Today marks two years since my very first post on ‘The Speed Bump’. I never could have imagined, when I sat down to write that first post, just desperate to get the words out of my head, with an itsy bitsy teeny weeny SB growing in my belly, that the blog would lead me to as many opportunities as it has done. Last year, I think my first ‘Blogiversary’ passed by without us even realising it, but this year, I want to stop and think about the difference blogging has made to our lives.
I never set out to be a ‘Big Blogger’, nor did I set out to be one who constantly reviews products – and I’ve stuck to that. I always love, and am genuinely surprised, when people like my posts and comment on my blog. I join Linkys because I love to discover other great blogs, and hopefully it leads to people discovering mine. Lately I’ve shared my posts a lot more, but only because – for the first time – I feel confident in what I am writing, and I’m truly happy for the world to see it.
I’ve never won blogging awards, or gone viral, or had dozens of people talking about my posts – but that’s okay. That’s not why I started blogging. I don’t blog for the likes and the shares – I blog to remind myself of how far I’ve come, to show other young parents that they aren’t alone, and to tell the word not to write us off because we’ve had a baby at a young age – we are still capable of so much more than you think we are.
My blog has followed me through the stages of accepting that my life was going to change beyond recognition. It has followed me through dealing with the challenges of balancing university and a growing bump; the pain my scar caused as my tummy grew, the glucose tolerance test, learning that placenta does not look like bacon, the constant uncertainty of whether I’d need a C-section, whether I’d be induced, whether I’d be allowed to go overdue.
Almost immediately after announcing the birth of SB to my close friends and family on Facebook, I announced it on the blog. That was when a whole new level of honesty opened up, and I was happy to blog about my crazy hallucinations, the two hours of stitching required to sew my bits back together, the horrendous post-birth bleeding that continued for weeks.
When breastfeeding didn’t work out, the blog was where I vented. It was where I came to terms with the fact that I couldn’t breastfeed SB, for reasons outside of my control, and that was okay – she will still grow up to be healthy and happy and intelligent, and it will make no difference how she was fed.
The blog gave me somewhere to turn when I felt like the world didn’t want to hear about midnight feedings and nappy explosions. The readers of the blog never told me to stop being a ‘Baby Bore’, they never told me to stop posting pictures of SB. I could post about how horrendous my boobs felt until the milk dried up, and my worries when SB didn’t seem to be putting on much weight. My late-night rants about computers deleting the essay I’d sat up writing until 4am, with a screaming baby in my arms. My loneliness when all my friends went home for the summer.
Recently, I’ve shared posts about teething and tantrums; the debacle with student finance’s mistake making me leave my job, my battle with PND and antenatal anxiety. I’ve opened up on the blog in a way that I would struggle to open up to most people face-to-face – even though the blog is more public, and I know my friends and family read it, it has been easier to write about than it would be to talk about.
I’ve shared the high points too. Our family days out; the little moments as we adjusted to life as a family of three rather than a couple. Moving into a flat of our own just before SB arrived, her first birthday, finding out I was graduating university with a first class degree. When I look back, the last two years have been a rollercoaster ride – as clichéd as that sounds – and this blog has followed every up and down, and a few loop-the-loops too.
What lies in the future for The Speed Bump? It’s hard to tell. SB has her whole life ahead of her, and we have a lot still to learn when it comes to being parents – so I suppose the blog will carry on as it is; following us through these lessons, documenting SB’s life. Hopefully the future holds another baby or two for us, so one day, The Speed Bump may become a pregnancy blog again. Next year, I’m hoping to train as a teacher, so you may see more on balancing study and parenting.
Of course, there is the book coming out in the New Year – the tagline is “What To Expect When You’re (Unexpectedly) Expecting”, but it’s really a pregnancy guide for anyone. It’s brutally honest, totally blunt and presents pregnancy in a way that’s easy to understand, but (hopefully) without being patronising. Maybe there’ll be more radio and TV opportunities for us – who knows?
We’ve expanded onto YouTube too, with more video blogs coming soon, and exciting features are being added to the blog all the time – serials like “The Daddy Diaries” and “Sundays With SB” are regular, weekly features, and are proving popular so far.
I am happy and comfortable with the blogging ‘type’ I fit into. Some bloggers are hugely successful at combining different styles – I follow some crafty parent bloggers, some parenting and style bloggers, some parenting and beauty bloggers – and some who combine three or even four aspects to run hugely popular blogs.
I am a parent blogger, in the simplest form of the word. I blog about being a parent, and I love it. Some people sneer at it, some people look down their noses, but I will never apologise for blogging. I can look back through my old posts and see the entirety of SB’s life in writing, starting from when I was twelve weeks pregnant with her. Even if no-one ever reads my blog again, I will keep it going, because that record of her life is so precious to me. Yes, I have my ‘niche’ – that is, being a young parent, and a student parent – but what it all boils down to is that I am a parent blogger, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
When I started the blog, I had no idea how long I’d continue it for. I thought I’d lose interest after a few weeks, or I just wouldn’t be able to keep up with it. Two years on, and it’s still going strong, and I intend to keep it that way. Whatever it develops into over the next few years – who knows, I may become a ‘Big Blogger’, I may start reviewing products, or I may just stay the same – I’ll stay true to the original aim of this blog – to be honest about every aspect of unplanned pregnancy and parenting. To document SB’s life. To help change the way people see young parents. That will never change.
To everyone who has supported the blog over the last two years; whether you’ve been reading from the start or have only recently started following; thank you. Your comments make me smile, your ‘Likes’ let me know I’m on the right track. I have loved speaking to so many of you on Twitter, reading your own blogs and hearing about your lives, and it is truly touching that so many people want to follow our lives too. Thank you for joining us on this journey (okay, so this is becoming full of clichés now), and I promise – it’s only going to get better from here on in.