Today on The Blog Lowdown, I’m really pleased to be bringing you Leigh from Headspace Perspective, a truly moving and honest blog….
Please Introduce yourself:
Hi, I’m Leigh. I blog over at Headspace Perspective.
When did you start blogging?
I started my first blog, The Pensieve, in 2011. The motivation for starting it was that I’d completed a feature writing course. My tutor encouraged me to get my work published, and I had success with a couple of them. The rest of the features, however, were sitting doing whatever the technical form of gathering dust is, so I thought I’d put them on a blog instead. If you’re interested, you can read them in the archived features section of my blog.
Tell us a little about your blog
I currently write about dealing with baby loss, birth trauma, positive pregnancy, postnatal mental health, and having a baby in a neonatal unit. This post explains the evolution of my blog.
My son Hugo was born 16 weeks prematurely in February this year because I had the rare pregnancy complications HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia. The only cure is to deliver the baby, irrespective of the gestation – without that, both mother and baby are likely to die. These conditions are absolutely devastating. Hugo was an amazing little boy, and fought so hard for life for 35 days. Sadly, he was just too small, and premature.
My blog has not only been a vital form of therapy for me in working through my grief, it is also the home of Hugo’s Legacy. In a nutshell, Hugo’s legacy is about making small but very important improvements in healthcare communication for women who have experienced a traumatic birth; for parents on a neonatal unit, and for parents whose baby or child has died (I’ve worked in NHS comms for several years – it’s my passion). It is a way of trying to make a positive out of a tragedy.
It’s also about being candid and honest about my grief journey. Mercifully, most people will never have to share my experiences, and I’m pleased about that. I hope by being open I can help break taboos, show people it’s ok to talk about baby loss, and the better ways to talk about it.
I’ve been using my blog to raise awareness of the illnesses that started it all – the trouble is, they are so (thankfully) rare few people have heard of them – HELLP syndrome especially – and so they don’t know what the signs and symptoms are. I hope I can save the life of even one mum or one baby because of my blog.
In addition, I am a proud ambassador for First Touch, which is the charity for the neonatal unit where Hugo was cared for, and for the MAMA Academy, which promotes positive pregnancy. I’ve written posts to help raise the profile of the work of these charities.
Who designed your blog?
My original blog was hosted by Blogspot but I got a bit fed up with it because the template I had chosen was limited and it didn’t have the functionality I was looking for.
I set up my current blog on WordPress, with my own domain name. Literally hours were spent searching for the perfect theme. I wanted something a bit different, and I bought the custom design package so I could make my little corner of the internet really ‘mine’. While I still tinker with the layout from time to time, I’m overall pretty happy with the look of my blog (although I am open to feedback!).
Which of your posts have been the most popular? Are there certain types that get more interest?
I have been overwhelmed at the response to Hugo’s Story, Start a Conversation about Baby Loss and HELLP Raise Awareness. Of course, I hoped people would read them – any awareness-raising campaign would be pretty rubbish otherwise – but the number of people who have read and shared them has exceeded even my wildest hopes and expectations. I am touched by the number of people who have said how much our story has moved them.
A Vent about Venting and Don’t Look Away from Precious Memories have recently been generating a lot of interest, too.
I think these have been most popular because they give readers an insight into the world of a bereaved parent, and hopefully given readers things to think about.
How do you promote your blog posts, and which methods do you find to be most successful?
I mainly use Twitter and Facebook. My friends and family are always very kind and share them with their own friends. They’re both equally successful channels for promotion, and in my experience if a post resonates, it will grow its own legs.
Which linkys do you most enjoy joining in with/reading?
I’m not sucking up, honest, but I do enjoy Word of the Week on this very blog! I discovered it about a month ago and have relished the challenge of summing up my week in one word. The Prompt is another favourite. I’ve only joined in for two weeks so far, since I discovered it. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I enjoy writing for the sake of the craft and take pleasure in exploring words.
I am also a regular on Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog posts, Victoria Welton’s PoCoLo, Single Mother Ahoy and My Life as a Mummy’s Weekend Blog Hop and the Mad Midweek Blog Hop hosted by Super Busy Mum. The alphabet photo project on PODCast Dove is fun, too.
All these linkies are great ways of finding other interesting blogs. Full respect to the lovely ladies who host them, it’s a lot of hard work I’m sure!
When are your busiest days on the blog, and why? (if you know why!)
There isn’t a particular pattern to busy and less busy days – it’s a bit random!
Can you name 3 things that blogging has brought you?
Purpose, pride and friendships.
My Top Tips for Bloggers:
1. Don’t be afraid to tackle ‘difficult’ subjects. Blogging can be such a powerful medium. Sharing your story can help someone else with the same experience.
2. I’m infamous for being a dreadful grammar pedant. In my view, if you’re serious about the written word, you need to know – and use – correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. We can all make the odd typo, but a post littered with errors undermines the credibility of even the best ideas.
3. Express your personality in your posts – it’s an extension of that oft-quoted advice about finding your own voice. Express your views and opinions (but without being rude, offensive or unnecessarily provocative). We all have interesting things to say. I want to feel like I am getting to know someone through their posts, that I am learning something new, or I have something to ponder on.
4. Remember social media is all about engagement. A feed full of self-promotion or streams of consciousness of your opinions or activities will soon get boring for your followers. Interact – share posts, make (kind) comments, offer (constructive) advice. Use tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck sparingly. They can be useful for things like keyword searches and scheduling posts, but they are no substitute for interaction.
5. You don’t have to stick to parent blogging linkies and groups to promote your posts. Think outside the box about what organisations might be interested in what you write. For example, I share relevant posts with Bliss, Tommy’s and Dying Matters on Twitter and on Facebook. This can help you gain new readers, spread messages further, as well as build networks.
Thanks very much, Leigh. Your blog is so beautifully written, and it never fails to either move me or inform me. You’re doing a brilliant job for Hugo’s Legacy, thanks so much for sharing your journey and taking us behind the scenes of your blog.
If you’ve any questions for Leigh, feel free to comment on this post, and she’ll pop by and check in. Next week, we will be hearing from Steph at Misplaced Brit so be sure to pop by for that on Tuesday morning. You can catch up the previous posts from other bloggers here, too, if you’ve missed them.
If you’d like to feature on The Blog Lowdown, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
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