Hello and welcome to the first instalment of the ‘Bloggers Showcase’ – a new series I will be running over the coming weeks and months to share with my lovely readers some of the brilliant bloggers and blogs that have inspired, encouraged and challenged me in recent times. The blogging community is so rich and diverse, with so many amazing stories and lives being shared and I wanted to create a space for some of the wonderful bloggers I have encountered to showcase their work. I have really come to learn that folk in the blogging world are so encouraging and supportive of one another and I want the Bloggers Showcase to be a celebration of that positivity and interconnective energy. I really hope you enjoy!
First up is the wonderful Caro from The Cuckoo Mama…
I’m Caro, Mum to Sam and Pepper pup and wife to Hugh. I’m a stay at home mama, IVF warrior, ruler of the household and, like to think, all round good egg! I started The Cuckoo Mama in May, last year, and since then have begun writing for the Huff Post UK, The Baby Spot and various fertility charities. I volunteer for Fertility Network UK and am a Fruitful Fertility mentor. I blog about the roller-coaster that is infertility and the, subsequent, pandemonium that is parenting. Working, with charities, and individually, to break the taboo which surrounds infertility and miscarriage.
1. I love all the different blog names out there in the blogosphere and the meanings behind them. Can you tell me how you decided on your blog name?
The village I live in is named after the cuckoos who apparently still loiter, seasonally, around the area! I initially set my blog up to be more local-centric and so the Cuckoo Mama fitted beautifully. Even though my blog didn’t become anything to do with my local area, the name still feels right and I’m still very happy with it! I’ll also be honest here and confess that my husband actually thought of the name!
2. Can you tell me a little bit about the focus/vision/ethos behind your blog?
As mentioned, I initially wanted to create a forum of play ideas, recipes and crafts, combined with what was going on for children in my local area. The first couple of posts I wrote were very much along those lines but the words just didn’t seem to flow and I felt as though I wasn’t being true to myself and my life. I absolutely never intended to write about infertility or how hard it can actually be dealing with all the emotions involved in parenting; my blog really did just seem to take a life of its own and grow in that direction. And I’m now incredibly proud of it! I’d like to be seen as an honest writer who isn’t afraid to raise tough subjects and a blogger who readers can relate to and resonate with. I also do like to throw a bit of humour in there every now and again; if we can’t laugh about it all then we might as well just give up now!
3. Who, or what inspired you to start out on your blogging adventure and how has the journey been so far?
Good question! I’m not sure here! I have always had a love of writing but was terrified of the technical side of things as I’m an utter technophobe. My husband very much encouraged me to take the leap, held my hand through the setting up and helped me to find the confidence to continue! I haven’t looked back and my blogging journey has been incredible! I’ve had such wonderful engagement with my posts and have got to know some incredible people. It was very humbling to be in the running for the UK Blog Awards this year, but also a nice feeling to realise that I didn’t need the validation, of winning, to know I’m doing a good job!
4. How challenging is it to find the time to write good content with work and family commitments? Do you have a set time or day that you set aside specifically for blogging?
It’s so difficult to find the time! I’m a stay at home mum with a toddler who is currently only doing two hours a week at pre-school! The only time I get to myself during the day is nap time, so I tend to try and write as much as I can then. If I’m really on a roll then I’ll write after bedtime too, but I try not to use that time as it’s important to me that my husband and I see each other properly, and time does get away with me when I write!
5. Which of your blog posts has attracted the most readers?
Definitely this one https://thecuckoomama.co.uk/2017/08/02/infertility-friends/
It got picked up by Australia’s 9Honey website and has been used by a few fertility charities too. I think it resonated with those going through IVF and those family and friends supporting them. It’s a piece I wish I’d had the strength to write during my own cycles of IVF.
6. If a reader only has time to click on one blog post of yours which one would you recommend?
That’s a tough one! Eeeks… I’m going to go with this post https://thecuckoomama.co.uk/2018/02/20/go-forth-fly/ I think it’s possibly the embodiment of so much that I try to cover, on my blog, in one post. It still brings a tear to my eye when I read it and think of my little boy forging his own way in the world.
7. How is 2018 unfolding so far and do you have any exciting plans or adventures planned?
It’s unfolding incredibly well! As far as my blog is concerned, it was super to be a shortlisted finalist in the UK Blog Awards, I’ve also started to write a few freelance pieces and am excited about what the future holds for my writing. Personally, we’ve a wonderful year ahead of family holidays, thanks to weddings and birthdays and the bad weather making us want to head off to warmer climes! A real highlight was our South African trip, in February, which was simply magical with our son. A real trip of a lifetime.
8. What would you say to anyone thinking about starting their own blog?
Just do it! And enjoy it and don’t put pressure on yourself. I try to keep away from the stats, and all of those sorts of things, as I found they could make me feel competitive with myself and I wasn’t really comfortable with that. However, the writing side of it, I love. It’s brought me a lot of healing and peace and is a wonderful creative outlet.
9. What keeps you motivated in everyday life and in the blogging world?
My family, in both my everyday and my blogging life. My husband and I fought so hard for the opportunity to be parents that our beautiful boy is incredibly motivating. I’m also motivated by all those fellow infertility warriors out there, those who, like me, have their miracles, those who are still fighting with treatments and cycles of IVF, and those who have ended their battle and are trying to find peace in a life so different from the one they imagined. If I can help just one person feel less alone, or more supported, in their journey then I know I’m on the right track. I’m a Christian too and am motivated by my faith, again in both my writing and general life.
10. How has blogging impacted your life? Has your outlook on the world changed? Has the way you live changed?
It’s definitely taken over whatever free time I have and encouraged me to sleep next to a pen and paper – why does inspiration always come in the middle of the night?! My outlook has changed too; I never realised the world of blogging was so huge and so versatile! I find it incredibly refreshing that anyone can write about anything and that the internet can actually be a place of support and care. I’ve interacted with and met some wonderfully brave people who inspire me and who I can learn from. I wouldn’t necessarily say the way I live has changed but, family and friends definitely now know so much more about me, the journey to my son and the struggle we went through; it’s not that I wasn’t upfront about our treatment at the time, but more that in reflecting on my experiences I can be more honest.
11. If you had to recommend one other blog that inspires or encourages you what would it be?
I absolutely love Kate on Conservation. Kate is inspiring and passionate and an incredibly lovely person too. Definitely check her blog out. (WATCH THIS SPACE! THE LOVELY KATE FROM KATE ON CONSERVATION WILL BE FEATURING ON THE BLOGGERS SHOWCASE SOON!
12. Where can we find you on social media?