A dress for my brother’s wedding and something just for me


I hardly ever buy clothes for myself these days. That’s what I realised as I browsed Zalando trying to find something to wear to my brother’s wedding.

Almost every purchase I’ve made over the past three years has been for someone else, save some maternity buys and that’s only because my mum read about my uniboob and decided I needed to be rescued. Even then it was mainly second hand clothes from charity shops.

So it was a bit of a treat to buy something new for myself. And, well, I’m a bridesmaid for my sister-in-law to be. I think the only pink thing I own is a cardigan with a hole in the armpit. She’ll kill me if I wear that and if she doesn’t, the sun in Trinidad will.
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How breastfeeding shaped our first year

My Talitha,

We breastfed through painful contractions which shrank my uterus, my terror and shock from the birth, your discomfort from a long and difficult labour, and my exhaustion from days and nights of no rhythm.

It taught me that you are mine. I am yours.

We breastfed through a late diagnosed tongue-tie, repeated plugged ducts, low milk supply, a hundred efforts to make things right, a score of deadlines which came and went without me being able to bring myself to stop, breastfeed after breastfeed which I left me stressed, worried and confused and supplements of formula.

It taught me to look at you carefully, to trust my instincts when I think something’s wrong, to fight for what is ours. It taught me not to judge others. It taught me to accept help, to take one moment at a time, to rely on God for strength.

We breastfed through frequent night wakings, car cryings, clingy periods and a transatlantic airplane journey.

It taught me to hold you close. It taught me that your wants and needs matter, that I have more to give than I ever imagined I did, that my life is no longer just about me.
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And then the cows danced

It was 6.00am when I slipped out of bed. Talitha and Laurence lay beside each other, so alike when asleep. The taxi would be here in half an hour. I hoped she would sleep until then but my morning time imp sensed I’d left the usual spot and reached out for a moment as if for a breast. When she did not find it she woke up smiling and gurgling.

8.00am, our usual waking time found us at Worthy Farm in Glastonbury, looking at cows in their winter shed. All was calm and vaguely sleepy. Talitha, strapped to me, could not be less interested. Cows. So what?

Then we went out into the vast field. I imagined the festival I’d seen so many times on television. The crowds, music and mud were replaced by stretches of green and an atmosphere of quiet expectation. We were waiting for magic to happen.

And it did. The moment the gates opened we knew it. The sound was extraordinary, a type of music. It was like some lowing hallelujah. Then the cows came bounding out, skipping, leaping, you could say, dancing. Yes, I could see why they called this the cow dance.


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Why I’m writing for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt

It’s Breastfeeding Awareness Week later this month and I’ve been wondering how I’d feel about that if I had stopped breastfeeding like I thought I’d have to at eight weeks, then four months, then six months.

Would the acute disappointment, the unnecessary guilt and the pain which felt like, well, grief, have dissipated enough for me to take it in and participate? Would I still be avoiding anything that mentioned the B-word because it still hurt that things hadn’t worked out?

These are personal questions for myself that I’ll never have the answer to. Because I am where I am, still breastfeeding, almost by chance. Because those feelings were rooted in what was happening to my body, my mind and my identity at the time. But actually, it’s probably moot anyway. Breastfeeding Awareness Week always passed me by before. It, sadly, might have done so again this year.

Except that I’m taking part in it. No real surprise there. I talk a lot about boobs and breastfeeding. Yes, you’ve noticed. It’s because I don’t think women should have to experience any of the emotions I described above when it comes to how they feed their children.
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Tipping point – tears for Houla

A week ago at least 105 people were slaughtered in Houla, Syria. 50 are believed to be children. Children as young as babies. Children with their arms tied behind their backs, with limbs cut off, with skulls chopped open, with bullets shot into them at point-blank range.

There is no way to respond to this but with open horror and fervent condemnation. As I bathed my almost one-year-old last night I thought about what I should say in this space, because something must be said. This brutality against innocents cannot go unmarked, unnoticed. All I could think while she gurgled to me and smiled up at me was: “It could have been you.”

What makes these children different from mine other than geography? However limited my understanding of the political situation in Syria may be, I know that these children did not deserve to become casualties of it. I know that we cannot just look on and say: “It’s over there. It’s their problem.”

This is the tipping point.

Today marks a day of protest. We pray for this nation. We cry out for justice for these murders and for an end to the bloodshed. No more children must be killed in this conflict. We insist that aid must be allowed entry.

Join me in urging Russia to stop supplying the Syrian government with arms, to support the referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court and insist that Syrian authorities follow Kofi Annan’s peace plan.

Email the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs through Amnesty International now.

EDIT: Follow the #tippingpoint hashtag on Twitter and visit Brit Mums to read responses to the situation in Syria written by other parent bloggers.


Breastfeeding without Domperidone: the drugs do work but I don’t need them anymore

I was cleaning up the kitchen last night when I came across an empty Domperidone box, which I binned. My breastfeeding days with this drug are over. I no longer need it. Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure when I stopped needing it but I found weaning off it slowly the best way to stabilise.

I’d been taking it to increase my milk supply after trying everything else (pumping, compressions, an SNS). It’s actually meant for nausea but as a side effect increases milk supply by blocking dopamine which then raises your prolactin levels. Now that I no longer need it, I’m able to reflect on the eight months of using it.

I worry that some of the talk about Domperidone among breastfeeding mothers portrays it as a catch-all solution rather than a last resort. The problem is that it works and if you’re experiencing low milk supply, you’re desperate for something that does.
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#FeministFriday and “The Feminist God”

Transatantic Blonde‘s #FeministFriday linky is traveling and has pitched its tent here at Circus Queen this week. Please add links to your feminist posts below. The linky will remain open for one week. If you’d like to host #FeministFriday one week, contact Blondie.

I was going to blog about how attachment parenting and feminism fit together but life got in the way. For a few reasons, this has been a difficult week for me, not least because I am struggling with my identity as mother. Again. So I’m really looking forward to reading your posts and being reminded of how strong women are.

In the meantime, here’s a thrilling guest post written for Circus Queen by my dear friend Kath Cunningham, who blogs at The Long Walk Home. Kath lives in Brighton, writes about the Christian faith and is married to Talitha’s Godfather. They are expecting a baby later this year. As it was a topic that came up at Cybher, I asked Kath to blog about how faith and feminism fit together. She obliged surprisingly quickly.

Please let us both know what you think in the comments and go have a look around at the other #FeministFriday posts in the linky when you’re through.


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