More and more recently I’ve been thinking about my blogging niche (or lack of it) and the direction I want it to go in. So as with other decisions that I’m struggling to think through, I thought I would write about it. In main part because I value what you, the people who take time out of your life to read my ramblings, think.
I blog because I love to write, but more than that I blog because I want in my own little way to somehow make a difference in the world.
Now I have decided only to return to teaching in a very part time capacity, I feel that that is even more important. Not for the world, but for me. For my own sense of self-worth, I need to give something back. I have a lot to be thankful for. I have made more mistakes than I care to mention (or even remember) over the years, and yet somehow life has always turned out for the best.
When Number One was diagnosed with Autism, no-matter how prepared I was for the decision that was made, it rocked my world. I spent hours searching the internet, scouring it, hunting for information which back then simply didn’t exist. Girls with Asperger’s were in those days only just coming to the attention of the world, there was an Article by Tony Atwood (the guru of the Asperger’s world) and a handful of books by adults, mostly self-diagnosed talking about their own experiences. What they were writing about was a far cry from my two year old girl, so bright she could recognise any Disney song from the first two notes, yet so anxious she would scream for hours if the slightest part of her routine changed. The information wasn’t there, so together she and I forged a way.
We were lucky, I was a teacher, I had more experience of autism than most. The lack of services, the lack of information, made life harder but not impossible. I will be forever grateful that she was given to me, and that I had the knowledge to give her the intervention she needed whilst she was young. There were sleepless nights, many of them, as I worried about whether I was doing the right thing or the wrong thing. I worried, and still do, about whether I was pushing her hard enough, and then about whether I was pushing her too hard. But together, we have found our way, found the Other Half and ultimately become a family.
When Number Two was born, it was in many ways like reliving history as I once again scoured the internet looking for answers which were not there. His little body so rigid, his inability to feed, his obvious distress had me beside myself. This time I didn’t have the answers, unlike with Number One, I had no idea how to help my second baby. His difficulties were far beyond my experiences and the only answers I could find were ones I didn’t want to hear.
So I did the only thing I could do. I began to write, to record our experiences. I wanted somewhere out there on the World Wide Web, to be a story of a little boy and his big sister. So that at some point in the future it might make one Mum worry a little less, as she sat there hunting, and scouring. So that whatever the outcome, it might give one Mum hope that life would go on. That life could still be normal, whatever that might mean.
Writing became my way of feeling less helpless. In my quest to help one mum worry a little less, I didn’t think about having a niche or a theme, I just poured my heart out on the screen, one day at a time.
Over the last six months we’ve found some answers, and continue to look for others, and I have carried on writing, and you – lovely readers – have carried on reading. My blog is not an autism blog, it isn’t a reflux blog, but it isn’t a family lifestyle blog like a I originally named it either. If I’m honest, it doesn’t fit into any of the traditional niches. For a while I tried to make it, but that meant censoring what I wanted to say.
And that isn’t what I want. It isn’t what this blog is about.
I want to write about autism. I want to write about reflux. I want to write about normal (whatever that might be) family life. And yes, occasionally I want to rant.
I’m not sure what my new strap line will be. But I know it needs to change. We are not a Pinterest family. We are a real family, living real challenges and surviving them.
And hopefully on the way my random ramblings may make one of you feel a little less alone.
And that is far more important than trying to fit into a niche. After all a square peg does not fit in a round hole. And in this house we like to be different.