Thursday, 31 March 2011

Parenting tips from Gorillas?

A Western Lowlands Gorilla baby was born at the weekend and apparently Mummy hasn't yet put him or her down, consequently the zoo keepers don't yet know the sex.

I've already seen it said online that we could take parenting lessons from this Gorilla Mama and while I enjoy the sentiment, the fact remains that she doesn't have house, husband,other demanding children with equally demanding social lives, meals to cook, not to mention another paid job to be shoe horned into the mix.

As a parent in the real world, I took my babymoons where I could, I accepted help where I could and I avoid articles that start me feeling that I am a second rate parent in comparison to a primate.

I'm one of the first unfortunately to say ignore the 'experts' who regiment parenting into unattainable routines but the more I've immersed myself in babyled culture, the more I see 'experts' on the other extreme who are equally regimented in their own way.

I'd like to see us parents cutting each other a bit more slack.
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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

SPD, PGP & Pregnancy

The other day I noticed a pregnant woman on crutches, desperately struggling to climb a single stair without moving above her knees whilst simultaneously not twisting her hips and upper body. As I rushed to her aid, in my own mind I was catapulted back to my own pregnancies and I felt her agony.
While you are pregnant, for some reason the expectation from
non-pregnant people is that you should be a picture of blooming health, sailing around with that lovely pregnancy glow once the morning sickness has eased off. In fact even some pregnancy books say that once the first few months are passed that you will feel healthier and that you should take advantage of this time before the heaviness of the 3rd trimester kicks in.
So what if pregnancy, morning sickness aside, leaves you unable
to walk, unable to move in bed, climb stairs, get in and out of the car, sit up for any length of time, sit down for any length of time… what then? Welcome to the excruciating world of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, or as it is more commonly known as now – Pelvic Girdle Pain.
I did in fact sail through my 1st pregnancy without a pelvic hitch, my son was born at 37 weeks via caesarean section as he was in a breech position. The fact I didn’t suffer with SPD/PGP in my first pregnancy is unusual but I prefer to call it a glorious miracle.
Argh, pain!
So imagine my surprise when at around 25 weeks pregnant I
start to get twinges in my pelvis which within a week degenerated to the point where I couldn’t walk unassisted and without horrible indescribable pain. One evening, out of usual working hours I was in tears and rang the local midwife team and was told to “take a paracetamol, ligament pain in pregnancy is normal and to just take it easy”. Crying now with pain and frustration I turned to the internet, typed in my symptoms, something I always said I would never do, and up pinged SPD. My symptoms matched to the letter.
Symptoms include difficulty in scissor movements, so going
upstairs, walking/running, aerobics... Extending your knees apart is extremely difficult so breaststroke in swimming and some intimate positions are a no-no. The pain itself is generally at the very front part of your pelvis, right
behind your ‘bits’. In my case it felt like someone was twisting a
screwdriver into the bone whenever I moved. Yes I saw you wince.
The Pelvic Partnership ( say that “Pelvic girdle pain is usually caused by an asymmetry or change of normal movement or alignment in your pelvic joints – a
mechanical joint problem not a hormonal one” and while I technically agree, yes the pain is caused as described, but the movement or asymmetry is caused by the fact that the hormone ‘relaxin’ increases in the body
during pregnancy. Relaxin causes the ligaments in the body to become more mobile and ultimately help the body to be able to birth the baby however with some women there is too much Relaxin and the ‘Symphysis’ becomes
too loose and so has too much movement, causing the pain.
In some women the movement becomes so severe that permanent damage can occur and this is why it is so so important that if you suffer with this,
that you get treatment immediately and look after yourself carefully.
Get Treatment
I got an appointment with the doctor who while was
sympathetic, didn’t know anything about it and told me to go to my
midwife. She saw immediately that I was in horrible pain and got me a physiotherapy appointment for the following morning. At 4pm that day,
it was quite an achievement and a testament to how urgent she saw the problem to be. The physiotherapist gave me a kind of tubigrip body sock and a set of crutches. She also did some manual manipulation on my back as where I was walking ‘funny’ I had all sorts of referred pain in my back, legs,
neck and shoulders. She also sent me away with a list of self help measures and a recommendation that I contact the doctor for stronger painkillers if
Self help…
* Take it slowly
* To get in and out of the car, sit on a plastic bag so that you swivel easily – keep your knees together
* To roll in bed or to get out of bed, keep your knees together too and your pelvic/hips region as still as possible
* Support yourself in bed with plenty of pillows. A thin one between your knees may help
* Do keep moving a bit. Don’t sit down for the rest of your pregnancy. Don’t overdo it though
* Accept help
* Think about how you move around your home – avoid
the stairs where possible
During vaginal examinations, don’t over extend your knees, get a piece of string and measure how far comfortably you can extend, then use that piece of string as a gauge. Don’t go beyond it and importantly give it to your midwife when you go into labour. Just because you cant feel the pain when/if you have an epidural, doesn’t mean it isn’t doing
damage and your goal is to minimise the damage to your pelvis so that you can make a full and fast recovery post birth.
With my daughter, I did develop SPD/PGP earlier in pregnancy
but I saw it coming a mile off and was able to manage it a bit better, I’m not saying there weren’t days when you’d have to peel me off the ceiling with the pain, but I was better prepared and knew that there were things I could do to help myself.
Post Birth
The magical thing about this condition for many women is the
way it disappears after the baby arrives. Not everyone is so lucky but you should expect to see significant improvement. 10 months down the line I still should not be pushing supermarket trollies/carts but in this age of online grocery shopping, it is avoidable. Still, don’t take it too fast, accept help, and it will improve.
Emotionally Speaking
When I was pregnant with Daisy and suffering with this condition, I did get very low, to the extent that I went to the doctors in a state, not able to cope and feeling like a failure. I was desperately trying to carry on through the pain caring for my two young children, look after the house, carry on with a very stressful job, and I wondered why it was all starting to get on top of me. If you are a PGP sufferer then please, be kind to yourself.
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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Why be a breastfeeding counsellor?

Of late I've been wading my way through a number of things, returning to work at the housing association, my pet services business, looking after my family amongst other various bits of life. And I must say I am almost exhausted by it all.

The other big thing I've been grappling with is the practicality of becoming a breastfeeding counsellor. Administration was something I hoped would be at a minimum in my chosen profession but here it is raising its ugly head again, it would seem that even person centred jobs are not exempt.

The admin side has become such an elephant in the room that I've had to really evaluate my feelings about my new role and about the organization I do work for (I'm self employed and so am like a sub contractor!). There have been times even today where I've wanted to throw all my toys out of the pram, the baby out with the bath water, you think of a cliche and I'm already there.

So if the stuff I'm so offended by is so offensive, why am I doing what I'm doing?

Because breastfeeding is worth it. I've blogged about the brilliance of breastmilk, about the benefits to both mother and child. But my attraction to breastfeeding goes deeper than even these wonderful things.

Women are incredible. In the face of their children, a woman cannot be topped for bravery, courage, perseverance, patience. She has reserves she doesn't even know about. Carrying a baby and giving birth is extraordinarily special and as a c-sec and natural birth mum, I scoop up all of us in that statement.

We then want to do the very best for our children once they are out of our bodies and into our arms. Some of us find breastfeeding comes easily, to some of us... not so much and I fell inside that category.

Luckily I had fantastic support. Statistics show that the vast majority of women who stop breastfeeding, did so before they wanted to. That statement has its arms open to a lot of women. As a breastfeeding counsellor I can support women to have the breastfeeding journey they want to have.

Women deserve to have the parenting experience they want. My journey as a breastfeeding counsellor is about that, it is about the women, the babies, the families, ultimately the wider community, in fact let's aim high, worldwide health!

Thanks for walking with me as I reminded myself why I do this.
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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Warning - tired ranty blog alert

I wanted to write today but having stared at a blank screen for some time without typing a single character, I figured a quick visit to the Creativity Portal for a push button blog prompt was in order. I generally find that the best thing to do is just get words down, even of its just to write about how you cant write. (ahem).

Well I pushed the prompt button and so you know what it said?!

"Blog prompter is getting tired"

What?! If the prompter is getting tired then what hope do I, a mere writing mortal have?

Seriously though, it has no idea. I AM TIRED!! Take that and put it in your RSS feed Mr (of course) blog prompter.

*sigh* I have a meeting on Thursday to discuss my future with the company. It's going through a restructure and my job is in the firing line. I need to apply for one of the 2 jobs to be created from my current post.

I can barely think about what to have for dinner, never mind my next career move. I know what I really want to be doing and frankly it does not involve trying to persuade people that paying their rent is a good idea. (it IS A GOOD IDEA by the way people, you don't really need me to remind you surely... don't answer that).

And now its late and I'm even more tired. Thankfully no work tomorrow.
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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Women Rock! IWD 2011

"I am woman! I am invincible! I am pooped!" ~Author Unknown

Today is International Womens Day. Its also the 100th anniversary, first celebrated in 1911. Believe it or not, some countries actually celebrate it as a national holiday. We've come a long way baby but I get the distinct feeling we still have a way to go. A world where some women still die in childbirth where in other countries they dont, some women are routinely beaten by thier male relatives, women are still blamed for their own rapes, women still earn less than men overall and have less high powered jobs than men. Shocking stuff so yes, a way to go.

"The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes." Bella Abzug

A friend lately gave birth to her second child via cesarean section. Both labours failed to progress and it is more than likely that she would not have survived her first labour had she been giving birth 100 years ago or today in a country where maternity care is not a priority. Until all women can expect to survive childbirth, there is inequality.

"When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life." Kofi Annan

A study in 2006 (UK) reported that 'women working part-time earned 39% less per hour than men working full-time'. Women often work part time in order to care for children. In exchange for producing the next generation of well adjusted tax payers, women routinely earn less. Until women can expect to earn the same as men for doing the same job there is inequality.

"You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman." ~Jane Galvin Lewis

My Nan co-founded the Greenham Common womens peace camp in Newbury, England, and so that kind of back drop to my younger years instilled in me a firm belief that women can make a real difference, it just takes confidence. Unfortunately confidence is one of the things routinely eroded in women the world over, day in day out. Women are extraordinary, they possess a resiliance, courage and protective instinct that men can only aspire to. I dont mean that in a men-bashing way, just my observation of the mothers I meet and work with.

So I applaud International Womens Day, I unapologetically tweet and facebook about it and I encourage you to do the same. Inequality is not acceptable and neither is silence on the matter. Speak up.

References <--Visit this site for specific IWD info

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Losing The Plot

I'm not exactly Alan Titchmarsh but I have this vegetable plot in my back garden and I grow bits and pieces in it and its been an, up to now, 'Mummys stuff, don't touch!' area. And actually that's been just the way I've liked it.

However Jayden (5) has been asking questions about growing things and so in a rash moment I said when I next go to the garden centre he can choose the things we can grow. He drew up a list. On the list... carrots, potatoes (fine) apples (er...) bananas (hell no) so it was with a certain amount of trepidation that we set off.

They naturally enjoyed the ride on the trolley and actually the choosing of seeds etc wasn't quite as painful as I'd envisaged. We left with potatoes, green beans, rhubarb, spring onions, a raspberry bush, a vegetable multipack and a herb multipack. That was apparently the easy part.

The hard part it turned out was relinquishing some sort of control over the plot itself. In the name of 'family time' I have no idea where one line begins or ends, what has been planted where and slightly worrying is that he's dug a rhubard in somewhere but I don't know where. Not a small plant... may overpower the spring onions... He also snapped the sprouts off a couple of seed potatoes before I noticed *sigh*

But even though there were some fraught moments, and perhaps a couple of (muted) frustrated exclamations from me, it was a success... Jayden is now checking every 10 mins to see if anything has grown yet. Should keep him busy if nothing else!
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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

A letter to Princess Betty on the wall in the school hallway.

Proud mummies unite :)
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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Emigration Looking Mighty Attractive

With one NHS Trust losing 22.5% of its staff, health care in the UK is looking dicier by the day.

Check out this article in The Guardian

Cutting nhs staff is not the answer to the UKs problems. All that will achieve is a lowering of standards in healthcare. Perhaps the government should look closer to itself to make the savings rather than attacking the living standards of everyday people yet again.

Being a bleeding heart lefty, I was less than overjoyed at the election of a coalition government headed up by the Tories. Doesn't anyone remember what they did to us in the past?

A number of people I spoke to said they were voting blue because of their family friendly policies. Well look at us now.

* Surestart centres - funding slashed and centres closing.
* Tax credits reducing, mainly affecting mid-lower income families
* Child benefit to be gone in next few years
* Massive cuts to our NHS, resulting in poorer health care for us.
* Spiraling fuel costs pushing small businesses out of business
* Spiraling food costs pushing families into hunger - reports show some parents going without food in order to feed their children
* Spiraling costs of energy forcing fuel poverty. That's not affording to keep warm to you and me.
* Pay freezes across most industries as companies feel the pinch. Unfortunately as cost of living increases, this is leaving a family sized discrepancy.

What are we going to do about it? Have the Egyptians got the right idea? What do you think?
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