A Letter To My Children After The Orlando Shootings

Dear Girls,

Sometimes really bad things happen in the world. Things that can hardly be explained among grownups, never mind being explained to  young children.This weekend one of those bad things happened. A bunch of people were in a nightclub in Orlando, dancing and having fun, when a man walked in and started shooting. He killed 49 people that night, simply because he didn’t agree with some of their choices. It wasn’t any of his business, really, but he felt they deserved to die. And ended up dying himself, leaving behind his own wife and child.

The whole situation is terrible, but there’s one story I want to tell you about. One person who really touched me. It was a young man by the name of Eddie Justice. He was 30 years old, and while he was pinned down in a bathroom, held hostage by the gunman, he was sending texts to his mother. When I read that, I cried. Read more: A Letter To My Children After The Orlando Shootings

Temporary Victory For Term Time Holidays (And Why This Really Matters!)

I am so excited today about the High Court’s verdict in the case of Jon Platt versus the Isle of Wight council. For those who don’t know about this, Mr Platt took his child out of school in April last year for a term time family holiday. As is normal, he was fined £60 by the Isle of Wight council for removing child from school, and the fine was doubled to £120 when he refused to pay it. In October, Mr Platt went to court because he was of the opinion that he was within the law, which states that children have to be regularly attending school. The exact wording of the law says:

If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence. 1

In the previous year, Mr Platt’s daughter had 93.6% attendance at school 2 which he deemed constituted ‘regular’ attendance – which is what the High Court today agreed with.

This ruling may not affect me personally, but I am beyond happy with it. My children are educated at home, so we can (and do) go where ever we want, whenever we want, and the inability to have term time holidays was a big – obviously not the only, but a big – part of why we opted to home educate. statues-919023_960_720Read more: Temporary Victory For Term Time Holidays (And Why This Really Matters!)

  1.  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/444
  2.  http://news.sky.com/story/1695495/father-wins-court-battle-on-school-holidays

Lack Of Experience Doesn’t Equate To Informed Decisions, OBGYN

I read an article titled Why Posh has the right to push: Caesareans are no more dangerous than natural births last night, and I have been hopping mad  over it ever since.

Let’s be clear about a few things here:

  1. I don’t care what Posh (Victoria Beckham) does. My anger isn’t about her.
  2. This is an article in the Daily Mail. It’s not journalistic excellence, but is the kind of thing the majority of the country reads on a daily basis.
  3. I am not bashing women who’ve had emergency caesareans here -or even less the ones that have had elective caesareans – your body, your choice.

Read more: Lack Of Experience Doesn’t Equate To Informed Decisions, OBGYN

Misleading, Inaccurate Headlines Harm Babies Too

I went away for the weekend and seem to have come back to the world gone mad. Headlines such as “Breast is not best“, “Exclusively breast-feeding for six months ’causes allergies“, and “Mother’s milk”may do more harm than good are all over my RSS feeds.

Now, Analytical Armadillo has written an exemplary article on the ‘facts’ behind this study, and Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths has raised very valid points about the media involvement in the controversy over this. But here are my thoughts on it.
Read more: Misleading, Inaccurate Headlines Harm Babies Too

News Of The Week: Paid Surrogacy – Immoral Or Not?

I read an article this week which really bothered me. To start off with, the article titled Why it is immoral to deny payment to surrogate mothers, was certainly meant to grab attention and get a reaction, which it did!
Read more: News Of The Week: Paid Surrogacy – Immoral Or Not?

News Of The Week: Forced Adoption And Conditional Love

I was reading the Guardian Life & Style Family section and “My mum said I must give up my baby” caught my eye. The stories are all sad, and all about the same. It was the 50’s or the 60’s and my parents didn’t want me bringing shame on their house so they took away my child and told me to get on with my life. My thoughts this morning are not on adoption, but on the conditions that are set on our children for them to ‘earn’ our love.
Read more: News Of The Week: Forced Adoption And Conditional Love

News Of The Week: Scientists Discover What Triggers Labour

Well, doesn’t that just sound like great news! I can’t begin to count how many articles, stories and books I’ve read around childbirth and labour and how many times I’ve read the line ‘no one really knows what triggers labour‘. It seems that’s all about to change.

The actual explanation of the process in Nature News is quite long and sciency, so I’ll share the short version from Strollerderby:

“The key is that tiny micro-fragments of RNA (DNA’s single-stranded cousin) in the uterus become extra active at the end of pregnancy. As circulating progesterone levels fall, these miRNA pieces are expressed strongly.

The miRNA affect two important genes (ZEB1 and ZEB2). These two genes keep labor at bay, because they keep levels of contraction-inducing hormones, like oxytocin, down.

Rising miRNA block the two genes, letting oxytocin loose, and labor beings.

Doctors and researchers know that infections and inflammation cause women to go into labor early. So they tested this on mice, inducing labor in some with an infection and others with hormones. Sure enough, the cascade of miRNA and ZEB genes held up.

This is a surprise to scientists, because the ZEB genes weren’t thought to be involved in labor at all – a scientific curveball. Now they know that when a woman gets an infection, these genes and the miRNA kick off contractions.”

Now scientists are really excited about developing a new series of treatments to help prevent pre-term labour, and help keep pregnant mothers pregnant until their babies are ready to be born. Of course, that’s great news! I was in an NICU unit just last week and some of those babies are so small, I was afraid to breathe around them.

But it does lead me to wonder about something else: that whole ‘you have to be induced within 24 hours of your water’s breaking for fear of infection’ rule. This is often a determining factor in women having to be induced, which we all know by now can lead to a ‘cascade of interventions’.

“Mendelson” – the biochemist leading the research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas – “says that many women go into early labour because bacterial infection leads to inflammation, which can induce labour. And labour itself resembles the body’s inflammatory response, she notes, in which foreign material is ejected from the body.”

While Hollywood and most of the medical world would lead you to believe that you have to run for the hospital the moment your waters break, there is actually only a very small increase in the risk of infection. A 2007 study published in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that the risk of newborn infection did in fact increase over time: the risk was .3% for a duration of less than 6 hours and increased to 1% for over 24 hours.

1% chance of infection versus the nightmare that labour can be after induction.

I have recently discovered and absolutely fallen in love with the blog of a world travelling doula, DoulaMomma, who wrote a fantastic article with excellent research and studies on what happens when your waters break before labour. It really is well worth a read – as are the real life and real time stories in the comments below.

I think it’s fantastic that “they” are developing a treatment for pre-term labours, but I would love to see some research on the reverse – is spontaneous labour missed by lack of ‘infection’ due to inducing too early?

News Of The Week: Everyday Chemicals May Be Harming Kids

If I had a £1 for every time I had said to people ‘just because there’s a smiling baby on the cover doesn’t mean it’s good for your baby’, well, I’d have a lot more money in my wallet. So I was absolutely thrilled this week to find a CNN article confirming what I have felt for a long time: Everyday chemicals may be harming kids
Read more: News Of The Week: Everyday Chemicals May Be Harming Kids