Things They Can’t Say: Katherine Stone

I have to admit that I’m a bit in awe of this week’s guest blogger. Katherine Stone founded Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog on postpartum depression & other mental illnesses related to pregnancy & childbirth. She been named to all sorts of “best blog” lists and is a speaker at blog conferences. AND she’s a total sweetheart. Please welcome her here to Things I Can’t Say. 

I’m not really known for not saying things. I’m kind of a loudmouth, though hopefully not in one of those annoying “gosh I can’t stand her” kind of ways.

 

I’m pretty open about myself only because my chief goal at my blog, Postpartum Progress, is eliminating stigma and creating a safe place for women with postpartum depression and anxiety, and other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. If you’re eliminating stigma, you have to talk publicly about your mental health problems, and I have to say that it doesn’t bother me.

 

I’m grateful to Shell, though, for asking me to share her space to talk about things I don’t have the chance to normally.  Today I want to talk about blogging.

 

I started my blog eight years ago in 2004, back in the dinosaur ages of blogging.  It was easier back then. There was no Twitter. No Pinterest. IPads had not yet been invented. We didn’t have to integrate everything we wrote with everything else, like Facebook and Google+. And StumbleUpon. And whatever else these technology whippersnappers come up with in the next five minutes, and again five minutes after that. Social media has become an industry, as everything innovative eventually does I suppose.

 

What’s great about that is the fact that social media has allowed so many people to find and use their voices. They can affect change. They can find people who understand. They can help others. They can show the world how funny or helpful or insightful they are, and they don’t need permission from anyone else to do it. That makes me happy. I know many women who started out with a single blog post, just like the rest of us, and now they have companies and nonprofits and published books and theater shows and TV appearances and their own TV shows.  They MADE their space in the world.

 

The rest of social media is … well … less great.

 

I’ve been a full-time volunteer blogger for seven of my eight years blogging. My goal was never to make money, but to help people. That made it pretty easy, actually, to worry about nothing other than putting out useful stories about PPD. Just putting ideas into that little square Typepad box, and eventually WordPress box, and hitting publish. So easy.

 

Last year, though, I started a noprofit so I could expand my ability to raise awareness about postpartum depression. This means I have to raise money, and lots of it. So now, for the first time, I have a sponsor. (Thank you, Jenny’s Light.) I have advertising. (Thank you, BlogHer Publishing Network).  I’m giving speeches for a fee.  100% of the proceeds of the sponsorship, the blog advertising and the speaking fees go to my nonprofit, and I’m proud I can do that.  I also started doing work to contribute money to my family for the first time in a long time, by writing for Babble and for the UN Foundation.

 

I’m grateful for the opportunities – SO grateful – but I’m also stressed out. As are many of you. I see so many bloggers buried under an avalanche of email and deadlines and worries about traffic and how much time they’re taking away from their families and whether they can afford to go to that blogging conference and how many ads they should put in their sidebar and whether they should ask people to vote for them one more time for that blogging award. I’m right with them.

 

Do you feel like that? It doesn’t matter what size blog you have or how long you’ve been doing it … it feels to me like we’re all in the same boat. It’s so exciting to have people recognize your work and invite you to participate in things. It’s thrilling to have someone offer to pay you. And yet sometimes you wonder if the pressure is worth it. You wonder whether you’ve lost the purity and beauty of what you started in the first place.

 

I know I now have more choices, more responsibility and more opportunities to blow it.  All this is helping me learn to accept myself more. To be okay with the impossibility of perfection.  To know that I have helped people and continue to help people and have met and continue to meet my initial objective when I started Postpartum Progress. To know that some people won’t be okay with every choice I make, and that I can’t make everyone happy. I’m hoping that people will see I’m trying my best, and that my intentions are good. I’ve opted out of voting contests forever. I haven’t looked at Klout in at least six months, and never will again. I spend almost zero time looking at Google Analytics. I’m doing my best to meet all my deadlines. My goal is to become an even fuller version of me and to do interesting things, and I want to support other women on the net attempting the same.

 

Right now I’m in a space in my life where I’m trying to figure it all out. I don’t think anyone can have it all. I know I can’t. Every day of my life is a series of trades.  I have a limited number of hours and I can only do some of what is on the pile. Parenting. Writing. Emailing. Laundry. Taking a shower. Pitching. Returning calls. Tweeting. Cleaning up cat puke. I’m thinking many of you may be in the exact same space.

 

I’m cheering for all of us.

 

We’ll figure it out.

 

 

Oh wow, can I relate! Can you? Please leave Katherine some comment love here. Also be sure to check out Postpartum Progess as well as Katherine’s Babble posts. You can find her on twitter and facebook as well. 

 

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Comments

  1. “And whatever else these technology whippersnappers come up with in the next five minutes, and again five minutes after that.” I love that. Great post and it’s right to remember why we or why “I” started blogging. Because it’s so much fun and there are some moments when I feel I really help people. Keep on helping people.

  2. Katherine, you’ve said it so well. We’re all just trying our best to juggle it all, and still have some semblance of sanity and a big slice of happiness. 

    You’re amazing and inspiring, and I wish you well!
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..I Wonder . . .My Profile

  3. What a fabulous post.  Katherine I am so thankful you are helping people.  I have experienced the normal post partum blues after my first and second child.  But it was more extreme post partum anxiety after my third and fourth child.  It was more difficult after my third.  Its hard when no one around you has gone through it or really understands.  Talking about it, understanding it,  and reaching out to others made me feel better.  You are doing great things!  AS for the changes and struggles in this world we call blogging I can completely relate.  
    Nicole {at} Modern Style Mama recently posted..3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Mom #vlogmomMy Profile

  4. Recognizing that no one can have it all is huge!  Right there, you just helped me, again.  Thank you for sharing.
    Jen recently posted..Toddler activities {Water play}My Profile

  5. We have to priorite in order to be successful at what matters. It’s hard sometimes but that’s life. 
    Jessica recently posted..Standing At The Crossroads. Again.My Profile

  6. I relate so much!! I have finally gotten to the point where I’m (mostly) okay with not making every twitter chat, or being on Pinterest daily, or reading every post in my reader, or…….you get the point. There is so much stuff. Some days I still feel like I might drown, but I’ve learned a good antidote for that is shutting down the computer and giving myself permission to walk away. 
    Tracie recently posted..Having A Sex Offender For A Preacher Means Children Can’t Attend ServicesMy Profile

  7. I hear you, sister. Not that my piddly little blog requires that much of my time. (No ads, don’t even know what Klout is, etc.)

    However, I do feel the pressure to post more often. Some of my readers have requested that I write daily posts, but I’m too free-spirited (read: LAZY) for that. I’m afraid daily blogging would feel like a JOB. *** I’m with you on speaking out about mental illness too. I’m bipolar and have been stable on meds for 10 years now. There’s a stigma and a lot of misconceptions about people with bipolar disorder. *Ponders a moment* Now that I think about it, my crazy ass might not be the best spokesperson! :D
    Danielle recently posted..Shite happens.My Profile

  8. I think this is great advice for anybody, but ESPECIALLY for bloggers who have been through PPD or are just generally susceptible to depression.  Because I think that if you’re one of those people (and I am), Doing Too Much for too long almost inevitably leads to a crash, eventually.  We need to take care of ourselves too!
    Jadzia@Toddlerisms recently posted..Mommy’s Pteromerhanophobia Outweighs Her Desire to Encourage the Kids: A Scene From the Dinner TableMy Profile

  9. Wow! You have proven that you are the woman of greatness, being full-time volunteer blogger for seven of my eight years blogging? Socially great…
    Luna recently posted..monitor audio rx6 reviewMy Profile

  10. I absolutely adore Katherine. I met her at BlogHer and still feel warm from her embrace and kind words. She’s lovely. xoxo
    tracy@sellabitmum recently posted..The Most Romantic Anniversary Post EVER!My Profile

  11. I am always feeling like I’m playing the game of “catch up” with getting my blog off the ground, and I’ve been blogging since 2007, much longer than most of those that I follow and are much more popular than mine. I just have to learn to let it roll of my back, and try to remember why i started blogging in the first place, for my kids!
    mrs.monica recently posted..It’s Got to be the Hormones, Right?!My Profile

  12. There are always way too many things to do. My blog is really just little and for me but I still have trouble trying to find time to spend on it even though it helps me so much to write. I have limited my social media to twitter and facebook. I can’t fit in any others at this time. And I’m ok with that. Ya gotta prioritize, right?
    Denise recently posted..ER AdventureMy Profile

  13. I never realized blogging has been around that long. The fact you’ve been here that long proves you know a lot more (and can balance life a lot better) than you think you do. Give yourself some credit. :)
    Cindi recently posted..A Mother’s LegacyMy Profile

  14. I can’t believe that I’ve written about the same thing today! Social Media is overwhelming, and I think we have to make even more of an effort to stay focused on where our heart is. You can’t do it all. It’s not possible. Being a member of every social site out there, sin’t why I want to blog/write. I have to remember that. Every day!

    Yes, I am also grateful for the friendships and (hopefully) opportunities that await me, but sometimes it’s too much to take in.  Great post!
    Adrienne recently posted..Why I hate social media.My Profile

  15. So true! I can totally relate! I might just try not looking at analytics for a while.
    Keri recently posted..Fort Worth weekend on a budget: April 20-22My Profile

  16. Wow…totally agree with it all. I’ve been blogging since 2008 and for a couple of years it was fun and then everyone started getting so serious with their blogging. I kind of felt like I got lost in the shuffle. Going to head over to your blog because this last pregnancy, I was diagnosed with PPD and it was a challenge to even see the light…it is amazing that you are there for support.
    Jenny recently posted..Baby Yoga . . .My Profile

  17. It’s nice to hear that we are all in the same boat! Except I’m cleaning up dog puke over here…
    Christine @ MoreThanMommies recently posted..Best Day EVER (this week) #8My Profile

  18. Yes, even when I started blogging almost four years ago- I wasn’t on FB as I didn’t want “one more thing to do”– and now I am on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbeled upon, etc etc. I think that is why there feels like there is this shift in the blogging world right now– in a lot of ways it is just asking too much for most of us– so we do have to find what is right and what works
    Emmy recently posted..Celebrate Earth Day With BBC: A Giveaway!My Profile

  19. I’m with Emmy, that was pretty much what I was gonna say!
    MiMi recently posted..F-Bomb Friday!!My Profile

  20. I’m loving all of your comments. Thank you! And thank you Shell for having me!

  21. So very true! I’m not nearly where you are, but I’m trying to figure out what I can do to increase blog traffic and develop freelancing opportunities, and generally try to turn this into a paying gig for my family. And oy I am OVERWHELMED!! Nice to meet you. It seems like you’ve hit it on the head.
    Jester Queen recently posted..Beginning at WoolfMy Profile

  22. I love you. Seriously. Not in a creepy way though.
    Kimberly recently posted..There’s Nothing That I Wouldn’t Do…Except Oprah…Unless The Lights Were OffMy Profile

  23. Great post!! I’m a newbie blogger and getting it all done..is..well..daunting sometimes..I really hate to look at my analytics too..although they are good for a newbie..but I just don’t want it to OWN me..Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings!
    Shari Lynne @ Faith Filled Food for Moms recently posted..I Was There..When God sees..Sexual Abuse Awareness MonthMy Profile

  24. Someone gave me good advice today.  She said that no one else knows what we want or intend to do, only what we actually do.  So, we are the only ones disappointed when we don’t actually of 90% of what we wanted to do done.  No one else knew what was on that list but us.  We all need to give ourselves a big break.

  25. Yep, I’m right there with you. So many emails go unanswered for days, my reader piles up. I can’t keep up all the time and lately I haven’t wanted to. So I don’t. I let myself be ok with what I can do while I live outside of my computer. Sure I love blogging and the people, but I have to force myself to walk away sometimes.

    And thank you for your blog and the work you do for so many of us.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Life’s Lessons: The Tired, Whiny EditionMy Profile

  26. This couldn’t be more timely for me. I’ll have only been blogging for a year, and though I don’t have a huge mass of people following me, I still feel a responsibility to put out current content. And of course, funny anecdotes since after all, I’m The Anecdotal Baby. I confess it’s been really difficult lately. I’m a stay-at-home mom and finding time to write, take care of chores, the hubby and a toddler, make play dates, etc… I sometimes feel overwhelmed and COMPLETELY drop out of social media and pop back when I can. Which I know isn’t helpful to a bigger goal of making a respected, well-known blogging space. Honestly, I’d love to become a bigger blogger, but I’m also realistic. Sacrificing time with my family just isn’t in the cards right now, so I blog during nap times or when the hubs has a late work night, and for now, I’m happy with that. Thanks so much for this post! I feel a little less guilty every time I read about another bloggers journey.
    The Anecdotal Baby recently posted..Bye, Bye BoobsMy Profile

  27. Katherine sounds wonderful. I have never read her blog, but I am so happy for the introduction. :)
    Kim recently posted..SHOOT.EDIT.SUBMIT. 04.20.12.My Profile

  28. Mothers are good at multi tasking . I am a weekend blogger as I work during weekdays  which I also spend blog hopping , leaving comments, grabbing badges and thinking of  what to write next. My job is so demanding as I work during evenings and spend my days being a mom and catching up on my sleep which is usually less that eight hours. Most of my colleagues still cannot believe I still have time to blog. But since I love what I do , I just have to be content with that . Besides , if my audience had learned to love me for what you write. I cannot see the reason why it would be hard for them to accept that I am also human who needs to rest sometimes.
    sarah recently posted..The Art of Letting GoMy Profile

  29. Ohhhhh my stars, the last paragraph really summed it up perfectly. (Including, sadly, the cat puke.)

    PREACH.

    love, Keely

  30. Oh yes…I get this.  I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years and I make no money.  Making money wasn’t the point when I started – I wanted to help other NYC/Bronx moms raising autistic children.  

    And it takes a lot of time and energy.  Working full time, going to grad school, advocating for my son – I’m buring the candle at both ends.  I am telling myself it’s all for him – I hope that I am right.  
    Lisa ~ AutismWonderland recently posted..Words With: Christina Mendez ~ Model, Mom, AdvocateMy Profile

  31. I used to look at my stats all the time when i was on Blogger now that i have switched to WP, I’m just hhappy to see the friends i have made show up in my comments. It’s like real life to me…quality over quanity. You’ve got it right…don’t worry about the next new social media tool, they’ll never be able to compete or catch up to your big heart! :-)
    Kristen recently posted..It’s Not Easy Being The OldestMy Profile

  32. Absolutely awesome. Thanks so much for opening up about all of this, Katherine. You, my sweet friend, rock. As does Shell, for her amazingly open space here! I’m so glad I happened by in my goal to catch up with the rest of the blogging universe after some time away. Many hugs to you both and I believe we’ll all do it, too! Whatever IT is we want to do!
    Andrea recently posted..Muffin Tin Ices!My Profile

  33. I love this  - there’s so very much to be said for figuring it out, and for cheering each other on.
    Galit Breen recently posted..Walking WishesMy Profile

  34. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it, again. Blogging is a job. And, I’m always stunned by the number of young women who have added this job to their daily lives of raising a family. (Come to think of it, many of those blogs I followed have fallen by the wayside because the women had babies and discovered they couldn’t keep up.) Unless, you’re making serious money from a blog, I don’t understand why a daily posting is necessary. Do I want people to read and comment on my blog? Of course. I love each and every one. Do I need to post every day? No, a resounding no. That’s too much work to create and far too much to expect of readers. Do you read a book, a day? I doubt it. But, get enough followers or blogs you want to follow and that becomes the expectation. I think you should go easy on yourselves. Reduce the blogging to two or three times a week and give some time back to the real world. No one’s going to stop following you and will probably be excited to see your name come up in the Reader. Just my two cents.
    SharleneT recently posted..Sharlene’s Slumgullion from the Solar OvenMy Profile

  35. Thank you Katherine – I love the idea of the beauty and purity of something that is supposed to help or connect to others. For me, that’s what blogging is about.
    Angela recently posted..My Husband is SupermanMy Profile

  36. If we were all so honest, imagine the drop in struggling moms trying to keep up with the imagined perfection.

    THANK YOU.
    Alexandra recently posted..Things I Eat Now Because I Can And I Never Had As A KidMy Profile

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