It's unimaginably hard to think of young children being ill, and needing surgery. But that's what happened to Jane of Northern Mum, when her 22-month old daughter Libby-Sue was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at Christmas.
"Hip dysplasia means that Libby-Sue was born with a weak hip, which had come out of its socket and wasn't developing properly," Jane explains. "It was missed at her major healthcare checks and because of the delay, we were told she would have to undergo major surgery and spend three months in a spica – a half body cast covering the lower half of her body."
It was heart-breaking news. "I've always considered myself quite a rational parent but this experience floored me. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it," says Jane.
What Jane didn't expect was how important blogging would become to her while her daughter was undergoing treatment. "As Libby-Sue was put to sleep, I knew that not only my friends and family were holding their breath, but also all these women I'd never met were waiting to hear that she was okay."
Blogging about the spica also brought new readers to Jane's blog, each with their own experience to share. "It meant I found other places I could go to for practical advice, and I have met lots of women online with children who have had or do have a spica," says Jane.
Last week brought the news Jane and her family were hoping for – Libby-Sue's hip had recovered well enough for the spica to be removed early. "The feedback from readers has been awesome, I was bowled over by the comments and emails that flew in on the day," Jane says.
Jane has been blogging for more than two years, since the birth of her third baby. The blog began as a way to capture memories, and survive the stressful business of working and raising a young family. "Events that seemed stupidly stressful when they happened, such as the weekly shop, suddenly seem humorous when I wrote them down."
Northern Mum regularly looks at the funny side of life, kids and the random thoughts that pass through Jane's head, like wondering where her lost libido has got to or what a typical parent's day actually looks like.
Blogging is simply a hobby for Jane, so she simply writes when she has time. "If the most exciting thing to happen that week is me losing two pounds at Weight Watchers, nothing much gets written, but during Libby-Sue's surgery, I was blogging daily," she explains.
Over the past two years, Jane's blog has built up a loyal fan-base, and in 2011 she won the Best Writer award at the MAD Blog Awards. Attending the awards ceremony in London was lots of fun – although Jane brought her own special style to the evening!
"I got terribly drunk because I was sure I wouldn't win, and then when I did win, I proceeded to regale the audience with details of my underwear. My mother must be so proud!"
Twitter.com/northernmum1: I do like to Tweet a little. By which I mean I'm completely addicted.
www.amazon.co.uk: I kid myself I don't spend too much money on books. That's because they're all hidden on my Kindle.
www.mothersright.com: Although I read lots of blogs, this one's a particular favourite.
www.vertbaudet.co.uk: I am a really big fan of this site when I'm shopping for clothes for the children.
www.katetake5.com: Regularly has me in stitches, it's a fantastic blog
www.tots100.co.uk: Ideal if I'm looking for something new to read as it brings together so many of my favourite bloggers in one place.
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