“You’re so inspiring.”
Yet, inspiring is not a word I would apply to myself. I didn’t enter the world of blogging with the intention to inspire. Instead, I became a blogger for selfish reasons.
Am I Inspiring?
I started blogging back in 2012. I’d been signed off work for three and a half months as I’d had a relapse in my depression and anxiety. I was put on new medication and I began to go to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
During my therapy sessions, we began to discuss my negative thinking. And the fact that when depressed my thoughts would spiral negatively. I would lose the ability to see that there was anything good in my life. We decided that I needed to find a way of reminding myself of the little things that made me smile.
I had a friend who had recently started a blog. And she’d been trying to talk me into starting one too. But I didn’t have the courage and I’d no idea what to write about.
Then I had this conversation with my therapist and all of the pieces began to fall into place. So I decided to start a blog about the little things in life that bring my happiness. It was intended to be a resource that I could come back to when life was bleak. A reminder that even on the darkest days life could be good.
Mrs H’s Favourite Things Was Born
Mr H and I spent one whole evening coming up with ideas for a blog name. We wanted a Ronseal name that did what it said on the tin. But we also didn’t want it to be too prosaic.
We contemplated Mrs H’s secret loves but decided that I might end up with a very different kind of reader from the one that was intended. Eventually, Mrs H’s favourite things was born.
Those first few blog posts are absolutely awful. I didn’t know what I was doing. The only people who read my blog were my husband and my Mum.
Then a few months after I started the blog, we had our first miscarriage and my world fell apart. However, it wasn’t long before I was pregnant again and the gorgeous Little Miss H arrived in May 2013.
My blog was neglected when Little Miss H was a newborn. I couldn’t think about writing and it had only ever been a hobby anyway. But when Little Miss H was about 6 months old I started to write the odd post that documented our new life.
Becoming A Mummy Blogger
I then stumbled, unintentionally, into the world of mummy bloggers. And my blog, and in many ways my life, changed.
In early 2013, I completed a survey run by Mumsnet about the care I had received when I had miscarried. At the end of the survey, it asked if I was a blogger. I chuckled to myself and ticked the box that said yes. I promptly forget I’d done this. And was a little shocked when Mumsnet emailed me in 2014. They mentioned that they were launching a Miscarriage Care Campaign and that they were looking for bloggers to support the campaign and share their miscarriage experience.
So in June 2014, I published my first serious post and I shared the story of our first miscarriage. It suddenly catapulted me into the world of mummy bloggers. And for the first time, my mum and my husband were not the only people to read a post that I’d written.
However, while writing that post something had changed inside me. Typing the words that described our experience of miscarriage had been cathartic. I often struggled to think about what we’d been through. However, sharing our story for the first time was hugely therapeutic.
Does Anyone Want To Read Serious Posts?
I began to wonder if I needed to take my blog in a different direction. There was so much of my life that I hadn’t shared on the blog. And I started to think that posting about my mental ill-health might help other mum’s feel less alone. I also believed that if I could help one mum know that it was okay not to feel okay then my blog was a success.
Yet, every blog I read seemed to be about finding the perfect shade of coral lipstick or upcycling furniture. I couldn’t find any blogs that talked about mental health or baby loss. I began to doubt myself. Obviously, people didn’t want to read about other people’s problems when they had their own problems to deal with.
During all this time, I was reading a lot of blogs. Blog reading was the perfect way of distracting myself when I was up feeding Little Miss H. One of my favourite blogs was Write Like No One’s Watching. Charlotte’s blog was different from many of the other blogs I read. Her posts were beautifully written and her personality shone through. She also started to write about her separation from her husband. My first thought was that she was very brave to be sharing something so personal. Yet Charlotte’s honesty also made me realise that I could share the hard times in my life on my blog. It wouldn’t turn people away. Instead, my readers would feel that they knew me better and would trust me more.
Sadly, in August 2014, the comic genius Robin Williams committed suicide. It was tragic. And it was made worse by the reaction on social media. People seemed to forget that this man had obviously been very ill and in a huge amount of distress. I knew this from personal experience. And so that night, I made the decision to open up on my blog. To be the real me. And to write about my depression and my suicide attempts.
I felt terrified when I pressed publish on the post Robins Williams, Depression And Me. I was worried about how people would react to the post. Yet, I needn’t have been scared. The post was successful and everyone was hugely supportive.
After that, I knew that I had to be completely honest on my blog. I could no longer pretend to be a happy and carefree person. I needed to write about things that really mattered to me. And it wasn’t long before I was writing posts about self-harm, living with depression and baby loss.
The blog became my life-line when we were going through all the miscarriages. There were times when the grief was overwhelming and the words bubbled inside me. The words urged me to write them down in a blog post. And I didn’t have a choice.
Sharing Our Baby Loss Journey
I wrote the post I Was Hoping a week after our fourth miscarriage. It was my reaction to all the dreams that had shattered when we lost the baby.
And I wrote the post Miscarriage: Where Do I Go From Here? at a time of great uncertainty in our lives. We’d been told that the miscarriages were unexplained. And we had no idea whether I would continue to miscarry or if the next pregnancy would be fine. I was heartbroken. I’d secretly wanted something to be wrong. I had hoped that I could take a tablet and have a healthy pregnancy. Yet, this was not the case.
I couldn’t sleep. And I sat downstairs sobbing. Clutching my stomach as though I was in physical pain. Holding the part of my body that seemed to fail me. I needed to calm myself down and so I wrote a blog post. It was a raw post. Filled with my emotions. But I didn’t care. I wrote those words for me. And for our uncertain future.
As you can see, I’ve always written this blog for me. There are times when I hate this blog and then there are other times when I love blogging. But Mrs H’s favourite things is always here when I need it. And by sharing my life and experiences I am able to get some closure and close the door on my past. Of course, there are experiences that will never leave me. But I know that I am a stronger person because of them. I am the woman I am today because of each time I’ve self-harmed, each relapse, each lost baby, each overdose and every moment in between.
On Friday, I received an email telling me that I was a finalist in the Inspire category of the Brilliance in Blogging Awards or #BiBs2018. It shocked me. And I had to read the email a number of times to make sure that it wasn’t a joke or a mistake.
Once I had realised, that it wasn’t either a joke or a mistake I felt truly honoured and humbled. I’m a finalist with many bloggers that I love, admire and find truly inspiring. And no matter who wins, I will feel forever grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to stand side by side these amazing bloggers.
Yet, since Friday I’ve also been asking myself am I inspiring?. People tell me that my blog is inspiring and or that a post has touched them. I also receive lovely emails telling me how a certain post that I’ve written has helped them through a hard time. But I still don’t feel inspiring. Truthful and honest – yes. Inspiring – no!
Am I Inspiring?
I don’t set out to inspire. I write for me and I write for one other person. She and I have been through a lot of similar experiences. So every word that I write is for her. And for myself. Because my blog is still my therapy. It’s still a cathartic release and there are still times when the words bubble up inside me and burst out onto the screen fully formed and with a life of their own.
Perhaps this does make me inspiring. But in my mind, it just makes me, me.
PS. If you would like to vote for Mrs H’s favourite things in the Inspire category of BiBs2018 then you can vote for me here. Thank you so much.