Like a Girl

Recently I overheard an extremely harassed mother complain that her son was doing a particular task ‘like a girl’ and of course I had to see what he was doing so brilliantly. I mean, as we all know, girls are so amazing and wonderful that whatever he was doing was bound to be of such great talent, strength and skill that it surely warranted a nosey. Right? Wrong. The poor lad was trying unsuccessfully to work the costume dryer machine in the changing rooms after his swimming lesson. He wasn’t pressing down on the lid hard enough so it wasn’t kicking in. And this was making his mother furious. Not just because a queue was building up behind him and this was clearly upsetting him. Not just because she was in a rush, and hot and needed to get home to make dinner. Not just because a wet costume in a gym bag is really annoying and likely to make everything else wet too. Oh no. Because he was doing it ‘like a girl’. With no strength. No ability. No common sense. Like a girl?!

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I have there girls, and crucially I also have a son who I would like to grow up with respect for girls. It starts at home. Whatever he can do, they can do too. However strong he is, they are equally so. Whatever chores they have, he has them too. In our house, ‘like a girl’ is in no way an insult. It’s praise. It’s observation of a job well done. It’s… something we never say. But if we did, it would be a compliment. So I have to wonder when exactly did it become such an insult? (more…)

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All That Matters

You’re sitting in a room, all alone. You’re seated on the edge of the bed and your body feels heavy as it sags towards the floor. You’re breathing hard. Shallow. You close your eyes because when you do that, the reel inside your head begins to slow and the flickering images start to make a little more sense. But they’re still there and you know that no matter what you do, those images are staying. Imprinted on your soul forever. Because you’re changed forever.

Someone beside you reaches for your hand. They know you’re broken. You’re scared. You’re screaming for help. You don’t know what they’re thinking. You don’t know what they’re feeling. You don’t know if they understand. But you need them. And as they take your hand in theirs you fall into them.

“At least your baby is here, healthy and happy! That’s all that matters.”

And the world comes tumbling down.

I have heard this so. Many. Times. I have learned not to react. Not to shut down and wallow. Not to question myself and my own reactions to what happened. I’ve learned that not everyone understands. They can’t. They won’t. I’ve learned to appreciate that birth trauma is still so misunderstood.

I get comments and emails and  messages that question my motives for writing about birth trauma. What happened to me is nothing compared to what happened to them. They went through what I did and they aren’t traumatised, so why am I? They’ve been through much worse, what gives me the right to complain? They don’t have a baby, happy and healthy, at all. So how dare I feel cheated, or mournful or angry?

I won’t dismiss your feelings. But I won’t accept that it’s ok for you to tell me a healthy baby is all that matters. I matter too. My birth experience matters. My emotional wellbeing. My state of mind. I matter as much as you do.

I took a baby home from the hospital and I will always ALWAYS be grateful that I did. I will always know how lucky I am. I will always appreciate the work that was done to save my son’s life. But I will also always remember the horror that was his birth. I only wish I could forget.

A healthy baby is important. But it is NOT all that matters.

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Time for a Spring Clean?

As a kid I always remember my mum embarking upon a spring clean. Time to clear the cobwebs and get the house ready for summer. Whatever that meant. But there really is something quite cathartic about having a clear out, re-arranging furniture and sorting through the boxes of junk you’ve been meaning to sort through since winter began. And now, with my own home to sort, I get it. Spring cleaning is something that creeps up on me rather than a planned event, but I really do find it therapeutic to say the least. So while I’m in the throes of this year’s effort, I thought I’d share some of my favourite spring cleaning tips and  this really fun little video from HomeServe, in honour of the event.

Time for a spring clean_Ghostwritermummy.co.u

Not just a clean

Spring cleaning is not just a clean, in that it’s much more than just sweeping and sorting. I find it helps to me to move on too. This week alone I’ve been through the girls’ wardrobe and cleared out all the tiny baby clothes that I’ve previously been unable to part with. I don’t know why; sometimes it’s hard to let go. But once you do, it can feel quite amazing. So knowing that, I’ve tackled other tricky areas of my life too. I recently shredded all of my old teacher files. Now that was a wrench. Admitting I no longer need them. Leaving behind a career I worked so hard for. Saying goodbye (for now, perhaps) to a job that turned my life around. However you look at it, its huge. A chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. And start again we must.

Here are my top five Spring clean tips. What are yours? (more…)

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Aloka Sleepy Lights

It’s no secret that Elsie is not a great sleeper. I think it’s been a combination of her personality, reflux and the awful persistent night time cough she has had literally all her life. The allergies and the ‘restricted’ airways don’t do her any favours and over the last 18 months we’ve tried so many things to try and make night times a little easier on us all. At the moment she shares with Bella and luckily her big sister is a really heavy sleeper, so she never wakes when Elsie does- we can only hope that continues! One of the things we’ve been trying out with Elsie is an Aloka Sleepy Light. It’s a night light with a difference, as much for Bella and me as it is for Elsie to be honest. Here are our thoughts, on the product, and on night lights in general.

Aloka nightlight_Ghostwritermummy.co.uk (more…)

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