I’ve been blogging about Perinatal Mental Health for nearly three years now. It began as a personal blog and since changing my website, I have lost a few of the more personal posts from when I began but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten what it was that started my blogging in the first place. I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve learnt over the last three years and hopefully give those thinking about blogging on perinatal mental health a little insight into what I feel are the benefits of doing so.
Honesty is freeing
Before I started blogging I’d never really spoken to anyone about my experiences with Antenatal and Postnatal Depression apart from with close friends. So to write so honestly about what I went through was incredibly cathartic for me and what I credit for being a turning point in my recovery. I found the blog posts where I typed everything and then didn’t really edit were the best ones. I have a tendency as I’m sure many bloggers do to be writing something then think ‘Oh no one will want to read this’ and delete the whole thing. Top tip: Those are the posts people need to read, the ones where we say the things that they are feeling, the ones that people can really relate to and realise they are not alone.
I found my brave
The more honestly I wrote, the braver I became with sharing my story, with owning it. To be able to talk about it and know that through all that darkness I experienced something positive has come from it. I found the light in the darkness that was postnatal depression. I think one of the most powerful things about sharing your story of mental illness is that not only allows others to see that they are not alone in their suffering but it can help others find their brave, to empower them to share theirs. Not always necessarily in the form of a blog or big public announcement, but to find that courage to tell friends, family or health care professional that they have or have had a perinatal mental illness which is the bravest step anyone can take.
It opens doors
I began sharing my story after writing the PND and Me poem, I never expected to be here three years later doing what I do but I am so incredibly humbled to be doing so. When you begin blogging it can feel like a shout into the void and at times it can feel pointless but let me tell you, what you write is worth it if it has helped you in the process. Getting your blog ‘out there’ can be tough at times with so many others out there but stick with it, because your take on things might be just what someone is looking for to reassure them that there is hope and that they are not alone. Joining Twitter and various parenting blog Facebook groups can help you get your posts to a wider audience. Try not to get caught up in blog views, I became quite obsessed with watching the numbers go up and it can be disheartening when something you’ve put your heart into ‘only’ reaches a certain number but just know that by sharing your story you are making a difference, whether 10 or 1000 people read that post.
This one is pretty self explanatory but by blogging and the creation of #PNDHour and #PNDChat I have made some incredible friendships with people across the world, a total added bonus I can tell you! I have an amazing team of volunteers who are incidentally wonderful friends, who watch the #PNDChat hashtag for me and pretty much run our Facebook page. I’d be lost without the phenomenal community we have.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one” C.S Lewis.
The more you talk about your experiences the more people you will find who are willing to be open about their own experiences and so friendships blossom.
It has the potential to change your life
Now I’m not necessarily saying you’ll become a world renowned blogger and make yourself millions. I’m talking the smaller changes that make the big difference. Starting PND and Me gave me a purpose, it has enabled me to do what I love which is helping others through the storm of postnatal depression. That is the biggest reward of all for me.
So there we have it a few things I have learnt from the last three years. If you want to start a blog, go for it as you never know the paths it may take you down.