What did make me sit down at my computer and set up “Last Mother”, after a few years of thinking about blogging? During that time, something always made hold back. The worry that I would get nasty comments, mostly!
I’ve always kept a diary and recorded life with my children, and I love writing. But my blog hasn’t ended up as an online diary, even though I sometimes post snippets of my day to day life – usually those snippets I wouldn’t feel able to share with my family or most friends. I’ve also always liked talking to people about adoption. I’ve used online forums for years and found them amazingly supportive. I’ve been involved with a few preparation groups and found them quite enjoyable in many ways, although it’s nerve-wracking standing up in front of these strangers and telling them things you haven’t even told some close friends/family members. But despite that, posting something on a blog felt a bit different. More ‘out there’.
Thinking back 8 months, what finally made me ignore my trepidation and bash out the first post was the combination of isolation and a desire to reach out, and an opportunity I received.
Isolation is one the hardest things I have to cope with. Not just the stress of not being able to leave the house much apart from my part time job and shopping and therefore not seeing my friends and family very often unless they come to me, but the emotional isolation you go through as the parents of a child who has significant special needs/emotional and mental health issues. There are few people, and nearly all of them are other adoptive mothers or the birth mothers of children who also have special needs, who are able to understand even some of what it’s like to parent my DD2.
In February 2013 it became even worse, as my DD2 embarked on a reunion with her birth mum, which has been a big stress on both DD2 and the family as a whole. Its blown apart what we had before, and taken DD2 to the huge highs of feeling complete and loved and excited beyond belief, to the extreme lows of an emergency psychiatric hospital admission, anger and betrayal (that crisis would not have happened if she hadn’t been in such close contact with her birth mum). I felt unable to talk about it to most people, and my sense of isolation increased and increased. I was advised by a very wise adoptive mother to disengage mentally from it somewhat, and find ‘distractions’ to fill my time. By April this year, I was trying to put her advice in action.
Late in April Andrew McDougall, author of the blog “The One Hand Man”, posted on Mumsnet that he was looking for an adoptive parent to be interviewed on his blog. Feeling keener than ever to reach out to others in more ways than just an online forum, this seemed like a good way to try it out…I would get a chance to see how I might be received in the blogosphere! And when I answered Andrew’s questions, I found I enjoyed doing it. I had found a ‘distraction’ from home life. Why is writing about adoption a distraction from adoption issues? I’m not fully sure, but as long as I was writing about something other than ‘reunion’, I found myself getting completely absorbed in the writing and forgetting everything else. So by the time he was editing my answers for the first interview post, I was setting up a WordPress account.
About 8 months later, “Last Mother” is still, for me, a way to fully absorb myself in something else than is happening right that second, but it’s more than that. I’ve found amazing people online who understand, I’ve had my posts (and my DD1’s) shared around the internet, and I’ve been able to express my views on a wide range of subjects and find people who are interested in hearing what I’ve got to say. Which feels a bit odd really! But it’s very gratifying to be told that something I wrote was helpful, or interesting, or gave a new perspective on some issue. I don’t find the time to write as much as I would like, but I hope to be blogging for a few years to come.
My readers are some of the kindest and most understanding people on the internet in my opinion, so I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you for being so kind and supportive, and making blogging much more enjoyable. Also, thanks to the authors of all the amazing blogs I love to catch up on over a cup of tea. You are fantastic writers, and provide so much support and advice.
My blog is at http://www.lastmother.wordpress.com
I’m also on Twitter now @LastMum