Today marks one year to the day that I launched this blog. This past year has been a great experience, and I’ve learned so much about myself as a mother, a writer, and a person. I want to share some reflections over the past year – the highs, the lows, and my views for the future.
Believe it or not, I originally didn’t even want to start this blog. I have this annoying habit of downing myself before I even get started and convincing myself that it’s not going to work. My best friend, Heather, works in PR and part of her job involves working with bloggers and influencers. Even when I was still pregnant, she was trying to talk me into starting a blog. She told me that I was a talented writer and that while there were tons of white mom bloggers out there, there weren’t nearly as many black ones, and it was a niche that needed to be filled. Plus, she said, having twins, NICU babies, and a high-risk pregnancy made our story even more interesting. I had plenty of excuses – I don’t have time, there are enough bloggers in the world – but the biggest reason I didn’t want to get started was because I was afraid I would fail. I had convinced myself that nobody would read it or that it would be poorly received. Still, she pressed on, and when I told her I’d decided to stay home with the twins instead of going back to work, she asked what would stop me now? I was out of answers. She gave me a list of action items – pick a domain name, lock it down on social media channels and start writing, and off I went.
The year since then has been a crazy one. I’ve gone from talking about feeding schedules and sink baths to discipline and childproofing for a toddler. What’s more is how much my Instagram following has grown. I’ve had so much love and support from strangers worldwide who have watched Alexander and Nathan grow. People everywhere laughing, celebrating, and crying with us. The most memorable day by far has been their first birthday. “Happy birthday from France!” “Happy birthday from Nigeria!” One woman sent me a message saying “Happy birthday from Italy. Alex and Nathan have aunties everywhere.” Y’all, I read that and started real life crying. I just never expected such an outpouring of love for my family, and it really humbled me.
My favorite messages, though, are the ones I get from NICU parents. I’ve been very open about our NICU story, sharing the emotional rollercoaster of hope, anxiety, joy, and disappointment having a child in the NICU is and the guilt I felt for not being able to take care of the twins when they were first born. I’ve gotten so many messages from women saying they had a child in the NICU and our story has given them hope for their baby and has made their road just a little easier for that day. It’s the most moving thing ever and it never gets old. When the twins were in the NICU, I felt like we had almost no one who understood what we were going through. Starting this blog has given me a platform to share our experience and hope with others, and it has been amazing.
It hasn’t all been easy. I had been suffering from postpartum depression, and last winter, when the twins got croup and we were housebound for two weeks, I crumbled. I didn’t write a single blog post for about a month and barely posted on social media, too sad and defeated to do anything. It was hard to pick myself back up, but with the support of my loved ones I managed to do so. I used the experience though, and shared a very personal account of my struggle with PPD and the feedback I got was incredible. So many women have shared that same experience and we all got to support each other.
Plus, I’ve had some of my pictures go viral on Instagram or Facebook feature pages. This was a weird experience, because while the response is normally positive, I’ve gotten some ugly comments and nasty trolls. At first, I had a really difficult time with it – people don’t hold back on the Internet, and they said some hurtful things (mostly about my appearance.) When I recreated Beyonce’s “twin reveal” picture, I got hate mail from the Beyhive, telling me I was too ugly to ever be like her. Now, I don’t read the comments if we get featured somewhere, and my block game is STRONG – I will block any and everyone who seems even the least bit negative with no remorse. Still, the negative experiences haven’t been enough to run me away, especially because we have so many great friends and followers who come to our defense if anything says anything out of the way. If anything, it’s made me happy that we have so many people willing to go to bat for us.
I’ve shared just about everything we’ve been through the past year, the good and the bad – the various illnesses, the NICU stay, the physical therapy, my struggles with my weight (and the subsequent weight loss), maintaining my marriage, co-sleeping when everyone told me to stop and sleep train, formula feeding when I wanted to breastfeed, depression, anxiety – I’ve tried my hardest to be honest and real. And the response has been astounding. From the bottom of my heart – thank you, thank you, thank you.
Blogging has been a great experience and something that I plan to continue. It is my hope that one day I’ll be on here sharing our transition to kindergarten, strategies for dealing with twin teenagers, and reflections at their high school graduation. Thank you for reading and for sharing in my family’s lives. It has been a labor of love that I could not have done without all of you.