Yes, it's been 2 years since I started this blog. I can hardly believe it. Feels like I've been doing it a lot longer!
So in honor of the blog's birthday, let's take a moment to do a State of the Blog assessment, eh?
Purpose of the Blog
2 years ago, I started the blog to raise awareness about the issues of "obesity" and pregnancy.
I found little awareness or comment about pregnancy issues in the fat-acceptance world and wanted to raise the fatosphere's awareness of the discrimination and mistreatment many women of size face during their pregnancies and births. Size discrimination often starts in the womb, yet this has been a very overlooked area in the discussion about size bias.
I particularly wanted to reach out to pregnant women of size who might be looking for information on how weight could affect their pregnancy and care. I wanted to make sure they had in-depth information about their choices, risks, common care protocols, the pros and cons of interventions, etc., and that they had information about proactive things they could do to improve outcome. And I wanted to make sure they had a place to share their concerns and questions, and a space where they could see other pregnant women who looked like them so they would know that they are not alone.
I also wanted to reach out to the birth world and further its awareness of how pregnant women of size are often mistreated, ask birth workers to question the assumptions often made about women of size, to analyze the quality of the research on obesity and pregnancy, and to open a discussion of how to improve outcomes in women of size.
Whew. That's quite a wide-ranging mission and target audience. This means that sometimes my posts will appeal only to one segment of my readership. Some will really want the pregnancy pictures and birth stories, others really want the nuts-and-bolts research analysis, and still others are most interested in discussions of size bias or Health At Every Size instead. But hopefully, even when the posts don't appeal to your particular needs, they're still interesting enough to learn something new or to be diverted by for a few minutes.
Thank you to those of you who have linked to my blog or specific posts on your sites, or who have "liked" or tweeted about them on social media networks. It really helps increase the visibility of my blog, increase the readership, and get my message out. Keep linking, "liking" and tweeting!
My birth friends are pushing me (kicking and screaming all the way) towards the social media world, and I have been informed that I must get a Facebook page soon. I'm no fan of social media but I recognize its importance in getting out advocacy messages, so I'll probably be looking into this soon. Keep your eyes peeled for it.
Alas, Blogger has only had stats available for my site for the last year, so I have no data on how many readers I had in the first year or what they read the most. But now that I have these stats available, it's been fun keeping track of them. It feeds my inner geek and my ego too, which is always nice!
Generally I average about 20,000-25,000 hits per month these days. That's up from the beginning of the year when it was more like 17,000-20,000 per month. So that's encouraging.
Here's the part that boggles my mind. All together, I've had nearly 275,000 hits in the last year alone. Whoa. Pretty amazing!
Yeah, okay, peanuts compared to some sites, but still pretty dang impressive to me! Starting this blog has been a big boost for getting out my message, even beyond my regular website, www.plus-size-pregnancy.org. I'm sure if I ever drag my reluctant backside over to Facebook, that would help boost readership even more.
Popularity-wise, my Top Five Posts of all time are:
- Plus-Size Pregnancy Photo Gallery
- Will I Feel My Baby Move If I'm Fat?
- Belly Shape and Fetal Position
- The Fat Vagina Theory: Soft Tissue Dystocia
- Healthy Birth Practices: Get Upright and Follow Urge to Push
Apparently there is just a tremendous need out there for images of women of size in pregnancy and birth, because nearly all the search terms commonly used to find my blog involve some variation of "overweight" or "obese" or "plus-size" and "pregnancy" or "photo" or "belly." So obviously, one of the most important things I've done is to try and meet that need for images and reassurance.
This is one reason why I hold my nose and still use the "o" words ("obesity" and "overweight") at times; I know those are the search terms used by people not familiar with fat acceptance. Frankly, those odious "o" terms are how most people find my blog. It helps me preach not just to the choir but to a lot of people unfamiliar with fat-acceptance and Health At Every Size. It helps me reach more of my most-desired target audience ─ people unfamiliar with size acceptance and new to the concept, whether those are people in the birth world or are people of size themselves.
So while I've had many approaches to the terminology issue over the 16 years I've been writing about this topic, in the end I've decided that getting the message out to those who need it most takes priority. As a result, I use a mix of terms on the blog, from the repulsive "o" words at times, to "fat" (which is my preferred term but which alienates some), to euphemisms that tend to be a bit more neutral. This makes my blog more likely to be found by a variety of people, not all of whom are on board with fat-acceptance yet. You can agree or disagree with that approach, but it's the compromise that seems to work best for me after many years of trying different ways of handling the terminology.
I get a real charge out of my little "world" widget on the top right-hand side of my blog. It's always so much fun to look and see who's reading my blog right now and where they are from. I love that!
Not surprisingly, most of my readership comes from English-speaking countries, especially the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, but I get a fair amount of hits from Germany and the Netherlands. I also get quite a few hits from places I wouldn't have expected, like India, Russia, South Africa, and Iran. Very cool!
One thing I am working on for the future are reference pages with links to research studies....sort of a quick reference link page, as it were. I think some of my readers might find that useful; I know I find it useful on other people's blogs. (Thank you Fat Nutritionist!)
I also have a major series planned on the risks of pregnancy in women of size coming soon. We'll take each one of the risks, look at the research on it, dissect the quality of the research, and figure out the lessons to be learned from it (if any). This will be a major series, and it takes a huge amount of time to research and write each risk category, so it will definitely be a periodic series over a long period of time instead of a continuous short series. Still, even though it will be spread out over time, hopefully it will be of use to women of size as they try to sift through all the scare tactics and rhetoric around fatness and pregnancy.
So that's the State of the Blog─where we are right now, and some directions we plan to go in the future.
Thank you for reading the blog, for sharing links to it with others, and for spreading the message about it. Keep doing spreading the word, please!
Thank you to the Fatosphere for being open to this unique message about pregnancy in fat women. I know it can be hard to care about this topic if you are not personally planning to have children, but size discrimination matters, even if it doesn't personally affect you. Thank you to those who continue to read even with no personal investment in the topic, and thanks to those of you who are affected by the topic and who share your stories and concerns.
Thanks to the many gutsy maternity care providers and birth workers who have embraced the cause of better treatment for women of size too. It is so important that this message not be limited to this blog or to the size-acceptance world, but that it be actively discussed and pursued by those in the birth field. Special thanks to those birth workers who have done their best to help and advocate for women of size as clients.
Finally, special SPECIAL thanks to the many brave mamas of size who have shared their pictures, their thoughts, their comments, and their stories with the blog or my other website. Your experiences are the heart of why I do this; thank you so much for sharing. YOU ROCK. You'll never know what a difference you make in the lives of future women of size.
Happy Blogiversary, and I look forward to sharing many more blogiversaries with you!