recovery.
I have moved on from the upset caused by a comment from a fellow blogger that the subject of my blog is a ‘conversation stopper.’ My blog is a conversation starter. I shout loudly about my beautiful Hugo, how much I miss him, how much it hurts, and other issues that are important to me. Through my blog, I give others an insight in to a world I hope they will never have to experience first-hand.
That does not prevent me being hurt on occasion – for example, there is a regular linky I take part in where bloggers are supposed to make a comment on the two blogs who have linked up before them. More often than not, no one on that linky (other than the host) bothers to comment on my blog. Possibly that is because the bloggers don’t read the rules properly, or possibly they just link and run. Possibly I am being over-sensitive, but I often wonder whether the two bloggers after me shrink from the challenging and heart-wrenching nature of most of the posts I write. That thought makes me feel excluded. Feeling excluded is never a pleasant feeling.
Baby loss, despite the wealth of support I have received, is still a huge taboo. There are some who think that by avoiding it, it does not happen. Those who still believe it is a ‘conversation stopper’.
My blog is my platform for Hugo, and a voice for every parent who has suffered loss. By using my voice to talk about difficult subjects, I want to help raise awareness and stamp out those taboos.
A bereaved parent is still a parent. I am offering a view of a different side of parenting. Like any parent, I love my son with all my heart. I am celebrating special memories, and nurturing his legacy.
I am a mummy blogger.