Monday 8 October 2012

Talking About Termination of Pregnancy

I feel a little uncomfortable writing this. However it was a tweet that inspired this post, which I can't find now that said basically that the electorate has a right to have their voices heard. So I have a voice, and some opinions and my blog, so here goes.

I don't like abortion. However, I have seen societies were termination of pregnancy is illegal and I really don't like that either. If we outlawed abortion it would happen still, but putting women in extreme danger. Now you can, unbelievably, buy abortion tablets on the internet. Disreuptable illegal clinics would sprout up. Women would flee to other countries.  No I believe in medical termination of pregnancy in safe enviroments with counselling and support.

However, I believe strongly that something is going wrong in terms of the amount of unwanted pregnancy and all this talk of lowering limits is shutting the stable gate. Lets catch the horse first. 

As I was considering what to write I found this fabulous blog post by Dilly Tante, my new favourite blogger (is it wrong to idolise a favicon - so pretty) where she talks about Jeremy Hunt and his desire to see the limit for termination of pregnancy reduced to 12 weeks.

What annoys me is this, what are we actually doing to prevent the rate of unwanted pregnancies in the first place? Where is the debate about what is going wrong?And where are the Tory voices in this? We have more contraception choices than ever before, more means of communicating those choices, yet still the abortion rate continues to be high. We have sex education in schools. I don't know why the unwanted pregnancy rate is high, and I'd love to hear more debate about this and to understand it.

We also have increasing sexualisation of, well, just about everything. Seeing the world through my son's eyes, whilst oftentimes is delightful, is also downright scary.I see what he is exposed to on a daily basis and I worry. I was in my 20s and married before I lost my virginity. I worry about what age Joseph will be when he loses his own.

To me, the talk of lowering the gestational age of termination of pregnancy to 12 weeks is somewhat ridiculous, and that change inadvertantly may cause the rate of terminations to go up not down, as women feel under immense pressure to have the appointment booked by 12 weeks .Chloe talks about this on her post, also written this weekend, from a very personal viewpoint.  Also Jeremy Hunt is not giving the NHS any credit, for their target is to have most terminations done by 10 weeks. The vast amount of terminations are done before the 12 week mark anyway.

I totally agree with Dilly Tante, that Jeremy Hunt's comments are to make Dorries' suggestion of lowering the gestational age from 24 weeks to 20 weeks more appealing. But what really saddens me is that no one seems to be talking about what we can do to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies in the first place. 

Currently the legal limit stands at 24 weeks, and for a lot of us, this seems very high. Many of my readers have had babies at 24 weeks gestation, or indeed younger, and I know that when these debates surface it is upsetting, as there are vehement arguments on both sides. The simple fact is, despite the statistics that might elude otherwise, babies are born at 22-24 weeks, and do survive, albeit with a lot of medical help and support, but they do survive and thrive.

I do think there is a case for lowering the limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. I do appreciate that no one enters into a late term termination lightly, however there is already provision for termination beyond 24 weeks in extenuating and compelling circumstances. Unless the Tories are considering changing this as well (and I've seen no mention of it in the press) then there is still a safety measure in place.

What I think we need overall is dialogue. Termination of pregnancy happens, for lots of reasons. I think as a community and as an electorate we need to unpick those reasons and work on them, help women manage their fertility in a way that suits them, but we need that safety net in place too.  We need to talk about termination of pregnancy, and we need to do it now.

Sunday 7 October 2012

ONE Mum Meme

My friend Michelle from Mummy from the Heart has just arrived in Ethopia. She is there with ONE to gather the living proof that international aid is truly making a difference in Ethiopia. I am excited about Michelle's trip with ONE because it is so easy for us in the UK to wonder if what we do truly makes a difference. I am excited to see what she finds.

ONE is different. We are not asking for money. ONE is a grassroots campaigning organisation, that seeks to hold governments accountable for their decisions in regard to aid. ONE is all about voices, using our voice to effect change. By showing that aid is working then this should mean more adherence by governments to the commitments they make. It's easy in a conference to say "yes we will help", but organisations like ONE, to coin a very Australia turn of phrase, are there to "*keep the bastards honest." 

When she tagged me in the ONE Mum meme I was delighted. I saw it over at Claire's blog Seasider in the City during the week, and it was on my to do list, so tagging has given me an extra incentive to get it done!

So Claire has asked us using the ONE Mums slogan to build a little picture of our thoughts on being a mum.

Olympian - being a mum is an Olympian task, huge resposibility requiring a multitude of skills
Neonatal - my experience of a mum, like it or not began in neonatal and that still colours a lot what being a mum is all about, for me.
Energy - to me being a mum is all about positive energy, and using that for good. And parenting a three year old takes a lot of it.
Memories - being a mum means creating memories, and taking time to reflect on those, and use them to build for the future
Universal - so much of being a mum unites us, wherever we are and whatever we do
Magical - from seeing my son grow from a 1lb 7oz tiny little baby to a gigantic 3 year old, seeing him say his first words, take his first steps, it's really magical
Sensational - being a mum is just fabulous. I never expected to be a mum, and its been an amazing journey.

I am cheating just a little, and am tagging the members of my Facebook group in this meme!

* In Australia the word bastard isn't seen in the same light as the UK, and this is a common term of phrase, which I have to admit I quite like. I do apologise if it offends. Try hearing it in an Aussie accent and its not so bad honest!

Friday 5 October 2012

My Friday Round Up

One of the things I really missed about not having my computer was missing out on reading my favourite blog posts. I find reading on the phone very hard, and whilst I had a quick glimpse, I couldn't read and comment as usual.

On Facebook I have started a group for parent bloggers who blog about neonatal care, baby loss and prematurity. It's become a lovely close knit group. If you blog in this area and would like to join you can find it here.

This post from K at Mummy Pinkwellies is just gorgeous. Littlebit has just celebrated her second birthday and has come a long way in that time. She's just adorable, and I think you will agree this picture of her is very special. The anxiety that comes with having a tiny baby is so hard to appreciate at times, but these two pictures say it all.

Mouse at Nearly Everything But the Kitchen Sink has done some cracking posts this week, so it was hard to choose, but I decided on the post about parks in Newcastle , because I have never been there, and all I know about Newcastle is the Angel of the North and the bridge. I really love the photography, you really get a feel for the place, and I can't wait to visit one day.

Next is the very lovely Leanna and her post over at Diary of a Premmy Mum about her amazing night in London at the MAD Blog Awards. I was so thrilled when Leanna was announced as a finalist. I found that last year that being a nominee really spurred me on with blogging and I hope Leanna has found the same.

I will be blogging a lot more, and asking Kerry from And Then All I Thought About Was You to come and join us, as its Baby Loss Awareness Month. This post highlights that the pain of losing a baby doesn't go away, and mothers like Kerry need to know that we still care and are still here to listen.

I discovered Mommy Beadzoid on Britmums many moons ago, and was excited to find another premmy mum, with a child of similar age to Joseph born at the same gestation. I really love this post about her daughter smacking, as we are going through a similar stage with Joseph, and dealing with it is really difficult. Sadly, we seem to be coming to the same conclusion that there are no easy answers, or quick solutions.

I hope you enjoy this round up of posts. I will chose some more blogs next week. And please, feel free to join our Facebook group.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Things I Have Discovered Since My Computer Died

My computer died about 3 weeks ago now, and my replacement arrived yesterday. I was in no hurry to sort it and I waited until Joseph was asleep to set it up this evening. Here is what I have learned.

1. That I spend way too much time on line. Yes, no brainer really, but my real life was suffering and I didn't realise. Since my computer has been broken I have spent quality time with humans. And I've enjoyed it.

2. To cable knit! This is the person who was scared of increasing and decreasing, and I am knitting a lovely snood/shawl/scarf

3. That my cheap awful tablet isn't so bad after all. I was really disappointed that it only had a limited App store, that I hardly ever used it! Sadly it has now been lost to a 3 foot high person.......who optimistically refers to it as the iPad!

4. I enjoy reading. I read books. Nothing deep (and not that 50 shades of whatever either) but just read for fun.

5. I love the library. I used the local one, which happily is adjacent to preschool. We also have a lovely library in Ramsbottom. Through the library I had free internet access so I could still keep in touch.

6. The internet has been making me poorly. Well that's a slight exaggeration but I have noticed since having limited internet access my IBS has been a lot better. So here is my main lesson.

7. I must learn to manage my time better, and make lots of time for real life. Blogging and social media are fabulous, don't get me wrong, but there are lots of other things in my life too, that make me happy.

8. I love my blog. I am looking forward to blogging regularly again, but I have learnt my lesson. Blogging every day is NOT necessary. Tweeting incessantly, G+ing, Facebooking etc is not necessary either. I have loyal readers, good google hits, so need to relax, enjoy and not put so much pressure on myself!

9. That I am never going to have real life coffee and cake friends unless I leave my PC and get out there! I am delighted to have met a lovely friend at the library (hello Ellie if you are reading this) and making more friends at Joseph's school.

Feel free to remind me of these lessons!