March just happens to be Women’s History Month and the month during which International Women’s Day falls, but it’s also the month in which one mother has decided to spread her wings.
Her digital writing wings, that is.
Choya Porter of Illinois has been a professional blogger for several years on issues related to lifestyle and entertainment — a role she assumed part time after becoming a single mother to help support her two young children.
However, Porter, who also works full time for a major insurance company, recently opened up online about a health issue that her son is facing, and to her surprise, her vulnerability in that February piece has helped reshape how she sees her role as a mother.
“I exposed that my son was diagnosed with narcolepsy,” said Porter, whose son turns 8 on March 25. “Writing that (blog) post came from becoming frustrated with people saying he was lazy or questioning why he had gained weight.”
Moms in her community, and from around the nation, responded to the blog entry with messages of support, advice and hope.
Porter, who also has a 10-year-old daughter, was both floored and encouraged by readers’ feedback.
“My son was diagnosed in May 2016, and I’m still trying to figure out what medication is best for him,” she said. “Several people let me know that they also suffer from narcolepsy. They were helpful.”
The response also “helped me realize that I am experiencing things that other parents experience, and maybe they need to hear that they’re not alone. This has empowered me to share more and give more.”
Porter, who lives near Chicago, doesn’t plan to change her blog (www.justasplashofdiva.com) from its focus on family fun and the frugal life, but she does intend to incorporate her personal take on issues that readers may be grappling with in hopes of increasing their confidence or giving them the courage to speak up or seek support.
“Being a single parent, I don’t have the formula 100 percent correct,” she said, “and sometimes the information I receive (from readers) makes a difference. I’ll be capitalizing on my experiences and (no longer) calling them failures.
“Opening up is a scary thing,” she said. “It’s hard for us to ask for help at work, let alone with our kids. We don’t want to be perceived as bad parents, or as not knowing what to do with our children. But opening up has shown me that I’m not in this by myself. It’s OK to share information and get feedback.”
Porter shared the blog post with her son before she published it online, she said. Writing it made her weep, and his response caused the tears to flow even more.
“He said, ‘You defended me, Mommy,’ ” Porter recalled. “It meant a lot to him.”