I had such a lovely virtual week last week. I had great comments on the blog, lots of lovely supportive tweets during various crises. I even blogged about how great blogging was.
And then on Sunday, the one-year anniversary of the day Boo was supposed to have been delivered by planned caesarian section, I wrote a post I’d been meaning to write since I started the blog a couple of months ago. It was a pep talk cum virtual hug in the form of a letter to myself.
I wish I could claim credit for the idea, but I can’t. Earlier this year in my darkest days after Boo developed infantile spasms, I had a short course of CBT (or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). My therapist tried lots of strategies with me to deal with the complex whirl of emotions I feel in relation to Boo, my family and our new life. The one that came closest to working most often was thinking, ‘What would I say to a friend if she were going through this?’ I practised it a lot. I’m still rubbish at it, to be honest. It’s much harder to be your own friend than someone else’s. But I knew the letter was a good idea. And when the time was right, on a particularly difficult day, I wrote it. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t pause in the writing. The only edits I made were correcting typos.
If you haven’t read it, it’s here. It felt helpful to write it. I was glad I did it. But I truly hadn’t expected the wave of lovely comments, emails, tweets and the enormous (by this little blog’s standards) number of views it would get. I am overwhelmed and humbled by this response. The idea for the post (again, wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t) seems to have resonated widely with parents. And not just parents of children born prematurely or with special needs. Because we all know what the two common denominators of parenting (no matter who you’re parenting where) are don’t we? Yep, that’s right: love and guilt.
I was particularly struck by the number of people who wrote to me saying that they wished they could write a letter like this to themselves. A letter that they could go back to and read in the tough times. And the more I thought about this, the more I thought about what doing this had done for me, the more I thought, yes: everybody who experiences the crippling sensation of guilt that seems sadly synonymous with raising kids should have an occasion and reason to be kind to themselves and let themselves off the imaginary hook.
So, I decided to set up a linky so that you can do precisely that. This is my first linky (it may be my last) and free WordPress doesn’t make it desperately easy to do. But I think this is important. I would be completely thrilled if some of you would consider posting links to letters to yourself below. I hope that writing these letters, reading those of others and commenting on them might help us all be a little bit kinder to ourselves and realise that we’re all in this together.
Come on. Let’s give up the guilt!
PLEASE NOTE: BECAUSE I AM NOT SELF-HOSTED, LINKY TOOLS CANNOT DISPLAY ON THIS POST. TO ADD YOUR OWN POST AND VIEW OTHERS, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW AND YOU WILL BE REDIRECTED TO ANOTHER WEBPAGE WHERE ALL OF THE POSTS LINKED UP CAN BE FOUND.
OH AND PLEASE GRAB THE BADGE BELOW.
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