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5 Pitfalls of Blogging About Your Family

Hayley Goleniowska by Hayley Goleniowska Additional Needs

Hayley Goleniowska

Hayley Goleniowska

I'm the founder of Downs Side Up. It started as a way of sharing our story and resources with other parents with a child with Down's syndrome. The...

There are so many special needs blogs these days.

These niche sites were scarce 5 years ago, out of sight and out of mind, but thankfully they are multiplying and providing support not only for others, but a cathartic release for their authors.

Blogging has brought me so much joy, excitement and a safety net of support, as well as true friends.

But there have been negative moments.

Here are some of the hurdles that can throw you off course.

Comparison with others - It's easy to end up comparing your writing, your lifestyle, yourself or your child's condition or progress to others.

You, your family and your blog are unique, so accept and celebrate that.

Pity and/or inspiration - This can be a very fine line to tread for many and you have to balance being honest and truthful and campaigning for better support whilst creating a welcoming space on your blog for others to visit time and again.

I think it's important that readers don't feel sorry for my child, or think her inspirational for doing ordinary everyday things, that would be when it all becomes patronising.

Privacy vs advocacy - There is increasing criticism of parents over-sharing information about their children with disabilities without their informed consent.

Our blogs, after all, will be a digital tattoo for the rest of their lives and this is worth bearing in mind.

My blog has certainly become less personal as the children have got older, other bloggers choose to remain anonymous.

But Downs Side Up has always been a place to showcase the voice of others with Down's syndrome too.

I think having a child with a learning disability means that we often become their advocates and without our blogs they would still be hidden and forgotten.

Their voices must be heard.

Trolling - The internet, social media seem to encourage a kind of sport where it is acceptable to write horrendous things to vulnerable people that you would never say to them in real life.

Like most bloggers we've had our fair share of trolls, some which needed police attention, and also criticism from within our community.

There’s no denying that this hurts, however many times you experience it.

Losing your way - Comparison to others, following the latest meme, competing for votes for awards, over-monetising your blog and filling it with reviews or simply accepting to help every single charity that ask you to get on board with a campaign, can all contribute to writers losing sight of why they started blogging in the first place.

As you should always pause before hitting publish, always pause before you write.

Your blog is your own space and it can quickly become hijacked.

Sometimes a blog break helps bring back the focus and reminds you of the original motivations and why your readers started following you in the first place.

It helps you find peace with your blog and maintain its authenticity.

So while I can no longer keep up with the sea of SEND blogs, each one as unique as its author, it is really heartening and important to know that they are there, and that they are making a difference and forming a safety net around us all.

So, keep writing, blog for yourself, your families, your sanity and make your voices heard.


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