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Monday, 28 June 2010

Kathryn Blundell

There are some things mothers are never supposed to say. That the idea of childbirth fills them with disgust and horror and they want to be either drugged off their tits or anaesthetised and c-sectioned. Odd because in every other area of medicine, the absence of pain is seen as a Good Thing. In childbirth though, it's generally seen as a cop out. My second labour was only eight hours long. I never felt in danger and the midwife was great. Unfortunately the epidural didn't work. I’d have taken a bullet the pain was so bad. No I didn’t feel empowered. You try splitting in half and feeling empowered about it.

Once the baby is born, the next taboo is mentioning that small babies are really really dull.
Anna Pasternak got it in the neck for saying just that. The debate ‘raged’ as women phoned radio stations to explain how rollercoasterly thrilling it was to have a small baby.

Kathryn Blundell deputy editor of Mother & Baby magazine is now in deep nappy doo after using the word ‘creepy’ in the context of breastfeeding. The deluge of rage in response centres entirely around the use of the word ‘creepy’. Oh and referring to her breasts as ‘funbags’ which is up there with Gok Wan’s ‘bangers’. But she says other things too – useful things like women should not be made to feel guilty if they can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. Her real crime was not prefacing her shameless formula feeding with lots of handwringing about how ‘guilty’ she felt, or that her nipples were cracked and bleeding after nights of desperate attempts to feed. If she had – then the comments would have been more of the saintly condescending variety. Oh what a shame. Poor thing. Maybe she should have tried just an itty bit harder? Needed more support etc etc. No, this rotten, evil mother decided she couldn’t be ‘fagged.’ The selfish, sociopathic, useless, vain monster. Yes, she’s been described as all those things.

The other comment that comes up again and again is the fear that ‘vulnerable’ new mothers might read her article and decide not to breastfeed! What a load of patronising crap. Like never using the word 'pain' in the context of childbirth in case it puts women off having babies. Oh hang on - the anti-drug birth bullies still do that. It's not pain - it's sensations. Or waves. Or an orgasm if you're Sheila Kitzinger.

It was probably ill advised to use the word ‘creepy’ about breastfeeding. But I don’t think one article is going to put new mothers off. And frankly, the utterly vitriolic, poisonous and self-righteous nastiness from the blogsphere is far far creepier.

There is a small section of militant mothers who seem more interested in policing other women's behaviour than trusting them to make the choice that's right for them and their child.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Suits You Sir

A shaft of light pierces my Blog of Gloom, or rather a shaft of irritation since it involves The Boy, but hey, I'll take irritation over blank misery any day. It's nearly the end of term, the end of exams, and time for the School Prom. Husband tells me that in his day, you had to have a date, a car, and an expensive outfit so anyone who didn't have a date, or enough money to hire a ridiculous dress and flash car could celebrate getting through their exams by feeling ugly and unwelcome.

Over here though there seems to be more emphasis on having fun. The Boy's class are hiring a boat and there have been several stern letters about it being a No Booze Cruise to which The Boy smirks. But firstly we have to get him a suit. You'd think it would be quite easy - just measure and hire. You can even hire online and they deliver! But The Boy is currently ensconced in online Troll World and every time I point out that he needs to be measured he rolls his eyes and waves me away as though I'm a mosquito. I'm tempted to hire him a Gold Lame Gayboy suit or the t-shirt. That'll learn him.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Another catch-up

Since April my mum has been confined to hospital following a fall, suffering from firstly a bleed on the brain, and suspected broken neck, then a flurry of infections, then a really nasty e-coli one and another UTI. During all this she has been shunted from hospital to hospital, so forgive me for being very remiss with the blog.

I used to read about elderly people dying from dehydration or starvation in hospitals and not believe it. Imagine – an elderly person lying stupefied from drugs and the £3.50 an hour orderly wheels a food trolley past their room. ‘Want dinner?’ he or she says. There is no reply because the elderly person is either asleep or doesn’t want much. So the orderly moves on. The nurses are supposed to keep a record of what the patients eat and most of the time they do. But if the elderly person doesn’t have an interested family to say: ‘Hang on I was here and there’s no way dad had a whole plate of spaghetti and a banana’ then that person can so easily slip quietly into malnutrition and. . . . .

I ring the hospital to ask what kind of medication she’s on and the nurse has usually ‘just come on duty so can’t tell me anything’ but ‘she’s looking very cheerful today’. At first that made my sister, my father and I feel a little better but now it just seems like bullshit. We are going down to the hospital tomorrow to see if they are still considering her for the physiotherapy ward where she might get a stab at getting her life back – with intensive physio and speech therapy. But it all depends on beds, and the longer she stays mouldering in hospital, the less ‘suitable’ as a physio patient she’ll be. It’s all very well talking about age discrimination but behind the scenes, decisions have to be made about who is more suitable. What my sister and I are not going to allow is for her to be shunted off to a nursing home without a fight.

I’m sorry – my sense of humour has gone a bit AWOL recently.

On another note, yesterday I had a glimpse of The Girl as a teenager after I asked her to brush her teeth. ‘What – ev –er’ she snapped.