I began blogging about 2.5 years ago as a form of therapy and as an outlet. It was during in our 3rd pregnancy when we not only found out we were having another girl, but that she also had a serious form of congenital heart disease. Half of what we were told I had never even heard of and I could barely make sense of what was going on, let alone reiterate it to friends and family. I also found that life suddenly was heavy and the foreseeable future would be spent in hospital with major surgeries, followed by a life of uncertainty. It was awful, it was hard, it was nothing a pregnancy should be, and it was just all emotional.
It seemed to be a natural time to begin blogging as I needed a place to tell the details concisely to everyone without always having to repeat it, (and a place to let it all out). It was to be my space to share the highs and lows of life, and something to ensure I drew the positives from family life to maintain a sense of normality and balance – And so “The Hearty Life” was born.
It was less about image quality and more about just getting it all out. It created a channel of communication, but also as a way of focusing on our blessings despite the trial we were facing. It was a way to say how I felt when I couldn’t vocalise that to the people around me, and it was a way to release the ever building pains of our life! Sometimes it was the trigger for a day out instead of staying in, and sometimes it was just my journal.
As things progressed, and she was later diagnosed with a life limiting syndrome (Trisomy 18), and then later born sleeping, my world as I knew it began to collapse and was changed forever. My blog was now my life line.
I began to look for positives to write about…the beams between the clouds, but I mostly wrote about the pain of losing a baby at term; the darkness and loneliness of grief, and the struggles of never meeting her alive or getting to raise her with my other kids.
There were angry posts, desperate posts, raising awareness posts and down right sad posts.
Some posts offended people. Some posts helped and inspired people. And some posts seemed to be an invitation to people to tell me how I should I be handling my loss…
But as much as it upset me to have negativity and nasty comments, I didn’t care really because it was helping me to survive my loss. Writing it all down gave me a voice and a place to express it. It helped me, not only to show people what life after loss was and is like, but it helped me to try and make sense of what was going on in life. The loss of a baby cannot be fluffed up, and unfortunately that isn’t always easy for people to read. Grief has many elements aside from sadness, and that isn’t easy for people to read, but its not easy to live through it either, and unless you have experienced such a raw grief as that of burying your baby the week after their birth, I believe you have no authority to judge another’s journey or how they handle it. To not write it at fear of upsetting the people around me, and to not get that out would have certainly killed me.
My blog helped me through the worst experience of my life, and each passing week and month it helped to navigate me slowly through the foreign lands of baby loss. It helped me to function as it was a place to focus my depleting energies into something I enjoyed – writing and taking pictures! Grief stripped me of everything yet my blogging helped me cling onto my passions and beliefs… it helped me to stay afloat by sharing the moments of joy we were still able to enjoy as family despite the crippling pain we were carrying. In a strange way it all made me feel a little better and see my healing journey, and yet it confused me that people were sure I shouldn’t be writing it?! Surly the benefits far outweighed the clumsy or angry words of a grieving mother?
From therapy to hobby…to passion
Blogging now is less focus about awareness and more about sharing my life and our family as a whole. Writing our story is one of my favourite hobbies, and the longest journal I have ever kept! Working with brands and online work, most certainly is a fabulous job and I have realised over the last couple of years that I just love to write; be it about emotions or our family life, a product, place or our adventures. I truly love it.
My blog has given me a way to really identify what my passions in life are, and to gain joy from experiencing and sharing them with others. Yes whilst it still includes a chunk about baby loss, grief and parenting after loss, (because this is still a major thing in my life), it is also a place to share my life as a mother and individual, my personal loves of theatre, food, style, bargains and just all of the little joys along the way that make life great (“hearty”!). To remove any of those would remove its roots, my beginnings, my journey and my life now.
I enjoy my connections with other bloggers and I have developed great joy in photographing and capturing moments and the things in life that make me smile! I adore reviewing places and products and working on campaigns with brands. I love it all from my musings to my reviews, because the bottom line is that through writing I have found myself in the darkest chapter of my life. I have gone from having a blog for therapy and in 2.5 years become a passionate blogger and content creator very much aware and confident in what in life make me happy and creates “The Hearty Life” for us!
So everyday that an email drops into my inbox with an opportunity, or a fellow blogger or reader comments or tweets me, my soul does a little skip and happy dance because I am just so incredibly grateful for my blog and my life as a blogger. It is never something I saw myself doing, but it is something I now love and am very passionate about. I am especially grateful for my daughter Poppy, because having her meant that I chose to start it, and whilst her life is a tragedy in our history, this is her legacy…the way I keep her memory alive to the world. It is a good thing that has come from her brief life, to not only save me, help others and raise awareness of loss, but I see it as her gift to me and our family through the beautiful moments we can remember and the simply wonderful things we get to work on and experience together!
Blogging in 2017
As I stand at the start of the road that is 2017, I am hoping to stop faffing with my ever changing header and colour scheme, and rather channel my efforts into improving my photography (and hopefully invest in camera)! I need to be better with my time management so that I can read more books on an evening (another goal I have) and not feel stressed over something I love so much. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind a dabble in video and vlogging too (though I cringe at myself with this one).
I wish for a year of more adventures, more fabulous opportunities (and little ones too) in the areas I love, and more connections in the blogging community. I have several specific blog goals regarding my stats and social presence, and some personal one too about travel, reading, being more stylish (ha), but overall from 2017 I want to feel this continued joy and satisfaction from my life as a mother, and of course a writer and blogger. I want to relish in the fact that something wonderful for me and my family grew out of something so devastating, and I would hope that the people that love us, see what a huge blessing that is.
I dont think I will ever (at least for the foreseeable future) stop blogging, tweeting, and writing about my life, our adventures and our loss…it is my passion now, and it is my life. This is me! Blogging is something that makes me smile and brings me a lot of joy, it reminds me who I am and what I love in life, and it is very special as it is a legacy to my daughter. I like that for the first time in my life that the majority of my personal, and “work” goals all intertwine in the same thing and can be accomplished by that same medium – My blog!
I am, for the first new year since she left, excited to see what 2017 brings to us and creates for us.