This week I have mainly been… celebrating the fact us non breastfeeder’s will no longer be vilified (and still drowning in bills)

This week the Royal College Of Midwives released a statement essentially saying, that, whichever way you choose to feed your baby is fine. Whether that’s by bottle or breast, it’s all good. Your choice should be respected and supported now. Whilst I wholeheartedly welcome this change of tune, I can’t help but wonder, what took them so bloody long? Talk about stating the obvious! It’s 2018 and I really don’t think it’s justifiable that anyone is shamed for their choice, no matter what that may be.

I tried desperately hard to breastfeed eldest. I had my heart set on it infact. Mainly because, at every appointment, I had been told ‘breast is best’. After I had given birth and, he had been weighed etc, they placed him on me to feed. It seemed like he had latched on. How would I know? I’d never done it before in my defence! But he had no sooner started when he was abruptly taken off me and I was ordered to “go have a bath!”. Thinking there was nothing wrong with this, I did as I was told. My sister (a midwife) later told me that this should never have happened. After what was the most unrelaxing bath ever, we were sent to our room. Eldest wailed all night long (hubby rather annoyingly slept, what with having been through a strenuous labour and all that.) I kept placing him on my boob and being unable to get him latched on. After several failed attempts, I frantically hit the buzzer and sobbed to the midwife that I needed a bottle. “No, just try again sure” was the response, and off she went. I continued coping on zero sleep with a newborn squealing (and hubby peacefully napping) until the shift change occurred. Hubby, finally awake, demanded they give us a bottle for him. It was even obvious to him that I was struggling to feed our first born. “Has anyone sat with you and showed you how to do it properly?” the new midwife enquired. “No!” was our swift response. She advised that she would send someone in to show me, and, that she did. I was so grateful to that lovely midwife who took the time to explain everything and even show me what way to best position myself. She answered any questions that I asked and put me at ease. I mean, I still didn’t have the slightest clue if he was even getting anything but I was better equipped with knowledge at least.

Alas, our breastfeeding journey would cease soon after we got home. I still couldn’t ascertain if he was properly getting anything and that didn’s sit well with me as a new and anxious parent. This was even more apparent when the community midwife would ask how much he was feeding! I made a decision there and then to give up and I felt like a complete and utter failure because of this. I truly believe that the guilt from this contributed to the enormous baby blues that hit me shortly after. Surely, as a society, we should be protecting new mothers? Shattered ones at that as they are kicked out of the hospital so quickly after giving birth, with no time to recoup and rest. Of course, everyone knows by now that ‘breast is best’ but, each to their own, like everything else. As my mum said to me “I bottle fed you and there’s nothing wrong with you!”. Maybe that’s a bad example, I am slightly bonkers.

Because of all this, I made sure (with my second and third) that I wouldn’t be made to feel guilty again. At every appointment, when asked if I would breastfeed, I would stubbornly reply: “No, nor will I be made to feel guilty about it either”. I actually wrote this in capitals on my birth notes with the third. Probably why they handed me a bottle straight away without prompting. “Anti breastfeeder in room two, get a bottle and fast!”. In my view, every new mother should be made to feel that the choice she makes with regards to feeding, is the correct one. As long as that little baby is getting fed, surely the way they are fed is irrelevant?

In other news, I would like to issue a public appeal. Can all utility companies out there please refrain from sending me even more bills? Thanks! I thought last week was bad enough until the dreaded electric bill appeared through my letterbox on Tuesday! Just F off postman and give this mum a break, please.

This week I have mainly been….. rejoicing for Ireland- literally!

Screenshot to ensure I wasn’t dreaming

What news I woke up to on Saturday morning! I actually thought I might have been dreaming for a second. The Irish public had only gone and voted against their constitutional ban on abortion that had been inserted as an amendment in 1983! An amendment that declared ” The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn, and with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in it’s laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” The repeal the eighth campaign succeeded and by a landslide at that. Finally some progressive change and a huge step forward for a woman’s right to choose!

It’s such an emotive topic. To be honest I debated even expressing my opinion on it (especially as my dad might read it!). But I am honest about every other aspect of my life, so I came to the conclusion that I had to. I am sure many won’t agree with the outcome of the referendum, but personally, it is the outcome I hoped and longed for. I can’t believe how far behind the times Northern Ireland now seems in light of this monumental overturning. Not only in terms of abortion but, gay marriage also. Frankly I find it embarrassing. I also think the result in Ireland will only serve to ensure that politicians here never hold a referendum on our own abortion laws. Because they now know what would happen if they did. They wouldn’t want to face up to the truth that people here are sick of a bunch of dinosaurs dictating under what circumstances they are allowed to make their own choices at in life. So whilst I rejoice for Ireland, I despair for my own country and it’s backward views in this modern age. I hope to God I am still alive when change is finally effected. One can dream I guess.

This week I have mainly been…. trying to explain to eldest that it is Prince Harry getting married and not his friend Harry. Also reminiscing about my own wedding

“I’m so excited!” I exclaimed whilst driving about on Friday with the kids. “Why?” enquired eldest. “Prince Harry is getting married to Meghan Markle and I cannot wait to see her dress”. Very long pause. “Why is my friend Harry marrying auntie Megan?” he asked. “No, it’s not your friend Harry, Prince Harry!” I explained. “So Prince Harry is marrying auntie Megan?” he responded. Arrrggh! “No, the Prince is marrying an American actress and it is quite a big thing actually”. Cue Aden protesting how two people cannot in fact have the same names so therefore it must be his friend Harry! Kids (eye roll).

Didn’t she look fab? So elegant and she carried herself so well. I would have been shitting it knowing that many people were watching me. It got me reminiscing about my own wedding which took place in Santorini on the 18th May 15. Supposedly the best day of your life and do you remember any of it? No! I didn’t even start drinking until the nighttime but it’s all a blur of pictures getting taken and checking everyone else was ok. I do remember eldest being nearly two and having a right boogie on the dancefloor whilst all of us cheered him on. He was the only grandchild at that stage so everything he did elicited cheers. My main regret is not getting that on video. But where do you put a phone in a wedding dress? I did consider, but felt it would be frowned upon, to have mine down the front in my bra. Maybe one day we will get to go back, minus the expensive villa. When you have no holiday to look forward to, and haven’t been away for three years, your heart breaks! Congrats Meghan and Harry and enjoy your honeymoon minus any sprogs!

Just before walking down the aisle- eek

 

My boys

 

 

The Ulster Rugby trial, my concerns as a mother and why I’m happy they were sacked

I’ve struggled with how I feel about this case from day one. The moment it even appeared on my radar, I was horrified. My first thought went to my boys and how I would feel, as a parent, if they had behaved in the same way. Secondly, my thoughts wandered to that poor girl and what a huge thing she has faced personally and publicly to highlight her plight and make a difference to someone else. Even if they were found not guilty, she has still done this, and I hope she realises that.

When certain evidence was made available to the public, I found myself even more shocked and appalled. The WhatsApp messages specifically were they proceeded to talk about women as ‘Belfast sluts’ and bragged about ‘spit roasting’. This panicked me. Mainly because I am raising three boys, well, attempting to. Would I expect them to ever talk about a woman in that way? Hell no! I would hope I’ve raised them to treat women with respect. I expect they will be ‘lads’ about certain things, but to speak in that manner after an encounter- over my dead body!! Upon discussing this with my husband (who I always assumed was unbiased and slightly with it) he was of the view that they are just young guys with huge egos. “These men have girls throwing themselves at them everywhere they go. So of course they will act that way”! and, this is my favourite one  “girls like that go to VIP parts of nightclubs with the sole purpose of attracting a famous person and sleeping with them”. I was quite taken aback by that last comment and, slightly enraged if I am honest. Who replaced my husband with this sexist person ? Alas, I am always up for a bit of debating so this presented a great opportunity. I argued that his point didn’t make sense. Belfast nightclubs are not the place where celebrities are certain to be found. The most famous person you usually encounter is local radio host Pete Snodden. He must have half of Belfast throwing themselves at him if that’s the case! We also have no idea what this girl looked like as her identity is protected. I asked what made him think they weren’t just being those type of men that go to these places with the sole purpose of attracting girls, expecting to have their way with them and never taking no for an answer? He looked at me blankly then stated “well, all those types deserve each other”. I said both were merely people making assumptions based on the way someone looks or which part of a nightclub they were sitting in, its not a true reflection. I then asked him seriously if, our boys all become famous sports stars, he would be ok with them acting in such a way towards women. He very quickly replied no. So it’s not ok for your sons to embarrass you in that manner but the rest of mankind can? I thought us women were meant to be the confusing ones!

I think Ulster Rugby have made the right decision to terminate both Jackson and Olding’s contracts. Ok, maybe it was a decision based purely on the fact that Bank of Ireland threatened to pull their sponsorship as opposed to the #ibelieveher movement. But it’s happened and I feel it will make a huge difference going forward. Not only to little boys who look up to these men but women who run their boys back and forth to practise and actually follow rugby. It had to be done. So as much as people droned on about everyone accepting the verdict of not guilty, they should accept the decision to kick them out of the team. I for one would rather my boys looked up to someone who is capable of showing respect and compassion to everyone whilst also being an exemplary athlete. This means so much more than purely being good on the field. It shows strength of character, as well as physical strength . The ultimate role model.

I do believe her and I stand with my fellow ladies in condemning their behaviour that night and in the following days. As more truths seep out it becomes even more shocking to me that this verdict was reached. More blood on Paddy Jackson’s bed that his solicitor asked to be withheld from the jury as ‘he had no intention of explaining where it had come from’ to Olding’s semen being found on the victims crotch. I’m utterly astounded that these facts were allowed to be hidden. What an awful precedent we are setting in this country for those affected by rape! I am certain that this will deter women coming forward in future. I can’t help but think, in a way, it’s good I never had my longed for girl as I would be so embarrassed trying to justify and explain all this to her. No, you cannot have an abortion in Northern Ireland, it’s illegal, even if you have been raped. Not that they would believe you anyway, no matter how much evidence you presented. It’s so Irish, it’s laughable- and I’m Irish.