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How Starting a Blog Got Me Through Postpartum Depression

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Hi there – I’m Chantal.

I’m a mom, personal trainer, and passionate writer.

Welcome to my site!

It’s been a long journey, and sometimes a rocky one, but I have been blogging for almost ten years now.

Starting a Blog Got Me Through Postpartum Depression (2)

Never in a million years did I see myself here, blogging and making an income a stay-at-home mom after so much time!

In today’s post, I want to talk about how blogging got me through postpartum depression.

But I also want to take a long hard look at what the job of blogging entails, how I got started, and the state of the blog now that I’m almost a decade deep.

If you’re a mom looking for an outlet or a side job, or you’re just curious about how another mom does things, this is for you!

I’ve written about why I started this blog, my experience with postpartum depression, and how to make money online quite a bit.

However, the blogging landscape and my personal circumstances have changed a lot over the last few years.

I’m able to look back on things and really reflect on what worked and what didn’t.

So if nitty-gritty details aren’t what you’re here for, this probably isn’t the post for you. (I tend to overshare.) 🙂

I’ve had more ups and downs as a mom and as a blogger and personal trainer than I would typically care to admit. But if it helps another mom out there who is searching for something the way I was, it’s totally worth it.

How Starting a Blog Got Me Through Postpartum Depression

It seems a little extreme to say that blogging got me through postpartum depression.

But I actually wrote a guest post about it several years ago on a prominent personal finance blog and the public reaction was really encouraging.

It’s funny how life can take you in directions you never imagined you would go.

However, I will start off by saying that I have always been a writer. It has been my one true love ever since I won a school-wide writing award in grade school.

Anyhow, how did blogging get me through postpartum depression?

Let me start from the top.

I have always been a depressive, so when I say that I had postpartum depression, know that it was rather extreme. (I started therapy and antidepressants at the age of 13.) But it wasn’t my first experience with depression.

Psst! I recently created an online nutrition course jam-packed with information on food mindset, exercise science, and nutrition education so that I could pass that knowledge on to you. Check it out!

When I had my first baby in 2014, it was after a long, difficult pregnancy.

I had hyperemesis gravidarum, which if you don’t know, is like morning sickness on steroids.

It’s totally gross, but I was puking all day and night for about the first six months. I was in and out of the hospital for IVs and I even lost twenty pounds in the first trimester alone.

That’s not ideal because I was only 130 pounds to begin with.

Anyhow, the pregnancy sucked. I wanted it to be over. The antinausea medicine made me constipated and that caused more pain and discomfort, and the overall situation required that I basically do nothing all day.

I was so sick that I had to quit my job within the first few weeks and spent most of my days lying around.

By the time I could keep food down again, I was pretty pregnant and had lost a lot of muscle mass.

I felt downright terrible for a long time before finally giving birth in an emergency c-section in April of 2014.

Looking back, I know for a fact that my birth story contributed to the severity of postpartum depression in addition to the pregnancy and hormonal issues I experienced.

I wanted an all-natural birth, and being that I was a generally healthy 22-year-old, I couldn’t imagine why things would go any other way.

But nine days past my original due date, I was induced.

The doctor and the whole team of nurses knew my birth plan, and they were going to try everything to help me go into labor gently. But after 48 hours and a round of Pitocin, the Folley bulb, and every other trick in the book, nothing was working.

My water had already been broken for almost a whole day before my daughter’s heart rate began to dip.

My doctor told me I had one more hour to “try” to give birth naturally.

By then my body was so tired and I was so out of it that I just decided that it would be safer to get her out.

(C-sections are the worst physically. I wrote a few posts about them. Here’s one on how to recover faster.)

When did the depression set in?

I wish more women were educated about the role that hormones play in depression (especially postpartum), but I’m sure that the depression set in physically almost immediately.

I struggled to breastfeed and we never quite got the hang of it. I pumped and fed and pumped and fed until my nipples bled. Still, after six months of trying, I was lucky to get maybe 2 ounces after 20 minutes.

That almost certainly contributed to feeling like a failure.

So anyway, all of these things – the rough pregnancy, disappointing birth, and discouraging nursing situation all contributed to pretty severe postpartum depression.

(Note – when you wean from breastfeeding, you can also experience depression and anxiety from the hormonal changes.)

And it was definitely not just the “baby Blues” because, for me, it lasted probably a year or more.

BUT…

During my year at home with my daughter (I had only ever intended on being home for a year. Whoops!) I had a lot of time to learn new skills.

Although I probably spent way too much time on the internet, I stumbled across a bunch of bloggers on Pinterest sharing how they made extra money.

I wanted to help out with finances, so I tried a whole bunch of their suggestions.

I tried survey sites, cash-back apps, flipping thrifts, consigning clothes, couponing, and pretty much everything else there is.

But then I started to stumble across blog income reports.

I was reading about how all of these moms were writing about their passions and interests while making money (and raising babies!).

They couldn’t allllll be lying, right?

(You know, ‘cuz half of what you see on the internet is a scam.)

So I started a blog when my daughter was several months old. I used some other blogger’s tutorial on how to set it all up, and the rest of history.

Well, actually, it’s really a long story.

First I started a mommy blog. Then I started a homesteading blog. Then I started a blogging blog. And a health blog. And a recipe blog.

I’ve probably started and owned about 15 different blogs by now.

I actually did pretty well on my mom blogging blog (lol) but I ended up selling it after a year or two.

(Did you know you could do that?! Owning a website is really not that different than owning real estate – but with a much smaller investment.)

I became fully obsessed with all things blogging. I researched and tested everything. I took online classes. I wrote. I networked. I hustled!

It was a fun time!

So How Did Starting a Blog Get Me Through Postpartum Depression?

Blogging gave me purpose.

That’s the simple way to put it.

Not only do I love writing, I love learning in general.

Learning how to blog (and make money doing it) gave me a reason to get up in the morning.

You know, other than a crying baby.

Blogging allowed me to have a sort of online journal to talk about what I was going through, things I enjoyed, and things I wanted to learn more about.

It allowed me to connect with other bloggers but also my audience, which has always been primarily other moms.

I learned new skills (web development, WordPress, Canva, Pinterest, general marketing, and so much more) that would later lead to other opportunities.

But mostly, it gave me something creative yet helpful to do.

In the early days, I saw success pretty quickly because Pinterest was amazingly helpful for bloggers back then, and I started earning money within a few months.

When I say that blogging helped me get through postpartum depression, it’s because it not only distracted me from my own thoughts, but it gave me a sense of duty and purpose that I hadn’t had yet.

As a modern woman, I struggled with my desire to have children and also have a career. (I still do sometimes.)

But blogging gave me hope that I didn’t have to choose one or the other.

It really got me through by giving me something positive to focus on.

However, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t come with highs and lows.

In fact, if you’re interested in getting into blogging, there are a handful of things I should warn you about.

First of all, you should understand that blogging is not a short-term solution to anything. To really make it, you have to treat it like a real job.

Sure, it’s a flexible, fun, and rewarding job, but it’s really a small business that requires a lot of upkeep.

I got so sucked into it at one point that I was getting really unhealthy. If you’re not careful, blogging can lead to a lot of sitting and a LOT of screen time.

(I do have a solution for that now, but I didn’t then.)

So as I realized that I was getting really unhealthy physically, I kind of gave myself an ultimatum regarding blogging.

If I was going to do it, I had to be making money and I had to be in the world of fitness blogging.

Why?

Because I wanted accountability.

It all worked out though, because soon after having my daughter I realized that exercise really did improve my mental health. (And that’s when I decided to become a personal trainer. You can read that story here.)

I learned that moms can use fitness to fight back against postpartum depression, and I felt that not enough doctors or other moms were really talking about it.

Thus, this blog you’re reading now was born.

But that brings me to another blogging struggle.

As the times have changed, so has the blogging landscape. I was getting about 50,000 page visits to my blog every month about a year into owning this blog.

I was lucky enough to get into an exclusive ad network called Mediavine, and I was super stoked because my income shot up a little bit. (Cool, right?)

I was making close to $1000 per month in ads when suddenly, both Pinterest and Google had algorithm changes that totally dinged my site.

From what I read, they hit fitness and weight loss-related sites pretty hard because now it’s considered body shaming…

Yikes.

It was totally not ever my intention to body shame. But my site did start out as sort of a postpartum weight loss journey and I talked about it a lot.

However, after those particular algorithm changes, I have not seen a month with 50,000 visitors since. (And that was almost two years ago now.)

There are also so many new sites on the scene that there’s just a lot more competition.

Even when I’ve worked my BUTT off with SEO and taken all of the classes on improving traffic, I am struggling to make $700 per month.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m super grateful that I’ve been able to make that $600 per month now for over two years, but I’m also a bit discouraged.

I started to focus my time on my own products and offerings (actually personal training, nutrition coaching, workout programs) but I found that I miss the good ole blogging days when writing was the biggest money-maker.

The point is that blogging isn’t always easy, and it requires constant work to make it worth it.

Sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong because other people are out here talking about how much money they are making, and other times I feel like they must be lying.

However, I have to remind myself that an extra $600 per month is never going to be a bad thing. If anything, blogging helped me get through postpartum depression, and if that’s all it ever amounts to, so be it.

I know that I could focus on different things, but I like the old-school blogging model and I just want to keep writing.

However, I know that if I chose to pursue more product sales and tried to sell more coaching packages, I could do pretty well for myself.

Maybe in time, I will.

But during my time as a new mom, blogging had a lot more value to me because it not only made me some extra cash, it also gave me a lot to do.

Having a hobby like that is seriously underrated for stay-at-home moms like myself.

(P.S. If you still want to start a blog after all of this, I have plenty of info on how to do it. Here’s an article about how to start a fitness blog, but it will work for any niche.)

The State of The Blog in 2023

Though I have struggled a lot in the last few several years, I plan to keep blogging indefinitely.

However, my attitude toward blogging has evolved quite a bit.

A blog is a property, and as such, it can be an asset if you want it to.

Not only does this blog bring in money each month, but it is also worth money if ever decide to sell it. (I got a quote for $25,000 from Flippa a few years ago.)

Like real estate, well-maintained blogs appreciate over time.

Knowing that, I am slowly working on three different blogs (though this will always be my primary focus).

In order to make blogging worth your time and effort, you really do have to treat it like a business.

But I won’t lie to you and say that it’s easier than ever to start a blog.

Sure, it’s easy to actually start the thing, and it’s easy to find information about how to get started.

But that’s not the hard part. The hard part is staying motivated when you don’t see your time and effort paying off.

There is now a sea of other people who have read the same sort of income reports that I did and have ultimately become internet competition.

Not because we all want to compete with each other in some contentious way, but because Google and Pinterest and every other platform have forced us to be that way.

HOWEVER.

If you are looking to get into blogging as an outlet or hobby, it will always be one of my top recommendations for pretty much anyone.

It is still a great way to pour your heart out, learn new things, and make new connections.

Maybe it won’t get you through postpartum depression like it did for me, but perhaps it will lead you to something else.

Maybe it will help you discover more about yourself and your interests. Or maybe it will just help you pass the time.

Either way, know that I appreciate you being here. I hope this long (but hopefully meaningful) rant helped you or encouraged you in some way.

Until next time,

Chantal

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