Feminism… *gasp* Why such a bad label?

Feminism….*gasp!* Why such a bad label?
Feminism rocks

Lets start by saying I for one do not believe in ‘labels’.  Being labeled a  ‘blonde’,  a ‘mum’ or a (hiss) ‘stay at home mum’ the list is endless. Labels are left open to so many ridiculous connotations. I suffered quite severely at the hands of bullies during my schooling days. During these dark times, countless people told me that it was because I was ‘different’ or ‘pretty’ (I struggle even writing that now Cringe! Pretty?) & I just couldn’t fathom this. I saw no difference between my contemporaries & me. I didn’t see people as a label even back then. As it so happened, years later & by chance I crossed paths with one of these said ‘bullies’, & the first words uttered from his mouth materialised into a full-blown apology for his behaviour way back when. Turns out all those wise voices were right, he ‘fancied’ me. Go figure. I’m not after any sympathy votes, if it wasn’t for these vile individuals & their actions towards me then, I wouldn’t have turned into the character I am today: Strong in my own conviction I feel no pressure to conform to any label. I am ME. I can be a rule unto my own. Yes, this is often viewed as being a pain ‘in ones derrière ’ (oh well) but applauded by many others. Frankly, I am happy being myself & that’s what counts.

This is ME!

This is ME!

Feminism isn‚Äôt a label; its very definition is a collection of movements and ideals, aimed at defining, establishing & defending equality & rights for women. It can be a way of life for some. Yet, if you‚Äôre a woman who freely admits to being a ‚Äòfeminist‚Äô, well you‚Äôre a brave soul! Feminists & the feminism movement tend to get such a bad reputation in the press. Admittedly certain celebrities‚Äô individuals, who splash themselves around in the national media, suffocation us with their somewhat skewed opinions, make the situation that much worse. I‚Äôm not asking for a fight, as all feminism is personal. It‚Äôs the experiences & opportunities we encounter. I am confident in my opinions and I‚Äôm strong enough in my ‚Äòsense of self‚Äô, that I don‚Äôt feel the need to shout from the rafters my beliefs. If however, that‚Äôs your style then good on you. & If you wish to pin a label upon me, I am ok with this. After all it‚Äôs of no significance to me, just a bunch of letters meaning sweet FA nothing. If asked, even I couldn‚Äôt accurately define myself, partly because I don‚Äôt want to be ‚Äòdefined‚Äô but also because depending on what time of the day you ask me, I could be a multitude of sociological labels! I believe I am a feminist. We are all born equals. Society, & the pressures involved to ‚Äòconform‚Äô & to fit a ‚Äòlabel‚Äô far too easily take this essence away. Fundamentally, I support the rights and equality of women, in my own unique way. An example like ‚Äòtaking your husbands‚Äô surname in marriage, to me, in no way undervalues your ‚Äòfeminism‚Äô beliefs. Yes, you part ways with an element of your ‚Äòidentity‚Äô that you‚Äôve grown used to & proud of over the years, but a mere name should not define your ideals (it doesn’t define you). Again, it‚Äôs all personal choice. The fact that some couples flip the conventional name lark on it‚Äôs head & adopt the wife‚Äôs‚Äô surname, shows to some extent the acceptance & understanding that exists within society.

I'm married & I took his last name, as a show of unity. Does this make me any less of a feminist? I don't think so.

I’m married & I took his last name, as a show of unity. Does this make me any less of a feminist? I don’t think so.

I praise all those women who have the gumption to stand up against society for the right reasons in the face of adversity, with the determination to succeed in achieving true equality: Malala Yousafzai, the young girl from Pakistan, Is such an absolute inspiration & example of feminism in its purest form for the present time. http://www.flickr.com/photos/114665175@N07/12824650005/ In this day & age it can be taken far too much for granted though, how far equality has come, yet it still has so much more to achieve. We should recognise strong women like Germaine Greer leading the pack back in the seventies. Regardless if you agree with her opinions or not, (I respect her work, but shrug off a fair amount of her opinions too). There’s no doubt she made some massive waves in the feminism movement. So there we have it. I’m a feminist. Minus the ‘moon cup’ endorsing -why would you, why? Actually, don’t answer that! (If you’re asking ‘what is a moon cup’, that my dear is what Google was invented for) & not a hairy armpit in sight!

I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, but I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights’ – Ellen Degeneres

More than anything, I want to raise my son to be proud of his mummy, & have the upmost respect for women: for him to hold the belief that anything is possible in life if you’re willing to put in the hard graft. & If nothing else, I truly think women of the ‘feminism’ moment demonstrate this to the highest level.

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An afternoon stroll…. Dulwich Park

After what feels like an entire season dedicated to rain, we were rewarded with relatively pleasant weather on Saturday..can i get a ‘hooray’?. All be it a lil‚Äô nippy, it was dry! & The glorious winter sun made the occasional appearance *round of applause please*

Donning our warmish attire, we all bundled into the car & headed out to make the most of the afternoon. We popped over to Dulwich park, where Bear thoroughly enjoyed running in & out of the shrubbery with Daddy not far behind…

Watch out Dulwich park...wild child on the prowl

Watch out Dulwich park…wild child on the prowl

Bear engaged in one of his favorite skyward-bound activities-plane spotting .…

"pooh, plane!!"

“oooh, plane!!”

The dulwich park wildlife...

The dulwich park wildlife…

 

After a burst of energetic enthusiasm, it was time to ward off a chill by seeking a warm drink & a nibble from the village shops.

taking in the views On the way to the village

taking in the views On the way to the village

 

We stumbled upon Gail’s artisan Bakery. It was bursting at the seam with villagers & that’s sure to be a good sign so we dived in.

Little village bakery...

Little village bakery…

They had a nice selection of drinks, pastry goodies & a couple of gluten free choices. We were Happy campers! I had a tasty Green Tea & gluten free coconut macaroon, Bear & Daddy shared a couple of cookies‚Ķ…Someone likes chocolate

'Chocolate chops!!!'

‘Chocolate chops!!!’

Walking back from the village we took a little detour through Dulwich picture gallery.

Dulwich picture gallery

Dulwich picture gallery

The architecture, style & design of this place are very pleasing on the eye. Investigating it further will have to wait for another time as a little someone had a chocolate-induced-sugar-rush on the horizon & frankly a gallery is no place for this melt down to take place!

Dulwich day out I do love visiting this village; it has such a friendly feel. You feel welcomed & as if you’re part of the community, not something that you’d usually expect in a ‘London’ suburb. & Is it just me, or do you find the sun always shines in Dulwich?

It’ll probably be another year now until we visit again; we really should visit more often. If any of you have a ‘secret gems’ hidden away in Dulwich Village be sure to share them with me & it’ll give me the oomph to get back there sooner to investigate……

Tongue Tie & Breastfeeding

Make yourself a cuppa & grab a yummy biscuit. Lets get stuck in, read on….

Did anyone watch BBC news breakfast on Tuesday morning? The chances are, that if you’re reading this you probably did. Or you’ve landed here after scoring the internet for advice and help on tongue tie. Before my little bear was born, I’d heard the phrase ‘tongue tie’ being used in a jovial way for when you got your words all muddled up. Shortly after his slightly dramatic entrance into the world I had the displeasure of understanding it’s origin. Not a laughing matter I assure you. I won’t give you the medical low down, you can read that here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tongue-tie/Pages/Introduction.aspx

I will tell you about my experience, and I hope in some way it can help anyone going through a similar situation.

You can see left, how restricted Bear's tongue movement is. & right- nickname bear, & a bear by nature!

You can see left, how restricted Bear’s tongue movement is. & right- nickname bear, & a bear by nature!

As you read on, it may be difficult to wrap your head around why I seemed so hell bent on pursuing breastfeeding, given everything I came up against? & In retrospect 2 years down the line, I often think ‘Wow, I was stubborn’. I feel so grateful that I had such an amazing support network around who backed me for persevering with breastfeeding, yet were really reassuring that if I wanted or needed to switch to formula this was perfectly ok too. I feel like I made the best decisions for Bear & me, at that particular time & that’s the most important thing. Would I handle it differently now? Maybe, maybe not. I’m satisfied I coped the best way I could back then. Ultimately I did what I intrinsically felt was right in that moment.

So I said bear made a slightly dramatic entrance into the world. The point is regardless of how he arrived, he did. He was healthy, here & that was the ultimate goal. After a ridiculous amount of hours in ‚Äòactive‚Äô labour on just gas & air, I had an epidural & eventually ended up needing an emergency C-section. It couldn‚Äôt have been further from my ‚Äòhypnotherapy-water-natural- birth please‚Äô but I‚Äôd always remained realistic, that these things no matter how well you prepare yourself, just don‚Äôt always go to ‚Äòplan‚Äô. As crazy as it sounds, I think it’s fair to say I always like to feel ‚Äòin control‚Äô & I may be stating the bloody obvious, that during the birth process this gets thrown out the window (along with all your heirs and graces)! But having total control taken away & being told ‚ÄòWe have to deliver your baby with medical intervention/ major surgery‚Äô I think sent me off on a crusade afterwards. I wanted to do everything within my power to be ‚Äònatural‚Äô & ‚Äòbreast is best‚Äô blah, blah, blah. When I was in a very sorry state with nipples so severely damaged that I‚Äôd rather have been in labour again, this was my driving force. Slightly crazy. No, downright bonkers really.

Baby bear: the first few weeks. As close to a breastfeeding picture i would allow to be taken!

Baby bear: the first few weeks (hours old, days old, weeks old). As close to a breastfeeding picture i would allow to be taken!

I knew from the very first feed in hospital something was wrong. I took full advantage of the nursing staff around & asked if he was latching on properly at every opportunity. They reassured me that his latch was great & it was just because my nipples needed to ahem, ‚Äòtoughen up‚Äô (What? Really?) & Explained that once milk production started it would be fine. Being a ‘first time mummy’ I just accepted this advice, I knew no different. & It‚Äôs hardly a hot topic whilst you‚Äôre pregnant, talking about what happens to your ‘udders’ in the early stages of feeding. I avidly followed a certain baby magazine & not once did I see any articles about breastfeeding hurting. You just presume that baby goes on & ‚Äòvoil√†‚Äô they feed. At least, that’s what I thought.

I had to stay in hospital for a couple of nights & I feel this was the worst but part of the whole delivery/ post birth for me: there you are, with your new bundle of joy, you‚Äôre recovering from major surgery, your husband/ partner is not allowed to stay, you‚Äôre all on your own. & Your baby just won‚Äôt stop screaming (Even though he‚Äôs become a permanent fixture to you breast for what feels like all night). You‚Äôre sharing a room with 3 other mother & babies and one rude, condescending mum turns to you and says ‚ÄòYou need to feed your baby‚Äô. Now, had I my wits about me I would have responded to her with my sharp tongue. But I felt like there was something seriously wrong with bubba’s feeding & her comment only served to increase my worry.

Baby bear starting to look skinny-worrying times

Baby bear starting to look skinny-worrying times

When I returned home, M commented on how much bear cried. Was it normal for a newborn to scream that much? Talk about feeling helpless. At 5 days old, my lovely photographer friend Lyanne visited to do a newborn shoot with us. She gets you to feed baby so they’re ‘milk drunk’ & snoozy, it makes for some great pictures (see below)! But little bear just didn’t want to cooperate with this. Ly observed Bear feeding & advised me to check with my midwife if he was tongue tied so I did, straight away. This was dismissed immediately.  Ly wasn’t convinced & neither was I, so I asked for second & even 3rd opinions. Dismissed every time, I resided myself to the fact that breastfeeding was just this bloody painful & required me to shed a tear every time a feed happened. I envied seeing women so easily feeding their child.

Little bear at 5 days old. www.lyannewylde.com

Little bear at 5 days old. www.lyannewylde.com

Mummy & baby bonding time, bliss! & a Photo shy but ever so proud daddy......

Mummy & baby bonding time, bliss! & a Photo shy but ever so proud daddy…… www.lyannewylde.com

At 3 weeks old, I will say I hit a brick wall. I just couldn‚Äôt carry on being in so much pain. I wanted to enjoy & savour every precious moment bonding with bear, not fearing the pain. With so much conflicting advice about mixed feeding I just didn‚Äôt know what to do. I visited a local drop in feeding clinic where a lovely lady confirmed Bear was in fact severely tongue tied (90%). How the bloody hells bells, did that keep getting missed?! A referral to Kings Collage Hospital London was made for a ‘tongue division’, but I was warned this would take at least 3 weeks. Panic ensued within me. By this point, Bear had lost weight & it was starting to get very worrying: my GP & midwife were really concerned. I could not wait 3 weeks. I wouldn‚Äôt. It was early December, what if we had snow & it was delayed even further? In sheer desperation, I searched high & low and found a lady who would come to you & perform the procedure. I researched her & asked my local feeding clinic: although legally they weren‚Äôt allowed to recommend anyone, they said this particular lady was well known & had a great reputation. My husband M & I affectionately referred to her as ‚Äòthe boobie lady‚Äô, her name was¬†Ann Dobson.¬†She deserves a medal. I’m not sure what we would have done without her. She had visited us within a day of calling her & performed the tongue dividing procedure immediately. Unfortunately Bear had to have this operation repeated a¬†few weeks later due to scar tissue formation.

Eventually he started feeding better, I was able to express milk as well as breastfeed to top him up (& allow my nipples to heal) & he would have a little formula to help him along also. I‚Äôd suffered 3 bouts of mastitis, and severe nipple trauma & started to make a slow recovery from this. At 5 months I had taken all i could, & it was a easy transition to formula (I’m still not sure my nipples have forgiven me for the sheer bloody torture!)

We were extremely fortunate to have financial assistance from family to be able to afford a private practitioner, for which we are ever so grateful. This isn’t going to be an option for everyone, but what mother with a newborn will be prepared to wait 3 weeks when their child is already suffering? It’s incredibly frustrating that this can be so easily diagnosed & treated; yet there just doesn’t seem to be enough sufficiently trained ‘medical’ staff for this. I stumbled across a petition today calling for a mandatory check for tongue tie as routine postnatal examination http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/57164. We can only hope, right?

I can hardly believe that in just over 2 years this is the first time I‚Äôve heard tongue tie being discussed in the media. I‚Äôm so pleased it’s being explained on a platform such as the BBC & it can only serve to help raise the profile of this condition.

Super Busy Mum
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Feel Good Friday

It’s raining outside. No, make that pouring. Great weather for amphibians, hideous weather for us Homo sapiens.  Forces of nature aside, it is a Friday. So I thought I would post a little ‘Feel Good Friday’ inspiration!

When life gives you rain, make rainbows:

When life gives you rain, make rainbows

When life gives you rain, make rainbows

I haven’t seen a rainbow in years, & in the last few weeks I’ve seen a couple of these beauties. Rainbows are magical, don’t you think? Whilst on the subject of magical, has anyone found a leprechaun with his pot of gold at the end of these ‘bows?

& finally a ‘Feel Good Friday’ Quote from Spiritual Vibes ‏‪@kamranbedi

When you say ‘yes’ to life, you turn on a magnetic energy that starts to attract good into your experiences. Remove fear & negativity.

Onwards & upwards folks! To quote my two year old ‘Rain rain go away, come again another day’! Actually no, we don’t need you ‘another day’ just go away. For now.

Happy Friday y’all!

 

IKEA ‘Be brave, not Beige’

The looming clouds above the IKEA chimneys reflected the mood of most shoppers inside!

The looming clouds above the IKEA chimneys reflected the mood of most shoppers inside!

If you’re crazy enough (like we were this weekend) to enter the manic world of off-the-shelf & mass-produced Swedish Design, in my book that counts as brave! When our house was but a mere shell, & more welcoming to the builders than any other civilisation (apart from the gigantic spider that refused to stay in the garden). This place became our regular late night haunt. Don’t say we didn’t know how to live! You would have found us there at least once a week pacing the self service isles, hunting down that one last component needed to complete a whole (as opposed to half) piece of furniture. Which for some reason & still remains unanswered to me, seems to be located in a black hole?

This was of course before little Bear entered our world, & trips to Ikea now have to be arranged around a time that lord snotface finds convenient.

On this occasion, it happened to be on a Saturday afternoon. Bad luck to us. It was heaving! Alas, the joke is on you, God’s of Saturday shopping! & You can’t scare me Ikea! For I (like a superhero), have the ability to recall your store layout! Ha! No dilly-dallying, and meandering through the winding walk paths. Nope, nadda this old carry on. Straight to the kids department, using the short cut. Grabbing the items I had pre assigned to our shopping list in my ‘memory bank’, whilst at the same time swerving like a rally driver to avoid an unprecedented amount of trolleys’. I think my shop was complete within 10 minutes (does that mean I should add ‘professional shopper’ to my CV?).

Inspiration for my budding Artiste!

Inspiration for my budding Artiste!

Like nearly all little boys, mine is obsessed with cars/ trains/ tractors. Car mat is a must. & he's in to 'snap snaps' in a BIG way...

Like nearly all little boys, mine is obsessed with cars/ trains/ tractors. Car mat is a must. & he’s in to ‘snap snaps’ in a BIG way…

But whoa there, wait a minute! I got a little ahead of myself, and it slipped my mind about the small detail of having to queue to pay for said items. Big mistake. The scene awaiting us as we approached the till area can be described best as a massive swarm of wasps. & I don’t like wasps. So how was this for a bit of ‘off the cuff’ ingenious thinking (in my humble opinion)? With Bear acting up, I took the executive decision that I could best entertain him and divert his attention by heading off on a walking adventure, whilst M stayed to wait out the marathon queue & pay (he he he)!

Shelf searching, manic queuing & crowds aside, you’ve gotta love a bit of Ikea. Our home reads like a page out of one of their catalogues. I’d say 80% of our purchases from there are decent quality & reasonably priced goods, which are great value for money. Bear’s nursery is kitted out head to toe in Ikea & it’s had dozens of compliments (even from friends who have spent a small fortune on their own bubba’s nursery). & Quite honestly, babies/ toddlers/ children are an expensive hobby, so where you can save a couple of ££’s without having to compromise on style, safety & quality it seems frivolous to me not to take advantage & ‘be Swedish’ as they say!

Lord of the manor's boudoir

Lord of the manor’s boudoir

The range that we have-looks tons more expensive than it is.

The range that we have-looks tons more expensive than it is.

A wise word or warning: the market hall. This welcoming area is sure to capture your imagination & convince you that just must have that candle, or glass vase. Don’t be sucked in, stay strong and don’t deviate from your list! Unless of course that’s what you’re there for (after all, we made all or wedding center pieces using ikea glass wear & candles).

As long as you enter the store fully prepared for a bit of chaos, & the idea of self-assembly isn’t too intimidating, Ikea needn’t be scary! Now, if I could just fine where I left that allen key…….