This week we have a guest blog from Liz, writer of the popular blog Coraline and Us. Earlier this month she won in the Wellbeing category at the BAPS (Bloody Awesome Parents) awards; which recognises SEND bloggers. Congratulations Liz! Thank you for sharing this post with us.

I am so excited to have won the “Wellbeing” Category in the BAPS SEND Blog Awards for my Blog about our gorgeous daughter Coraline. It is an honour to be in the company of the amazing winners and finalists, including winners “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” and “I am River”. I am even more excited that it is the second year in a row that I have won this category. That momentum feels so exciting and I feel the potential crackling around me. 

Belief! That’s the key.

What would I write to Coraline, aged 3: “Dear Coraline, Believe in yourself and all your potential, be yourself and shine – because you light up the world when you are entirely yourself, follow your dreams and trust your intuition.” 

My friend Susie, who won the gold medal in S7 50m butterfly swimming at the 2016 summer Paralympics in Rio, wrote a message in a book she had picked out for Coraline before she was born: “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

The other thing is to “hold that belief”; even if you might not see results straight up. Hold that belief. It’s coming. That’s what happened for Susie. We know that’s the case for Coraline too with her walking or talking. There’s no rush. We know it’s coming. We hold that belief.

It’s funny, before I met Kevin, now my husband, I thought, “I know the person for me is out there”. I met him on Tinder when I had just turned 39. My friend picked him for me on my phone. I met him and my intuition said, “I feel really at home with him”. 

It was instinctive for me to start my Blog – I just began it in the hospital when Coraline was four days old. Intuition propelled me to begin it. The energy I was coming at it with was a passion and a love for writing and a knowing that this was something I really wanted to do.

I knew that we were going to learn a huge amount and I thought in my head, “this is too much for just me to know, I want to share it with other people too, and learn from them too.” When I put it like this it seems so easy doesn’t it? But of course, there are all sorts of doubts along the way; “people will think I am holier than thou,” or, “it’s so scary having people I don’t know reading what I am writing”. But the belief and the intuition power you on through because it’s something you really want to do.

It is a case of taking what we say to Coraline and saying it to ourselves: “Believe in yourself and all your potential, be yourself and shine – because you light up the world when you are entirely yourself, follow your dreams and trust your intuition”. The freeing and the beauty is when you allow yourself to be entirely yourself. It is an absolutely amazing feeling and realisation for us, as Coraline’s parents too, when we allow her this too and when we know that who she is, is entirely who she is meant to be. We are not going to push her. We are just going to give her the self confidence to be herself and choose her course in life. Right now Coraline loves bouncing up and down on the sofa, throwing things off the sofa or food (if she can), investigating everything in her path, preschool, music, and books, books, books. 

So, for me, my course in life is opening up into this; to write my Blog, to write it as authentically me, to write a book and to start a Podcast. I actually know I am going to do all these things which seems so alien to me; stepping forward, when I usually like to step back! But, it starts with a thought, and then when you think it enough, you realise it could actually happen if you hold it in your mind. We see unlimited potential for Coraline; so why not for ourselves. As I said, it can feel “easier said, than done”; doubts and fears come, but that’s a sign of developing and growing which is what we are here for, and the trick is to hold your course. 

Coraline has taught me to be me! Just as we are teaching her to be her. That’s where the beauty is, and that’s when things flow. I look at Kevin alongside me. Spurred on by Coraline and her having sensitive skin, he decided to set up his own handmade organic soap company Coraleen Skincare and he did it in February 2020! It had been his hobby and then he made the decision for it to be his business. He stopped work, took on some consultancy on the side and began his business. He dreamed of it. He did it. That second one is the one we sometimes don’t do. But we are going to make sure we tell Coraline that’s the most important part!

Follow Coraline and Us on Instagram and Facebook and check out their blog here.