What inspired you to start blogging?
My daughter was born with cerebral palsy and in 2006, one week after her third birthday, she underwent surgery on her spinal cord, followed by several months of intensive physical therapy. It was then that I started my first blog to keep family and friends updated on her progress and struggles.
In 2010, my son was born with Down Syndrome, and it was then that I found my muse. I began a new blog, not because I was looking for an audience, but because I needed an outlet for my thoughts. However, within a short time I realized that it wasn't just my friends and family who were reading -- strangers were visiting the blog, as well.
My blog, Bringing the Sunshine, comes from a quote by Anthony J. D'Angelo: "Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine." It's a reflection of my belief that no matter what struggles or disappointments we face in life, we can always find a blessing if we just look for it. In addition, it's also intended to convey the purpose of the blog: to inform and inspire others, and advocate for individuals who are differently-abled in a way that's positive and non-confrontational.
On May 28, 2010, our world was turned upside down when our baby boy Jack was born and we learned that he had Down Syndrome. What was the most wonderful day of our lives quickly also became the most frightening, as our future changed at that very moment. What we didn't know that day, and what we know now, is how absolutely blessed we are to have such an amazing and loving child. Having filtered through a myriad of emotions in response to Jack's diagnosis, I have come to realize that while life is definitely going to be different because we have a child with special needs, it's also going to be (and is) more wonderful than we could have ever imagined. I blog because I want other mothers out there like me to know this. I want mothers who may have just had a child born with special needs to know that it's all going to be okay and that they have been blessed with a special gift that will change their lives ... for the better. I blog because I love Jack so incredibly much and he gives so much love back to us and to everyone who meets him. He's just too great not to share!
My son, Max, had a stroke at birth (yes, babies can have strokes). Doctors told us he was at risk for mental retardation, not walking or talking, and vision and hearing problems. I was devastated. I thought my son would never have a good life — and I wouldn't, either. That first year with my son was the worst year of my life; I was sick with anxiety about what he would (and wouldn't) be able to do. I couldn't even appreciate his cuteness. But Max proved the doctors wrong. Even though he wasn't able to crawl, he'd drag his little body along on the ground, commando style, like a soldier in training. At age 3, he walked. At 5, he said his first word. He was a bright, smiling kid who charmed everyone he met. Eventually, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. But over time, my fears and anxieties receded, replaced by the determination and laughter of an amazing little boy. I started my blog in October 2008, when Max was 5, because I wanted to inspire moms of young children who had trouble finding hope. I also wanted the world to see that just because Max has special needs, he is not a child to be pitied. He is A Great Kid—not just A Kid With Special Needs.
Writing for me is like oxygen. I can't not write. I'm too impatient to write an essay and send it out for publication and wait three months to see if someone accepts it. I want to write and publish immediately. Over and over and over. Also, I like the sense of community and connection that comes with blogging.
I started blogging about three weeks after we adopted our first child from Vietnam. I had kept an online travel journal of our time in Vietnam, but hadn't formally blogged. Once we were home and facing some of the difficulties and realities of adoption -- along with the joys -- I wanted to connect with other adoptive families. So I started a blog.
A friend of mine suggested blogging as a way to keep out of town loved ones updated on what was going on in our family. I started a family blog and really loved the idea of posting photos in one place, rather than sending batches of them in emails to everyone. When I became pregnant with our tenth child, we had some markers show up on an ultrasound for Down Syndrome. I started a blog just to journal my feelings...it became therapy for me in those roller coaster like months of emotions.
My blog started out simply as a way to organize the recipes I was developing to accommodate my son's food allergies. It's grown in quite a few other directions since then!
I planned to start blogging during my pregnancy after we received my daughter's diagnosis of Down Syndrome. I even began putting some words down, but everything felt too raw. As we approached her birth, all the stress of having our first child began to weigh on me more than her diagnosis, and our return to "normal" began. I also received a DSLR camera as a gift from my husband. I started my blog to keep friends, family, and moms in the online DS community up to date on Ellie's progress. I'm excited to see other people show an interest as well. Ellie has a great story, and I'll write as long as she gives me material.
I’ve worked with books and authors for two decades and always wanted to write myself. I started my blog My So-Called Sensory Life: 365 Unexpected Gifts From Motherhood in March 2010 as a way to capture the daily joys and challenges of parenting my twins (one has special needs). After receiving some unexpected news one day, I made the decision to commit to finding a daily gift -- the virtual silver lining each day no matter what — and My So-Called Sensory Life was born on March 21, 2010. In fact, I just completed a consecutive 365 posts in as many days. One year later, I’m still blogging.
I started blogging as a way to chronicle the adoption journey of our two special need's babies from half-way across the world. The first posts on our blog are sorry at best. Over the years our blog has evolved into reflections of our trials and seemingly insignificant, but ordinary miracles that occur in a busy family of 8. Life passes so quickly, and without the reflection a blog offers, the precious little moments that life is made can be overlooked. I keep blogging to express my love of adoption and photography, and trying to inspire other mamas to savor life's everyday ordinary miracles.
When my fiance was diagnosed with cancer, I felt like the world was crumbling underneath me. I knew I had to be strong for him but I had so much I wanted to say that I decided to blog so I could get all my feelings out. I also wanted to share my experiences with others so they knew they were not alone.
Well, in short, another Top 25 Inspiring Family, Ellen Seidman of Love That Max. A parent I know locally sent me the link to her blog, and then on a whim I put out a Facebook status update that said: "To blog or not to blog?" and a surprising number of people urged me to blog. I was wary of blogging because I felt like I should spend my very little free time on money-making pursuits, but I'm so glad I started it.
Our five-year-old son, Charlie, has Down Syndrome. In many ways the first couple years of his life were about learning to adjust to a reality we had not counted on. A reality that included a baby with Down Syndrome. As we settled into our "new normal" we relied heavily on blogs of families who were living -- and loving -- their lives with their children who have Down Syndrome. Those inspiring parents were the impetus for Charlie's Up To, which I created in August of 2007. My way of sharing with others the way Down Syndrome has both changed our lives forever, and made it richer, challenging, and beautiful.
Enjoying the Small Things began in 2007, shortly after my first daughter Lainey was born, as a way to combine my writing and photography hobbies. It since has evolved to much more, providing not only an outlet for creativity (without which, I'd go nuts), but a home for the gratitude I feel for all of my inspirations, and most importantly, the moments we share as a family.
This January, we welcomed our second girl, Nella Cordelia, and were stunned to learn, upon her delivery, that she had Down Syndrome. My world was rocked to the core, and I was sure life as I knew it was over.
How wrong I was. Between the outpouring of love and support we received, some hardcore life analysis and therapeutic insights I made on this blog through it all, I have arrived at the very beautiful place of life is hard. But it's also amazing, and I will rock the hell out of it.
I started blogging over a decade ago -- I'm really aging myself here -- with a diary for a wedding web site. It wasn't even called blogging then. After that, I wrote for The Detroit News' political blog for four years.
When my daughter, May, was born severely brain-damaged, blogging wasn't my immediate inclination, but as I came to terms with her injuries, I wanted to document the choices I made for May and see where they led over time and blogging seemed the best fit for that. Also, there is very little written about babies with brain damage -- even less by anyone with a sense of humor (although I'm pleased to say there are others!).
In order to be approved to adopt twins (in Ontario) one must first do “research” to prove they know what they are getting into, and don't just have some romantic ideal of how cute it would be to have twins. While it was easy to find plenty of books and articles about twins, and even more about adoption, the only place to find information about adopting twins was in blogs. I started blogging to pass on the favour.
Originally, The Chronicles of Ellie Bellie Bear started as a means to keep friends and family updated about Ellie's health status and to educate them about Down Syndrome. I blog because I want the world to see what i see -- just how wonderful and utterly perfect my daughter is with her designer genes. That our Ellie has more determination and motivation than most adults I know and is surpassing all of our expectations. That yes, there are challenges and yes, sometimes things are hard, but she is our beautiful daughter who completes our family.
My husband and I began the adoption of a 5-year-old little girl with Down Syndrome from the Ukraine. She was to be our third child and I began our blog as a way of communicating to family and friends during the adoption process. Unfortunately, she didn't come home and instead we adopted two different children ages 5 years and 18 months, both with Down Syndrome. Three years later, with the "random blessing" of a missionary in the Ukraine, we just brought home the girl we originally sought to adopt.
I was lonely, living in the middle of nowhere with a baby who never slept and screamed a lot. I Googled for "Australian breastfeeding mum" one day when I was at the end of my tether and found Miscmum. I read her entire archives and all the blogs on her blogroll. A few weeks later, I started my own blog, because it didn't look that hard. 4 years later, here we are.
The approach of our youngest son's (Wyatt, who has Down Syndrome) open heart surgery! I realized that I had a lot to say about his birth and life.
I started blogging in 2008 as a way for our out of town family to follow along on our adoption journey. It also helped to connect us with other families who were adopting from Kazakhstan (which at the time was the best way to get accurate program information). When we spent two months living in Kazakhstan in order to bring our daughter home, the blog was an invaluable link back to friends and family. I continued blogging when we went, a year later, to China to adopt our fifth child, and once again it helped connect me with other adoptive parents.
My blog has served as communication tool, travel journal, baby book and cheap therapy. Today it's most useful purpose is advocating for the needs of orphans and orphan-related causes.
When I started blogging, I had suffered the loss of my first daughter to SIDS and a miscarriage, I had celebrated the birth of my son, and then suffered another loss of yet another daughter at 20 weeks gestation due to a chromosomal abnormality (Trisomy 18). I realized that I was consumed with my parenting journey, and wanted to get back to myself. I started challenging myself to stretch outside of my comfort zone once a week. Then I was really stretched (literally and figuratively) when I experienced the pregnancy of healthy and beautiful twins. The blog morphed into an exploration of the experience of parenting coupled with the effort to still be the cool chick I (thought I) once was in pre-parent days.
I began Bio Girl in January of 2007, just a couple of months after we got married. I had been writing a blog for a group of friends, documenting the different things we did together, for the previous year and a half, so I already knew I enjoyed the blogging process. I knew we were going to be trying for a baby soon and I wanted to document that time, along with wanting to have a record of that time in our lives as we started our married life together.
I knew I loved writing and enjoyed keeping an electronic scrapbook of our lives, but what surprised me was the amazing support I found in the blogging community. That support through our infertility, pregnancy and birth of our son, as well as through the ups and downs of life in general. That has been what has kept me here. I have loved recording our life, and I have loved the community I have found while doing it.
At 25 years old, and expecting my second child, I never imagined my life would take this turn, but when it did writing it all down made sense and became therapeutic (spiritually and physically). Through my blog and birth of my son with designer genes, Grady, I was renewed in my faith, my passion for photography and my new role as an advocate. You see, Down Syndrome inspired my blog, but my faith in Jesus set it on fire.