Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Seven Things

I've been tagged in a meme for the first time (yey!), although I admit I waved my hand in the air like a schoolgirl and shouted "me, me" (or the Twitter equivalent). Thank you to Kirsty at Imperfect Pages for obliging!

What's this particular meme? To list seven true facts about me that you won't know. Given that you don't know me from Adam, it should be quite easy to fulfil the "don't know" part, but I've gotta make them at least vaguely interesting. Can my sleep deprived mind do that? Let me know...

1. I'm scared of spiders. Not in the running around screaming sort of way, but certainly in the rooted to the spot yelling for help way. I also find them fascinating and sometimes beautiful. I think it's actually the thought of them on me that's the issue rather than the actual spider, and they move so darned fast... When Father Badger and I started dating, the flat I lived in seemed to breed huge black spiders in autumn. I could just about manage to trap each one under the largest Pyrex bowl I had, then I'd call him to come and release it outside. Apparently it's helped him deal with his fear of spiders!

2. We've had our car for almost a year and it's never been washed (unless you count the snow I rubbed over the number plate last month). I hate washing cars. So pointless. I'm holding out hope that Volvo will wash it when it goes in for its service next week.

3. I play in a brass band - ooh, how rock and roll! I started on the trumpet when I was seven years old and, over a quarter of a century later, I'm still playing.

4. I love making stuff. I made Baby Badger's nursery curtains, and I've sewn toys and mobiles. I've even made some clothes, but I wouldn't say I was particularly good  as a seamstress! I can knit anything as long as it's a scarf. When Baby Badger is old enough for "make and play" we'll have a box full of old cardboard, yoghurt pots and tin foil and we'll make stuff too. What fun!

5. I've been on holiday to some fairly exciting places. I've stayed in the Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland. I've snorkelled with sealions around the Galapagos. I've trekked to see mountain gorillas in Uganda (although I did have visions of being airlifted out when my legs became too tired to go any further). I've been to North Korea, which was fun other than the unsettling experience of handing over my passport for "safe keeping" for the duration.

6. I'm a bit of an Eats, Shoots & Leaves girl. I hate poor spelling, become irritated by bad grammar and obsess about misuse of apostrophes. That's not to say that my blog won't have the odd typo, and I'm aware that the slightly chatty style of blog writing doesn't use perfect grammar, but I never promised consistent standards.

7. Following the trend of slightly gross body-related facts: I have three pairs of piercings in my ears plus one at the top left, and the second pair was done by me with a darning needle. I was bored, and got into a whole heap of trouble when my mum noticed. I also had my belly button pierced for a while, but it came out on the aforementioned trip to North Korea. I still have a lump of scar tissue from it that I play with in the bath. Mmmm...

I'm now meant to tag fifteen other bloggers to do this, but I'm rather new to this blogging malarky so don't know many to tag! If you'd like a go at this let me know: add a comment or tweet me.

Image: Rawich /

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Breastfeeding is Ick

It's been a while since I blogged, mainly because Baby Badger is demanding much more of my time. She's awake much more, wants to be involved in everything and I'm pretty sure the dreaded separation anxiety has kicked in (a few months early if you believe the books). That, however, is not why I'm writing.

I've written a few times about breastfeeding (Breast is Best and Breast is Best: the backlash), and I was pretty damning about mothers who don't attempt to breastfeed. That was back in August and the time I've spent reading blogs during the endless night feeds (hurrah for the iPhone) has mellowed my view on things. That doesn't mean I'm any less passionate about breastfeeding, but I've learnt a lot more about the real obstacles that face many (if not the majority of) mums.

Something that's grabbed my attention over the last few days is the uproar caused by Facebook's curious double standards over what is deemed acceptable content. The Leaky Boob is a page that provides support and advice to breastfeeding mums and with over five and a half thousand "likes" it has supported a huge number of mums to continue with breastfeeding. A few days ago, this Facebook page disappeared, apparently because of the breast-related content. There are also numerous personal accounts being suspended because proud mums are uploading photos of their babes breastfeeding. Ridiculous! The Leaky Boob has since been reinstated, thanks to the efforts of thousands of supporters, but most of the personal accounts have not been. What kind of society do we live in when the mammary gland is considered as inappropriate subject matter unless sporting a Wonderbra?

A favourite parenting blog of mine is the Analytical Armadillo. There is a wealth of information, not just on breastfeeding but also on other aspects of parenting. Recently she invited mums to share their experience of breastfeeding and the support they were given, and these stories are starting to be published: try reading Verity's story or Kayleigh's story and I challenge you not to be touched and concerned. Next, have a look through some of the other articles, such as 70% of mums have felt pressure to stop breastfeeding - I was one of those who replied yes to the poll. Now have a look at recent press coverage of breastfeeding: among other publications we can read Heat's article about Natalie Cassidy, with "Ick" and "Eeeeww" used in reference to breastfeeding.

It seems to me that we have two huge problems to overcome. The first is the NHS: most healthcare professionals are very well meaning when it comes to supporting breastfeeding but the service is hugely under-staffed, lacking in training and there is no consistency in the level of knowledge and care. The second is that western society sees breastfeeding as theoretically good but in practical terms a bit of a taboo, and certainly not something to be considered past six months.

It really makes me feel rather sad.
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