What to say

December Baby

Some days it all just falls into place. There’s a conversation or event or a remarkable tree that tickles your fancy and boom, there’s a Note. Other days, like today, are barren.


Today I read a post by an author who offers helpful, encouraging words to writers, especially those who are just starting out.

So far so good.

But I followed a link to an article bout blogging pitfalls which only reinforced that I’m doing it all wrong.

I have no plan, no schedule. I don’t consult my audience. In fact  I don’t have an audience. I don’t use social media to promote posts. I certainly don’t look at Google Analytics to see what keywords are trending. My titles are obscure and I’m not sure my images, while original, are necessarily consistent with my text.

In short, these Daily Notes are an SEO fail.

My heart sank further once I read some successful bloggers to see how it’s done. I soon realised I could never write like them. They’re earthy. Real. They speak a contemporary patois which obviously resonates with readers. One wrote that her phone had “shat itself” today and expressed the resulting turmoil with “fuck”.

And here am I agonising over passive voice. Perhaps I need to work on my potty voice.

More importantly

What do you say to a mother whose baby has just died?

A young woman I know spent most of last year blissfully pregnant and delivered her first baby before Christmas, three weeks early.

She posted a picture of bub in a crib, announcing her arrival with name and weight and words of love, with a vague reference to an extended hospital stay.

Since then, social media has been quiet, but grave news has seeped out along the grapevine. Bub is critically ill. There are no details, just talk of waiting for the angels to take her.

My heart hurts at the very thought. I remember the moment my Christmas baby was placed on my chest, still sticky with vernix and one ear bent out of shape. She was big and hungry and bursting with life. I was exhausted and exhilarated, but it never occurred to me to be grateful for a healthy child. I just took my miracle for granted.

The continuing silence from my young friend is ominous. Sometimes I think no news is good news and imagine a quiet recovery. But that’s naiive. Bad stuff happens and sometimes it happens to people you know. I need to prepare for the worst.

And so I wonder, what will I say to this woman when she finally emerges from her purgatory? What are the words? Do I talk about the baby I never met? Do I tell her what  a wonderful mother she is, carrying her baby for nine months and sitting beside her in hospital for weeks while she battled for life? Do I tell her I believe in her, that she has the strength to get through the coming weeks and months and years, to maybe one day conceive again?

These are words for deliberation. Everything else is bullshit.



Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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