Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Reflection and What's To Come

I probably say this every year, but how quick has this year gone? So much has happened for me in 2017 that I truly don’t know where to begin.
The end of 2016 saw us find out that we were expecting a new addition to the family, which also brought about its own worries for the start of 2017. Having to wait until our twelve week scan to ensure our little one wasn’t affected by Zika left me feeling on edge and anxious; we had conversations that no parents should have to discuss - the “what ifs?”. Luckily we never had to act upon these conversations and our beautiful daughter arrived perfectly healthy, albeit rather speedily
The same time that we officially announced to the world that we were expanding our brood, I also became a home owner. If anyone had told me that I would ever own my own home, let alone before thirty, I’d have laughed at them. Whilst my husband owned our home before, this was the first time I had ever been named on a mortgage and the feeling was, and still is, amazing.
I watched my toddler turn into a little girl overnight; whilst we always knew she would be a diva in her own right, her sass is on another level. She has even perfected the hands on her hips pose at two and a half! Also, can we talk about her hair?! I always thought she would be bald for her first school photo but she finally has some! She is also now fully potty trained day and night, something of which I didn’t think would happen this year.
I’ve made some amazing new friendships, strengthened the ones that I already have, but unfortunately lost some too. Other local mums and fellow bloggers have now become good friends of mine and have helped me through a lot. Those who have been there for years, with 2017 being no different, have listened to me whinge and cry, but have also been there to help me celebrate my successes - they were the first people to know about Florrie; as soon as a got the two lines on the stick and also the first to know I was in labour and that she had been born. They talked (okay, text) me through the labour and had a laugh at my expense when all eventually went quiet and they thought my husband was delivering our daughter at the side of the road! 
Trips to see friends have been commonplace in 2017 and I am sure that 2018 will be no different. 
Some friendships have dwindled through no fault of their own - life just got in the way. Having children changes a lot of things; whilst the majority of my friends are understanding as to why I’ve not seen them for months, I’m not sure if others are. Just last night I managed to catch up with a friend who I hadn’t seen since my baby shower in July and it was as though we had only seen each other the week before - those are the people I cherish.
My blog work has increased and provided me with some amazing opportunities; a weeks trip to Bluestone which provided amazing memories with Aoife for me to look back on and smile. I was also filmed for a BBC documentary which hopefully will be aired in the New Year and had the chance to experience a Birth Photography photoshoot.
I have been able to treat my family to things that I didn’t think I would be able to before as I was on a part time wage; Aoife has been obsessed with her Yippie Yo and my husband has finally got a tweed jacket after years of wanting one. My sister in law also bagged herself a Perfect Prep machine for her little bundle due in a few weeks.
I have amassed a social media following of 4.4k, which to a lot of bloggers isn’t huge, but to me it really is! I have been able to use this platform to help pour my heart out and vent my frustrations, but to also help raise awareness of something that is very close to my heart; Surrogacy. 2017 was the year that I finally took the plunge into pursuing something I have longed to do for fifteen years. My Surrogacy post was actually my most viewed in 2017 and the feedback I received was truly amazing. I have gotten to know some fantastic surrogates and intended parents through Facebook groups and cannot wait to use my platforms to document my own journey.
With 2018 literally just a couple of days away, I thought it would be a good idea to set some “aims” and to document what I have to look forward to over the upcoming year.
Firstly, my eldest will be turning three in April and starting nursery school in September. She is no longer my baby but my grown up little girl and I know she is going to do amazing at school - she’s definitely a “smart cookie” as she likes to say!
With Florrie we have her first birthday and naming ceremony to look forward to. Earlier this year I spoke about things I would do differently with Florrie, a naming ceremony over a baptism being one of them. Being a religion hating Atheist, it seemed a lot more fitting compared to the baptism we had with Aoife. I have a blog post planned with all the inspiration I have found ready!
Trips and events also play a part in 2018; the first being in January where I will be heading over to Ireland for the weekend to attend my sister in law’s baby shower which I can’t wait for as it’ll be Aoife’s first time on an aeroplane since she became obsessed with them. In February I will be heading to Birmingham with my soul sisters, the women who I met whilst I was pregnant with Aoife - they truly have been a godsend to me the last few years and I would now be lost without them. Come March I will be heading back to Ireland to stand in as my new niece/nephew’s Godmother - again something that I am so excited for! In April we will be visiting Las Vegas for my birthday with my husband and another couple. The last time I went to Las Vegas I was around nine weeks pregnant with Aoife and there is a good chance that I will be pregnant again this time (more on that later). The rest of the year will remain fairly quiet with my return to work in June, but I do have an Ed Sheeran concert to look forward to!
I also have the pleasure of meeting new additions in 2018; my Sister in Law and several friends are all expecting their bundles of joy next year and I can't wait for some newborn snuggles, whilst knowing that I can hand them right back over. I'm also looking forward to seeing the new parents grow and adapt to their new parenting roles.
The biggest thing for me in 2018 is the possibility of my surrogacy journey resulting in the most amazing gift a couple could ever receive. I am hoping that by Christmas 2018 I will either have helped complete a family or be in the process of doing so. Surrogacy is something of which a lot of people don’t know much about; they think it is seedy or “wrong” and a lot of religions don’t agree with it. What I think of surrogacy is simple - there are people out there who unfortunately aren’t able to carry their own children; this could be down to gender, sexual orientation, illness and more. There are also women out there who enjoy pregnancy and enjoy helping people. IVF and other fertility treatments are available to help couples possibly achieve their dreams, even if it means that someone else gives them a helping hand along the way.
I hope to use my blog and social media as platforms to grow awareness of surrogacy and how commonplace it is becoming.
Blog wise, I hope to keep growing my social media following and to increase my Domain Authority further; currently it is at 24, but I would love to reach 30 by this time next year. 2017 has been successful in regards to the opportunities that I have been provided, but in 2018 I would love to start making a small living from my blog. To do this, I will need to be a lot more consistent and plan ahead, which I will be working on. Content planning will need to be my main focus in regards to my blog in 2018.
I hope that you will all stick around for the next year to follow all of my journeys!

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