Am I a Mummy Blogger?

“Am I a Mummy blogger?”

It is a question I have often asked myself during the past few months.

Yes, I am a mummy.

That fact is not in doubt, not for a moment. I am a proud mummy to my beautiful son, Hugo. I am also a sad mummy because Hugo died in my arms in March this year, aged 35 days.

But a mummy blogger? Or, to be more inclusive because there are many dad bloggers, a parent blogger?

Parent bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, and with every family configuration you can think of. You have families with mummy, daddy and one or more (living) children. Single-parent families. Same-sex parents. Divorced parents. Blended (step) families. Families with children who have special needs.

There is one thing all of these bloggers have in common to write about: ongoing experiences with their children.

My arms are aching and empty.

I had 24 weeks and four days of pregnancy. I had 35 short but precious days with my super champion boy. Those 35 days were spent in a neonatal intensive care unit – an unusual environment to be a parent, and with its own set of challenges.

Hugo

Hugo

Other parent bloggers’ accounts of ‘normal’ parenting situations: the third trimester of pregnancy, breastfeeding, nappies, weaning, crawling, talking, playtime, activities – and most recently, starting school – break my heart. They underline my loss, everything that Hugo will not do, and everything that I will not do with Hugo.

Being a parenting blogger often feels to me like torture and self-flagellation.

Of course, parenting bloggers are not defined by being parents. They write about all kinds of things such as current affairs, relationships, jobs and careers, style, travel, and food. There are many talented bloggers whose posts I love reading. Posts where I learn something new, or that offer an interesting viewpoint. Those posts, for me, make parenting blogging worth sticking around for.

That said, as an empty-armed mother there are many parenting blogger posts I feel excluded from. That is for several reasons: not only because they underline my loss, but because I am unable to contribute. We do not have shared experiences.

That’s not to mention the times where I see a gripe or a moan from a parent about something that I would love to gripe or moan about. I shout at my computer words to the effect of: “Blimey, that’s the worst you have to moan about? Count yourself lucky!” I try to move on from these – every parent has a right to let off steam about the challenges of parenting (within reason!) – and I feel glad that these parents do not know my pain. I would not wish it on anyone.

I do my best to avoid reading these kinds of posts. It’s impossible to avoid seeing them completely, because of social media. I could remove myself, but that would only cause myself an even greater sense of isolation than I already feel as a bereaved mother.

Blogging has helped me feel a little less isolated. It has connected me with so many people I would not have had an opportunity to connect with otherwise, especially other bereaved mothers, and mothers who have also experienced preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and/or a traumatic birth. People who ‘get it’.

Me and Hugo

Me and Hugo

So many parent bloggers have offered me kind support, through post comments and on social media. Removing myself from that support would be counter-productive to my recovery.

I have moved on from the upset caused by a comment from a fellow blogger that the subject of my blog is a ‘conversation stopper.’ My blog is a conversation starter. I shout loudly about my beautiful Hugo, how much I miss him, how much it hurts, and other issues that are important to me. Through my blog, I give others an insight in to a world I hope they will never have to experience first-hand.

That does not prevent me being hurt on occasion – for example, there is a regular linky I take part in where bloggers are supposed to make a comment on the two blogs who have linked up before them. More often than not, no one on that linky (other than the host) bothers to comment on my blog. Possibly that is because the bloggers don’t read the rules properly, or possibly they just link and run. Possibly I am being over-sensitive, but I often wonder whether the two bloggers after me shrink from the challenging and heart-wrenching nature of most of the posts I write. That thought makes me feel excluded. Feeling excluded is never a pleasant feeling.

Baby loss, despite the wealth of support I have received, is still a huge taboo. There are some who think that by avoiding it, it does not happen. Those who still believe it is a ‘conversation stopper’.

My blog is my platform for Hugo, and a voice for every parent who has suffered loss. By using my voice to talk about difficult subjects, I want to help raise awareness and stamp out those taboos.

A bereaved parent is still a parent. I am offering a view of a different side of parenting. Like any parent, I love my son with all my heart. I am celebrating special memories, and nurturing his legacy.

I am a mummy blogger.

 

Skin-to-skin with Mummy

Skin-to-skin with Mummy

 

44 thoughts on “Am I a Mummy Blogger?

  1. Saranga (@SarangaComics) says:

    I’ve struggled with this question. Am I a pregnancy blogger, a mother blogger, a baby loss blogger, or a comics blogger? Or a feminist blogger, political blogger. I write about all these things, often all intertwined. I think others would like to categorise me as a comics blogger or a baby loss blogger, because it makes them feel more comfortable. But to me, I cover all these things, and more besides. Where do I fit in?

    Then I wonder if it matters. i think it matters to say yes I am a mother/parent blogger, because it’s important to shout that I am a mother too, now to 2 kids, one living, one in utero. But a lot of people don’t see you as being a mother when you are pregnant or when your child has died, and that’s wrong, and something that needs to be changed.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Hi – thanks for your comment. You’re right, and I’ve moved on from worrying about that label – the post was reflective of a stage in my grief. Personally, I don’t think bloggers – or anyone really – should get hung up on labels. But having said that – we re most definitely mothers. xxx

      Like

  2. Mrs H says:

    Oh Leigh, you are a mummy blogger because you are Hugo’s mummy. But I also think you are the bravest blogger I know. You write from the heart. Sometimes you write words that it must be heartbreaking for you to see on the page. But you still write. You don’t hide in the shadows either. You are an active part of the blogging community and that is amazing. I can only imagine how torturous that must be for you sometimes. Yet you still read, comment and show support for other parenting blogs. You are not just a mummy blogger. You are the most amazing mummy blogger I know. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you so much. I’m not sure if I would call myself brave – no false modesty – I just write what I feel. I am delighted and surprised that people do read what I write, people who have never lost a baby in particular, and I am so grateful for everyone’s kindness and support. I do have my moments with parenting blogs – I don’t participate in certain linkies any more because so many of the posts were baby related, and it was so difficult to find a post that I felt I could read, let alone comment on. Parenting blogging is about so many different things though, and there is such a breadth and variety of passionate, talented writers out there. Combined with the kindness and support, it makes for a wonderful community. Thank you for the hugs xxx

      Like

  3. Liz says:

    Leigh, I am so moved by your beautiful post. Yes of course you are a mummy blogger – you will always be Hugo’s mummy. But I think as most of us discover trying not to define yourself as one particular type of blogger is also tremendously liberating. Anyway, I hope you take some small comfort from the comments on this post and the obvious support you have gained from the blogging community. Take care and be kind to yourself xxx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      You’re right, not defining oneself makes sense. This post was written during a bad day last week – I was wondering why I was tormenting myself by being in such close quarters with others who are able to get on with family life, in whatever form that may take. I was also feeling rather lost, as I have been during the past few months. I’m so grateful for all the love and support I’ve received, and am working on finding some balance. Thank you for taking the time to read, and for your supportive comment xxx

      Like

  4. oneoftwomumstotwo says:

    I have a toddler and a 6mth old. Much as I may get down or frustrated sometimes, I count my blessings every day. Your post has made me count them again. Thank you. Hugo was beautiful and your photos are gorgeous. Off to read more of your posts now…

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I’m sorry for your loss. Many people get really uncomfortable with the issue. I hope that by being open, I can break down the taboo and provide support to others. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment xxx

      Like

  5. lauracharlie1988 says:

    Firstly I’m sorry for your loss
    Second, I agree. Baby loss is taboo and people should talk about it more. People go silent on me when I mention my baby (who was lost at 8 week pregnant – so a different situation) but it all boils down to the same thing. People find it hard to acknowledge babies that are no longer here.
    You’re doing a wonderful thing. You’re making people talk about lost little ones and that is ever so important xx

    Like

  6. Susanne Remic (@Ghostwritermumm) says:

    Yes you are a mummy blogger, and never a conversation stopper. I cannot believe someone actually said that. Baby loss is something we should be talking about, not avoiding, because then it will remove the taboo and allow parents who’ve lost a child to feel they are able to speak about their loss. I hope you know that you can always talk about Hugo to meet and that I will always listen. You are a huge support to many, even though you think you aren’t. x x x x

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I can’t believe someone said that either. Absolutely, we should talk about baby loss so the bereaved can talk openly, and get the support they need. Thank you for your kind words, you’re always so lovely. Xxx

      Like

  7. Emma - Me, The Man & The Baby says:

    YES You are a mummy blogger, you are a mummy and a blogger so this in my eyes make you a mummy blogger. Though I know some people don’t like this term but I love being both a mummy and a blogger so I take this title with great pleasure. Your blog is beautiful and it definitely is a conversation starter, even when I don’t know what to say I’ll rather start a conversation then turn my back on one xxx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you. I am a mummy blogger, but being an empty-armed one feels so tough sometimes. It’s my aim to be a conversation starter, so I’m pleased you see it as one. Thanks for the love and support xxx

      Like

  8. desertmum says:

    Lovely post – really opened my eyes. I have several friends who have suffered baby loss – one in particular with an unusually high and sad amount of children who passed away prematurely. It’s brave of you to write – and important that you do so. Keep going! x

    Like

  9. beinghumanish says:

    beautiful. our baby died suddenly also at 35 days old in 2012,writing has helped immensely in this horrid journey. I do have other children, but there certainly is no at least; pleased youre able to write it out somewhere. I use both here but mainly blogger. take care

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Writing really is a good therapy. You’re absolutely right, there is no ‘at least’ that can applied to the loss. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment xxx

      Like

  10. more4mums says:

    What a thoughtful and lovely post. I just stumbled on your blog today and I am going to read some more of your posts. I can imagine it must be painful to read the “happy” posts all the time. A very important task to be raising awareness. xx

    Like

  11. liquoriceuk says:

    You are definitely a mummy blogger Leigh – a very inspirational and brave mummy blogger at that. You do so much to raise awareness of HELPP and baby loss and your voice is so very important. I cannot imagine for one minute the pain you go through every day having lost your beautiful Hugo. I have faced the pain of having a high probability of losing a child and still live with the awful knowledge that it is highly likely I will outlive my child but I know how very lucky I am to have her. I am so sorry if some of my posts have hurt you. Your blog is not a conversation stopper at all – you have helped so many people by raising awareness and you are a wonderful mummy to your little Hugo. Sending you love and hugs xx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you. I’m sorry about the possibility of your child leaving before you – what an awful thing to have to bear. Please don’t worry, your posts haven’t hurt me at all. No post has really. Some of the more trivial posts by some bloggers (not you) have frustrated me, but nothing can hurt more than the death of my precious Hugo. You’re always so supportive – thank you xxx

      Like

  12. deskmonkeymummy says:

    Yes, you are a mummy blogger. A bloody good one at that! Baby loss makes people feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say, but being aware of it has taught me to say what you want to say. Say what you need to say, even if you think it might be awkward, or gawky or feel out of your comfort zone, because parents who have been through this heartache want to talk about their babies and they want to share pictures and answer questions. So keep blogging. Your blog never fails to open my eyes and I love your photos. X

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      You’re right – I’ve been on the receiving end of that discomfort many times. It’s not the people not making comments on a certain linky that bother me – it’s far from my worst problem, and I do receive so many lovely comments. It’s not about labels either – it’s about where I ‘fit’. I feel rather lost, in so many ways.

      Absolutely, baby loss parents want to talk about their babies, my message to those who feel out of their comfort zone is so suck it up – their discomfort will last for a few moments, while our heartbreak will last a lifetime.

      Thank you for your support, as always xxx

      Like

  13. SingleMotherAhoy says:

    Damn right you’re a mummy blogger. My life has little in common with yours, but I can still relate to what you have to say and I love your attitude of trying to live with your grief and keep on plodding, rather than either ignore it and pretend to move on, or wallow in it forever more. I can see a progression in your posts as time passes and to me it’s just as readable as the 500 other posts a week I see about babies, toddlers, preschoolers and older children. (in some cases, infinitely more readable!)
    Keep blogging – we’re reading, I promise x
    Oh yeah, thanks for linking up with #WeekendBlogHop!

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you. I know you’re reading, from the support you give. Sometimes, the contents of those 500 other posts feel too much because the posts’ authors have what I want: living children. Thanks so much for your support, as always xxx

      Like

  14. cafebeb1 says:

    Leigh,

    The one thing I have learned in the last 5 and a bit years of being a parent blogger is that it’s your blog, your voice, your vehicle. You are most definitely a mother and have every right to feel the way you do. It can be hard for some people to read but hey ho, life is hard. And you are raising awareness and celebrating your son’s amazing life. Never apologise for that and if it gives you solace and strength, then never stop! Blogging is a funny world but it can be amazingly supportive as well, especially when we need it most. Carry on Leigh and well done you for shouting Hugo’s name from the rooftops!
    Much love to you!

    Karin 💜

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Oh yes, the blogging world has been so supportive. Sometimes, though, seeing all the posts with smiling families feels a bit too much and I feel like taking myself away from the parent blogging community. I’m sticking with it, though, for the mutual support, and for raising awareness for my Hugo xxx

      Like

  15. meghanoc says:

    I can understand that frustration of the lack of comments through the linky. I love love the comments from my fellow loss parents, but I always have a special twinge of excitement from someone who isnt a loss parent, commenting. lets me know I’ve reached a wider audience. I write mostly for the bereave like me, but also in hopes that those who havent experienced such loss can have more empathy to those who do. I hope those people find you eventually and comment, realizing the simple act of not doing it actually has an effect. much love.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      You’re so right, Meghan, I feel that excitement too when a non-babyloss person comments. I’ve had such great support so I can’t complain at all comments wise – it’s kind of just wondering aloud – because it really doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. I know we’ve both reached out to so many, for Mabel and for Hugo xxx

      Like

  16. Tim says:

    Of course you’re a mummy/parent blogger, Leigh. Your experiences are just as valuable as anyone else’s. In fact, in many ways they’re even more so because they inform the rest of us about a parenting experience that is so different from most of ours. I really value that. Reading your blog has taught me a lot.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, Tim. It’s more from the point of view of being (unintentionally) battered from all sides by posts from people who write about living children. I don’t resent them, but it hurts. I just wonder sometimes why I put myself through it – but knowing I am helping people by giving people this different perspective keeps me going. Your support means a lot, thank you x

      Like

  17. Kerrie McGiveron says:

    Leigh you are a Mummy blogger, and you do it with grace and finesse. When I heard you say at Britmums about the ‘conversation stopper’ incident I sat and thought. Everyone blogs for different reasons, and blog posts about bereavement and baby loss should not stop the conversation – they can begin the conversation. I have certainly learned a lot from reading your blog and although it is hard for people to comment and talk about things, and sometimes you don’t know what to say…but I think that you make it so that it is not a taboo subject. You make it so that we can talk, and communicate, and you can reach out to others through your experience, and I hope that expressing yourself in this way makes you feel better, and that you continue to indeed be a ‘Mummy blogger.’ xxx 🙂

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, Kerrie, you have always been so kind and supportive. I hope I do take baby loss away from being a taboo subject. Expressing myself does make me feel better, it gives me a sense of purpose. Hugo’s Legacy is my purpose, in the absence of having him to look after. I will continue to be a mummy blogger, be kind to myself and self-censor so I don’t read too many things that upset me xxx

      Like

  18. mrboosmum says:

    You are a wonderful blogger – that’s what you are. I think I have read all (if not nearly all) of your posts and they never fail to move me and keep my own anxieties in check. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. We nearly lost Boo. Three times in the NICU. But that is not the same. Standing on the brink of what I couldn’t imagine only gives me the merest inkling of what you have been and must be going through.

    I am terrible at commenting on blogs. This is largely because I read on my phone and it doesn’t always let me or I type a comment and it is lost before being published. Please don’t equate lack of comments to lack of engagement with your blog. I am a novice blogger, but my sense is that’s not how these thing work. And know that your posts and the gorgeous pictures of you and Hugo stay with me.

    And to the person who said your blog was a conversation stopper I have nothing to say that is polite so I won’t. I have often felt like the conversation stopper in the room, when I tell them about Boo. It is a rotten feeling. That anyone made you feel that way makes me cross.

    So keep going lovely lady. You are really rather remarkable, you know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, it’s very kind of you to say so.

      Your NICU experience must have been scary with the thought of losing Boo.

      The thing about the comments on that particular linky is that having looked at the tone and content of the blogs who are ‘supposed’ to be commenting on mine I can’t help but think they’re a bit freaked out by mine. While annoying, though, it’s far from my biggest problem – it’s just me wandering aloud.

      Yes, I really couldn’t believe the ‘conversation stopper’ comment – what a thing to say!

      Thank you, I feel proud that you are my blogging and Twitter friend xxx

      Like

I'd love to know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s