My family just returned home from a whirlwind trip to the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference in Orlando. A really interesting topic came up at FFL Wednesday morning, and my spunky spirit is dying to dive into it and explore the efficacy of sharing information about our children online. I have so much to write about this amazing conference, but I had this written at the get go, so I’ll share it today, and dive into the rest of the amazingness in a day or two!
The comment was made during a session: “You can't feel better if your child feels worse, when you blog about kids with Diabetes. Parents healing important, but kids 1st!”
I have to be honest. At first that hurt. My kids always come first. I bleed worry for my kids 24/7. But then I stepped back and said, “Meri. This person doesn’t know who you are. This person is sticking up for your kid. Ok. I like this person.”
But then there was a whole lotta other part of me that also thought this:
Isn’t my story important? Isn’t sharing my story helping me AND my children? Isn’t it giving my children a better mom? Aren’t I a better person because of it? Am I maybe…MAYBE helping others be better parents by what I’m sharing?
And then…am I being selfish sharing the story just to make me feel better?
Will my children grow up to resent my sharing?
Do I share too much?
That is something I have to examine further, I am sure. But before I start thinking logically, here is what comes to mind emotionally:
What if there is a 11 year old boy who forgets to check his sugar at lunch every live long day?
What if I blog how my 11 year old often forgets to check his blood sugar at lunch?
What if some people comment on my blog saying ME TOO!
Wouldn’t that help both me and these commenters think, “Hey. Maybe his is normal. Maybe my kid isn’t totally mental. Maybe he’s just a normal 11 year old who is too busy thinking about basketball and youtube videos to remember everything. Maybe he is burnt out. Maybe I should cut him some slack! Maybe it’s ok…we can find a solution together rather than using blame!”
Is that hurting anyone? Is that hurting my son? I suppose it’s all in the delivery. Because I can promise that in that blog post I would only be trying to find a way to empathize with my son’s point of view. I would only be trying to see his side of things, and doing my damnedest to find the solution that would be easiest for him.
I try hard to be mindful of my boys and their feelings. I always imagine them reading my posts years later. I agree that their stories are their own to tell, but they are innately part of mine. And if I didn’t share, I would be even more broken than I am.
If I learned anything from my experience at FFL this week, it is this: Support is paramount to a healthy you when it comes to dealing with a chronic disease. This week my heart broke again and again, looking into the eyes of mothers that are alone. Mothers who have no one else to talk to. Those who handle the stress of family and diabetes all on their own.
These mothers need me. They need the other parents that blog online to know they aren’t alone in all of this.
I think about the person I would be without the online community. It isn’t a pretty picture. Unfortunately, it is easy to imagine, as I was alone for so many years. Almost 10 years and three diagnoses before I found the parent blogging community…before I found facebook, twitter, chat rooms…all of it.
And I was tired. And I was cranky. And I was full of blame and anger. I second-guessed my decisions all the time. I never thought the peace would come!
I’m full of hope. And understanding. And empathy. And I have that peace I longed for lo those many years.
That came from this blog.
I have a wonderful relationship with my boys because I have shared. Because I have been able to scream out the woes of a 400 blood sugar on my screen and then in the next moment turn from my computer screen, look into their eyes and smile, only to say, “No worries. We can fix that.”
I need an outlet separate from them. I can promise that they are happier children because I can pour out all my emotions here, and then resume with our own kind of normalcy in the home.
I have certain guidelines when I blog. If it is personal, I ask them if it is ok to blog something. Sometimes they say no. And I respect that. Always. My nine year old is too young to answer that question, so err on the side of caution. But I never blame my children. I never share something damaging about them. I don’t even use their names. Hell, my boys walk on water, you all know that!
This expert in the front of the room who said that maybe blogging generally, rather than blogging about specific stories…I get where she is coming from.
But more than ever, I believe it is the specific stories that heal us. It is the specific stories that tell us we are not alone. There is power in those stories. There is learning, and peace that can be gleaned.
Isn’t that worth sharing?
I know it all comes down to doing what I feel is right for my family.
And I know. I KNOW…
This is right for our family. Sharing our stories helps others with their stories. And it helps me look inside myself…in those deep dark corners where my angry days sit like trophies. Those corners that I tried for so many years to deny even existed. Those corners that I can now clean up, and rearrange into something more beautiful. Something that looks more like love.
My boys’ journey is hard enough. Don’t they deserve the healthiest mother possible to rear them? Being raised by Momma Hope has to be better than being raised by Momma McBitterson.
Writing has given me the power to change our story from one of pity to one of beauty.
And that makes all of THIS, completely worthwhile.
(I am of the mindset that everyone’s opinion is of value, and we don’t all have to think the same. I welcome all comments on this subject, but ask you not make comments specifically about my blog and my family until you have read some, a few? of my posts, and know the kinds of things I share, and how I share them. Thank you!)