Every so often Squidge and I take the train to visit the Northern One at the hospital where he works. We walk to the train station, me walking and pushing Squidge on his tricycle, a ride on the train and quick ride on the bus and we’re there.
For these trips I always buy a return ticket. It’s only ten pence more expensive than a one way ticket and I always leave the second ticket tucked into the ticket machine at the train station just in case anyone is in need of it.
It’s such a small thing that costs me next to nothing but I like to think that one day somebody will really benefit from it.
I’ve always tried to pay it forward in small ways; giving someone my car parking ticket when it has half an hour left on it, handing in money if I find it the street or in shops, paying someone’s bus fare when they haven’t realised that the drivers will only take exact change.
I know what it’s like to be caught out and sometimes people have been willing to help me out, sometimes not.
In some ways I see blogging as my long term method of ‘paying it forward.’
I try to write about lots of different aspects of my life; my work as a neonatal nurse, my ongoing battle with depression, my experience of antenatal depression, adapting to life as a mum and becoming part of a family of three.
A lot of the time I find myself writing about experiences of my life that have been very difficult and painful to recall, so fresh and bitter are the memories.
I’ve written about looking after a baby boy on the day that he died.
How I tried to leave Squidge at the hospital when he was two days old.
The day I deliberately harmed myself for the first time.
The day I truly considered ending my own life.
But in for every sad and difficult and sometimes heartbreaking experience I’ve been able to write about a positive one.
I’ve been nominated for awards by other brilliant and inspiring bloggers and it is truly a wonderful thing for people you admire to tell you that they admire you as well.
I’ve even been able to write the occasional funny post and the odd bit of poetry.
I also use blogging as a way to share information with others who are going through issues similar to mine but who aren’t lucky enough to have help and support from the amazing people that I did.
I’ve written a guide to making a birth plan and preparing for a newborn when you’re struggling with mental health issues.
I’ve talked about the decisions the Northern One and I had to think about when Squidge tried to arrive fourteen weeks early.
I’ve written about the difficulties I had trying to breastfeed Squidge and how it was ok to make the decision to formula feed.
I can’t believe how may positives have come from me writing about my job, my mental health and all of the parts of me that I don’t like very much. Instead of hiding away and trying my hardest to pretend to others that my past and present mental health issues don’t exist I display them, not proudly exactly but plainly written down in black and white for the world to see.
I expected that my writing would not always be received positively and indeed I’ve had people contact me to tell me that I am a shameful, despicable person who has no business sharing that things that I do.
But I carry on writing because I know they’re in the minority and I have the wonderful things that people have taken the time out of their daily lives to tell me; people who I have never met and yet who I sometimes feel I have known for years.
I don’t know why people read what I’ve written in my darkest moments and then keep coming back again and again.
And yet, I think I do.
I have spent far too much of my life thinking that I was the only one to feel as I do.
I spent far too much of my pregnancy feeling like a monster because I wasn’t sure if I could love my baby.
Blogging has shown that these things are just not true, not only to me but for anyone else who has spent fruitless hours searching the vast reaches of the internet to find someone, just one other person, to show them that they’re not alone.
I’m incredibly excited and honored to have been short-listed for the ‘Fresh Voice’ category as part of the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging (BIB) awards. I feel very privileged to have been shortlisted alongside nine other blogs that I admire immensely and I wish them all the very best as we all hope to be part of the final five and potentially the overall winner.
It would be untruthful of me if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to (possibly) being able to attend the awards ceremony and hear my name read out as part of the final five. I’m not entirely sure what I’d do if I won although I’m sure it would involve lots of screaming and hugging and probably a fair few tears.
However, the outcome that I really want is for 23weeksocks to become more popular and widely read than ever before so that my writing can reach those who need to know that they’re not alone or who want to try and help someone they care about but don’t know how.
I never found what I needed during my pregnancy, although it wasn’t for lack of hoping and searching. Instead I had to create my own safe haven with the support of the Northern One, a team of healthcare professionals and a few very supportive friends.
It may sound rather presumptuous and self-important to ask you to vote for me but even having been shortlisted has doubled the number of visitors to this blog and is helping me to reach more readers than ever before.
So, if you feel that 23weeksocks is the blog most deserving of the title of BritMums ‘Fresh Voice’ at the BIB awards 2015 then please use the link below to vote.
Much Love (and best wishes to everyone shortlisted)