As of 2010, according to eMarketer, 3.9 million women with children under age 18 were writing blogs on a range of topics, including parenting. That figure was projected to reach 4.4 million in 2014. Nearly 17.3 million mothers who used the Internet were reading blogs at least once a month as of 2010, eMarketer reported.
For the typical blogging mum, the goal is not to achieve the most hits or generate income through advertising, but to share the experience of motherhood with others.
As my confidence grows and the dynamics of my blog change, I want to be able to provide advice to new mums who are in the same position as I was several months ago—terrified, overwhelmed and exhausted.
Lynne Thomson, author of the blog Ooh Baby — All Things Cuteable
Blogging: A modern day therapy?
Blogging represented an important stage in Lynne Thomson's new life as a mother. She started a blog after being diagnosed with postpartum depression—also called postnatal depression—when her daughter Maya was 8 months old.
"I was feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of being a new mother and struggling with the huge change to our lives," she said. "I had completely lost my identity and my sense of self-worth. I was completely lost."
Having suffered from periods of depression since her teenage years, the 37-year-old from Ayrshire, Scotland, was determined to take control of her situation. As part of her recovery, she set goals, one of which was starting a blog. She launched Ooh Baby — All Things Cuteable in January 2011.
"I desperately wanted to chat to other mothers for support," she said. "I wanted to make sure my feelings were normal."
Thomson was hardly the only mother that felt that way. Blogging gives those mothers a sense of belonging.
"Blogging allows people to feel connected to a community," said Dr. Cheryl Rezek, a consultant clinical psychologist and the author of "Life Happens: Waking Up to Yourself and Your Life in a Mindful Way." "It enables them to express their views and to be listened to, even if the audience is invisible," said Rezek, whose practice is based in South Buckinghamshire, England. "This can provide the anonymity that a mother looks for in order to say things she might not feel comfortable saying to someone sitting in front of her, whether due to anxiety, fear or shame."
Thomson wanted to write about the range of lovely baby gifts she came across on the Internet during the many long nights of insomnia she experienced at the height of postpartum depression. Ooh Baby — All Things Cuteable quickly became a lot more than that. She has since blogged about her bouts of depression and other traumatic or emotional aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.
"As my confidence has grown, I find myself being able to open up more," she said. "Blogging is a way of finding my voice without being judged."
The blogs are also helpful to readers. A mother suffering from postpartum depression, or feeling anxious, confused or inadequate following childbirth, may turn to another mother's blog as an alternative to an in-person support group. Mum blogs have thus become a significant potential support network.
Safety in numbers
You're never too busy to blog
Simple tips from moms who blog:
Just blog. The wide range of blog hosting platforms—many of which are free—means you have no excuse not to get started. Check out what platforms are used by other mom blogs you like to read. "Don't be frightened to approach other bloggers for advice if you like something on their page," suggested Lynne Thomson, the author of the blog Ooh Baby — All Things Cuteable.
Set aside time for your blog. Whether it is half an hour at the end of each day or an hour every weekend, making regular updates to your blog will sustain the momentum and help you avoid the pitfall of many newbie bloggers who abandon their blogs soon after creation. "Don't feel that every entry has to be a work of literary genuis," said Rachelle Wilkinson, author of the blog Wilkinson Quints +2. "Remember that the most important person you are writing for is you."
Make connections. Introduce yourself to other bloggers by linking up with memes or linkys—blog speak for ideas and add-ons—they host. Read posts and leave some positive feedback. "If someone leaves a comment, I always visit their blog and comment back," Thomson said. "I've met some really lovely, amazing people from all over the world this way."
Enjoy it. Whatever your reason is to have a blog, remember it is all yours.
"You decide what you want to talk about, when and how often you want to post," Thomson said. "The most important thing is to enjoy it. Have some fun!"