Today I have been writing this blog for exactly four months.
I started it as a project to try and occupy my mind and feel like I was doing something worthwhile with my time that I could easily fit around Squidge.
Although my career as a nurse is rooted firmly in science I’ve always secretly wanted to to write something that might one day be published.
A few years ago I’d briefly considered starting a blog or maybe a short book about being a neonatal nurse but I just never managed to start it. The Northern One suggested that I maybe blogging was something I could do when I was pregnant to try and help me deal with everything that was happening but I didn’t feel able to start writing until Squidge was about six months old.
But even though it took me a while to start writing I knew exactly what I’d call my blog/book/whatever it was I actually got round to writing.
I don’t know why this particular name stuck in my head but it originated from a the tiniest pair of knitted socks that I found when I was tidying the linen cupboard at work. We get so many beautiful knitted donations of blankets, hats and socks but I’d never seen a pair so small.
The extreme preemie babies don’t wear clothes because their skin is so delicate but if they did wear socks, then the pair that I found would be exactly the right size.
I began by writing short posts while he napped and then as I became more confident and realised that people were actually reading what I wrote I spent most of my spare time writing.
I started by writing about my work as a neonatal nurse but then I began to share other parts of my life; writing about my struggle with antenatal depression, adjusting to an unplanned pregnancy and becoming a mum, returning to work and how Squidge has changed my life.
I’ve always tried to write honestly without masking any of my emotions or omitting any of my thoughts or feelings, no matter how shocking or shameful I though they were. This partly stemmed from my long standing belief that I can’t ask for help or help anyone else if I’m not truthful and hide things because I think people might think worse of me.
However, the main impetus was the fact that when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant and struggling with depression I spent hours trawling the internet trying to find someone, anyone who had been through what I was going through and came out of the other side.
I found nothing.
The closest I came to finding what I needed was women who had become depressed after their baby was born or who had very much wanted to become pregnant and unexpectedly found themselves finding things difficult. They were just as ill and finding life just as much of a struggle as me but I just didn’t feel as though I could relate to them.
The more I searched the more I was convinced that I was a monster.
So when I found myself feeling much more stable than I had done in months, even before I found out I was pregnant I decided to start writing about my experience of pregnancy as well as my work life.
I truly didn’t think anyone would really read it but I hoped that if anyone else was trawling the internet, desperately looking for someone to feel help them feel like they were less alone then maybe they would find this blog.
I definitely didn’t anticipate how much of a positive effect writing and blogging would have upon my mental health and self-confidence.
I also had no idea I would meet so many wonderful and inspirational people who write blogs that I just can’t stop reading.
I think the blog really took off when I wrote ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ https://23weeksocks.com/2015/01/03/twinkle-twinkle/, a post about my experience of looking after a baby on the day that they died.
It was one of the hardest days of my career so far and writing about it helped me to process what had happened and whether I was the best nurse that I could be that day.
I also wanted to try and help break the taboo surrounding the loss of a baby; that all parents had the right to talk openly about all of their children and that they shouldn’t have to keep silent just because their baby had died.
What I didn’t expect was the number of people that particular post resonated with; people from all around the world who contacted me through the blog and twitter to tell me about their heartbreaking experiences of losing a child or just to thank me for writing.
‘Twinkle Twinkle’ was viewed over 1200 times.
So, to anyone reading this what I’d really like to ask if for you to nominate me for the BIB (Brilliance in Blogging) awards, which are hosted by BritMums. Of the twelve categories this blog is probably most suitable for nominations in the newbie or writer category.
Four months ago I had very little idea about how to start a blog. I’d never heard of BritMums or the BIB awards and I definitely wouldn’t have thought that anyone would ever read what I’d written, never mind telling me that writing had made them laugh, cry and feel like they were actually there with me as my colleagues tried to save a dying child.
I would be fibbing if I said that I wouldn’t be proud to be nominated even once and being short-listed would be amazing.
Regardless of whether I’m nominated or not I’ll still have a fab time at the awards ceremony clapping and cheering for all the other nominees and winners. It’ll be a brilliant evening meeting amazing people, getting to wear a pretty dress, drinking wine and staying out after dark for about the third time since Squidge was born (he’s now a year old).
You can nominate me (or any other parenting blog and there are some amazing ones) by going to http://www.britmums.com/awards/ and using the link at the bottom of the page. Voting is open now and closes on 12.04.2015.
Thank you so much for supporting this blog for the past four months, I plan to continue writing for as long as I can and I hope you’ll all continue reading.
Much love to you all