What exactly am I trying to do here?
That’s the question I keep asking myself whenever I think about starting a blog.
All the How to Write a Blog advice says the number one rule is to have an objective, a reason for writing. So, what’s my reason? What am I doing this for?
Well, the obvious answer is Lil Z. So much happens with her, even on a weekly basis, that I feel like we’re living in an American soap opera – except without the love triangles, glamorous lifestyles or questions over paternity. I can’t keep up. One week I’m trying to digest the news from yet another doctor that Lil Z has Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), then the next week she has a seizure and is hospitalised, the week after I’m dealing with the side effects of a new anti-seizure medication, and the following week I’m meeting her new allied services team and trying to set therapy goals for the next 6 months. With the high drama turnover, I feel like I have an endless stream of random thoughts and questions rattling around in my head.
I’m hoping this blog will give me greater insight into my journey as the mother of two beautiful girls, one of whom is “medically complex” and has special needs. Or at least, I hope that the act of writing down some of those rattling thoughts will stop them from distracting me.
And I want it to record this time, to remind me of how far we’ve come and all that we’ve made it through with our sanity, and hopefully our sense of humour, in tact. Its been difficult to update Lil Z’s baby book since its only intended to be for the first year, and yet she still hasn’t hit many of the milestones listed. So, I need a new way to remind myself that she is, in fact, moving forward. But at her own pace.
As expats, we’ve also struggled with telling family and friends about Lil Z and keeping them up to date with her developments, without pushing too much information on them. This will give them a place to come if they want to know what’s happening.
Sharing news like that over the phone or by email, I feel compelled to be matter of fact about it – not emotional. A bit, I suppose, like the doctors break the news to us. So, this blog might also allow me to express just how hard this journey has been, not just on me, but on the whole family. This is truly daunting for me, since although I’ve spent most of my career writing, its always been technical, matter of fact, and completely unemotional. I’ve never been good at expressing my emotions – written or otherwise. Ask me about the risk of political upheaval in Algeria and I’ll gladly pound out 500 words, ask me how I feel about dealing with Lil Z’s seizures and I’ll struggle to write anything.
I’d never really bothered with reading blogs until we started down this road with Lil Z. Now I read them obsessively, searching out other special needs parents who have been through similar experiences and who better articulate the complex range of hopes, fears, joys and deep, deep sorrow that I often feel as the mother of a special needs child. Their blogs have made me laugh, more often made me cry, and always made me feel that perhaps I’m not alone in the world. I hope this blog can help someone in the same way.