A lot has happened in the last six months. Boo turned one (actual and then, 11 weeks later, corrected). We somehow got through the one-year anniversary of the day he nearly died. Then the massive steroid dose he’d been on to rid him of his infantile spasms finally (after months) left his system. I went back to work (eek!); he started nursery. He got glasses. He got huge. Sissyboo left reception and started year 1 and learned to ride a bike. Boo got Piedro Boots, a standing frame and a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
And I started a blog where I wrote about all of this and a whole lot more.
Looking back on my first post, I can read the fear and pain behind the words. I wrote that post the night of Boo’s first birthday. It was a day I had planned for ages and it had many lovely moments. But it was also one of the hardest days of my life. We had come so far, but we had ended up somewhere we never expected to be. The Grumposaur spent most of the day (and most of the family party we’d dragged relatives to from various parts of the country) out on phantom work errands. He just couldn’t face it. And then we got an ant infestation in our kitchen and they ate half of the lion birthday cake I’d made Boo. I cried for an hour solid.
I felt lonelier than I have ever done in my life. I knew I had to return to work in a few weeks. I was battling severe depression and acute anxiety and the 8 week course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I’d been on had only just scratched the surface of things before it stopped.
So I started a blog. As I said at the time. I wanted to connect with people. I wanted to feel less lonely. And I wanted a voice: a space in which I could be me, because I didn’t feel that I could really talk to anyone about our new normal in the way I wanted to.
I also hoped I might be able to help others. I’d come to rely on so many other blogs (they’re listed in that original post with some other firm favourites listed on my blog roll) since Boo’s birth. They gave me answers and they gave me hope. Maybe I could provide that for others, I thought. The lovely emails I get from time to time, the comments that people leave, and the number of people who find my blog by googling infantile spasms – my heart gets heavier every time I see that in the blog statistics – makes me think maybe I have on a small scale.
This is a little and niche blog and I am not a very good blogger. I know a little about SEO but I forget about it the minute I start to type. I still haven’t worked out what Klout and Kred are, and I am a no web designer. I look longingly and admiringly at the beautiful sites of many of my favourite bloggers.
I made the decision to blog anonymously (and have explained some of the many reasons why here). I also decided to blog secretly. A couple of people now know I write this, but none of my family, including The Grumposaur, nor even my best pal knows I blog (although if she ever found this site it would take her a millisecond to realise it’s by me). I blog on my phone, in the bathroom while brushing my teeth, while drying my hair, riding in the back of the car, under the duvet at midnight after working late into the night to make up for time spent at Boo’s appointments, sometimes in 1-2 minute chunks. I try to have a blogging schedule. Life often gets in the way. In other words, I am still the novice blogger I was 6 months ago.
But it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that blogging has made a huge difference to my life. Bloggers have made a huge difference to my life. How? Gosh, where do I start? I have moved from despair and fear for Boo to acceptance and optimism. OK, I admit, acceptance and optimism are often accompanied with generous dollops of anxiety and frustration, but I am in a very different place since starting Premmeditations.
That’s partly because writing is pretty much the best therapy I know. It’s also because the blogging community (bloggers and blog readers, tweeps and other online lovelies) have been amazingly welcoming, supportive and understanding. They have buoyed me up when I’ve been down. They have turned tears of anger into those of laughter. They haven’t judged me.
The premature baby and SEN online communities are full of amazing people who are living through difficult and sometimes completely horrendous things. And yet they still offer a shoulder to cry on or wise or kind words. I feel unspeakably lucky to have ‘met’ so many of the people I now feel I know through starting this blog. But to my surprise, people read this blog who apparently don’t have any direct experience of prematurity or disability. That they read and seem to enjoy the blog – you know who you are! – makes me very happy. Because they seem to see something I sometimes lose sight of. I am parent first and a parent of a premature baby with special needs second.
When I started this blog, I thought there was a very real chance that I would write a handful of posts and stop. Because I would find it too difficult or I would think what I was writing was naff. I was sure no one but me would read it. That anyone else does still shocks me and that some seem to like it and sometimes say so in comments, tweets and emails makes my head spin.
Six months ago, I had no idea where life was taking us. Things are clearer now but there’s still so much we don’t know. One of the few things I do know is that I will keep blogging. Thank you for having me for the past six months.