Each week we are highlighting a different Chronic Illness Bloggers’ member as our ‘Blogger of the Week‘. As well as getting to know each other better, we hope that you enjoy this series and that you find the interviews with each member to be insightful and helpful.
This week our blogger of the week is Yvonne of The Zebra Mom.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Ireland. My background is in Journalism and I have worked for various newspapers. I have two children, AJ and Ollie.
In 2013 I was diagnosed with EDS and Dysautonomia. Interestingly, I figured out the diagnosis after interviewing a sufferer for the newspaper I wrote for at the time the year before. In 2014 my son AJ was diagnosed with EDS too. My daughter Ollie was born in 2015 and almost immediately showed signs of inheriting both EDS and POTS.
There are no specialists here in Ireland and very little awareness of the conditions. We are always fundraising to travel to London for treatment. We hope that the children won’t be as badly affected as I am since they have been diagnosed early.
Since my diagnosis, I have been writing about EDS as much as I can, both on my blog and in national media outlets. I also speak at medical conferences and have been heavily involved in running charities and support groups here in Ireland.
I spend most days looking at the same four walls. I spend weeks at a time stuck inside the house. When I do feel somewhat good I take advantage of living on the coast and going to the beach for a gentle stroll. I also produce and co-host a radio show which helps me keep my mind off being ill. Getting involved in projects helps me focus on the future and gives me a purpose beyond EDS and looking after my children.
I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding too. It’s a big passion of mine and I plan on studying to become a lactation consultant to support women who may not have access to the correct information or support. Many women and health professionals for that matter believe if you’re chronically ill and taking medicines that you can not breastfeed. 99% of the time it is possible and I am passionate about helping women who may need extra care while they are nursing.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called The Zebra Mom. My goal is to raise awareness of EDS and the sub-conditions, to offer advice and tips in how to cope with the condition and sometimes poke fun at being chronically ill. Sometimes humor is a great outlet.
I do occasionally write about breastfeeding and child rearing as it is a passion of mine and there is a lot of misinformation and myths out there that I would like to contribute in debunking.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I have been blogging on and off for a few years but have committed to The Zebra Mom for about a year or so now. I initially set up the page as part of my college course in Web Design. Because I can no longer commit to full-time work as a journalist, blogging has helped me keep up writing.
Being a writer and a journalist is something I have wanted to do my whole life. Having my own blog allows me to maintain my creativity and get my thoughts down which helps me process things.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I write when I have an opportunity to. I aim to post monthly but sometimes that doesn’t happen because of my illness. But, I have made it a goal for 2017 to write at least once a month but I aim to write bi-monthly
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
It has benefitted me enormously. Writing things down has helped me put a lot of things into perspective. My main goal is to reach out to other sufferers and connect with them. Being chronically ill can be very lonely.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
Many, many people don’t understand what it’s like to be ill all the time. People are so focused on illnesses such as cancer and more often than not other conditions are not being made aware of. There is a lot of ignorance in society about chronic illnesses and I believe that people who do suffer should speak out to raise awareness and bring their condition to the front next to the “big diseases”. People don’t remember that chronic illness is for life.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Write about what you know.
2. Write about what you’re passionate about.
3. Write for yourself.