Waiting for Agnes

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Zero perspective October 20, 2010

Filed under: No baking today,Parenting — titchandboofer @ 7:04 am
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I haven’t posted for about a hundred years.

For approximately seventy-eight of those years I have had a thumping headache.

The beloved has been at work all day, every day for the past eighty-two years.

Small hasn’t slept more than a minute at night for the past ninety-nine years.

He hasn’t slept because he has been busy breastfeeding every minute.

Every other minute he screeches like a furious crow and breakdances round the bed and pillows, executing fast kicks to the bladder.

Am sure he is screeching and writhing in agonising pain, as I am a dreadful parent who has given him too much cows milk. And biscuits, mustn’t forget the biscuits.

Have surely set him up to have some lifelong dairy/wheat/food generally intolerance.

My brain is irreversibly besludged and I will never be able to think coherently again.

Re-enrolling to do my masters was worst idea ever, as thoughts of multitasking completely paralyse me. Also, see above.

Have not called Centrelink, despite writing ‘call centrelink’ on thirty-eight different lists.

Will probably be sent to prison for diddling them out of their seventy-five cents a week.

Have also failed to rsvp to things, answer phone calls, return messages or respond to simple requests.

Suspect is good thing I cannot be sent to prison for being crap friend.

Obviously we can never have more children. Am unable to wrangle just one.



Step Back in Time August 5, 2010

Filed under: Midwifery,No baking today — titchandboofer @ 9:44 am
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I am a midwife. It is 2010. I work for a large public hospital. To be specific, I am employed by the hospital. Like most of my midwifery colleagues in the hospital system, I work with many different medical professionals, obstetricians, GP-Obstetricians, paediatricians, anaesthetists, endocrinologists and so on. Some I like, some I don’t, some I have great respect for, professionally, and some I emphatically do not. I do not work for any of them. To reiterate, I am not employed by an obstetrician. Midwives, by and large, do not work for obstetricians. I know I’m being heavy-handed here, but we are employed by hospital management. We go to work for professional fulfillment, to earn a living, to care for the women and their families, and to care for their babies. It has been several decades now since we have gone to work to be subservient handmaidens to the obstetric staff.

Oh I could go on and on in this vein…we are health professionals in our own right, we can be autonomous practitioners, we have professional codes of practice and ethics, we undergo years of study and supervised practice, we are held to a high standard and undergo professional appraisal every year. We don’t just get to show up, hold a woman’s hand, wrap the baby in a clean blanket, make her a nice cup of tea and empty the bins afterwards. We don’t get to do this job because we’re all so bloody nice. Culturally, socially, there is a commonly heard suggestion: ‘oh, she’s such a nice girl and she really loves babies, she’d be an excellent midwife’. Well that’s crap. Some of us are nice and some of us aren’t very nice at all, but most of us are damn good at the job. Obstetricians, well do I even need to say it? No one cares if they’re men or women (but mention a male midwife and you might as well have three heads), or if they’re ‘nice’, or even if they’re particularly experienced (yet I cannot count how many times I’ve been asked how many babies I’ve delivered – one, my own, the others I’ve caught as their mothers have brought them into the world). And somehow everyone assumes that they’re our employers.

Well they might not have to strain themselves to think differently for much longer. Despite the Government stating, in March, “there is no intention to provide a right of veto over another health professional’s practice” that is exactly what they have done. While they’re proudly advertising their great health reforms of increasing options for women by allowing midwives access to pharmaceutical prescribing rights and Medicare rebates, they’ve carefully put a considerable hurdle in front of any privately practicing midwife who tries to make this happen. Any midwife who wants these rights must not just show that they are collaborating with an obstetrician, but have their practice endorsed by said obstetrician. The first analogy that springs to mind is that of dentists and orthodontists. You go to a dentist for normal tooth care and then get sent off to the orthodontist when things are a little more complicated. No-one is suggesting that orthodontists get a say over whether or not dentists can set up shop.

I’m all for collaboration, for standards, for guidelines, for safeguards, for accountability. I’m not for my colleagues from another profession having a say over how I get to practice. We have a regulating body for that already. And I doubt that they’d appreciate the reverse, if each private obstetrician had to get a midwife’s endorsement (oh, the hilarity – ‘Dr X? He’s lovely but he does routinely cut episiotomies on every first time mother’. ‘Dr Y? Not a great bedside manner and tends to suggest formula feeding in case the baby sucks to hard on the mother’s nipples’). Fortunately we all get a say over whether politicians get to keep their jobs.


Oh, how we laughed! August 3, 2010

I am a little bit stubborn. Well, mule-like could be more accurate. When I’m in the mood I will argue the toss for the sake of it, baselessly insist on being right on topics about which I know nothing and resist suggestion until I can work out a way to do it so that it looks like it was my idea in the first place. Obviously I am going to get a real kick out of arbitrary, blanket rules being proclaimed by experts, celebrities, politicians, or just about anyone.

Things that have been giving me a giggle this week:

Gisele Bundchen declaring that there should be a world-wide law making mothers breastfeed their babies for the first six months of their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I think breastfeeding is excellent, nourishing, nurturing, life-saving in areas of contaminated water supply, it bolsters the health of women and babies and can even be fun. From a thoroughly personal perspective, I often have trouble understanding why more people don’t do it purely on the grounds that it’s free and portable and no-one has to do the washing up afterwards. I can also attest to breastmilk being useful if you need to soothe a jellyfish sting, amongst other medicinal boons. Should we do more to support women who want to breastfeed? Yes, unequivocally. Should it be mandated? Not on your nelly. Hilariously, the poll attached to this story is currently showing the following results in response to the prompting to ‘Rate Gisele Bundchen’s Call’ – 29% say Excellent in an ideal world, 43% say Daft if the mother is unable to breastfeed and a mere 27% say Up to the mother. Seriously? Now I know the Brisbane Times and its readership aren’t necessarily representative of, say, the world. But over 5000 people have already responded to this poll and the majority are more concerned about women’s potential breastfeeding abilities than their freedom of choice.

Sadie at Jezebel critiquing Maia at Feministe on child-free spaces. Many, many people have responded at length to this article. Many people writing about how they shouldn’t have to be made uncomfortable by other people’s noisy spawn cluttering up bars and R rated movies. Some, generously, commenting on how it’s not their smallness and youngness, but their behaviour that is the reason for excluding them. Some defensively stating that they don’t and shouldn’t have to like children. Some just bitching about Maia and her writing. But mainly a whole lot of whining about being made to feel uncomfortable. Since when did we all become entitled to feel comfortable all the time? There are many sources of discomfort in this world and they’re not all under eighteen.

Dr Wootan via drmomma at peaceful parenting. I’m all for attachment parenting. I love reading about it, talking about it and practicing it on the small person… that is I like the bits I like and I don’t bother with the bits that I don’t. I don’t see it as a program that I’ve signed up for, or a contract that I’m obligated to fulfill in its entirety. I used it as a starting place, from where myself and my partner could develop our own parenting style. I don’t think it should be yet another source of angst and guilt, or another weapon for parents to hit themselves and other parents over the head with. Talking over mugs of tea this morning with my friend, mother of M and her smaller sister L, I described Dr Wootan’s proposal that no mother should leave her child’s side until they are three unless the child is asleep. She just looked at L, who is almost three and alternates between being incredibly sweet and grittily defiant. As we watch her she is trying to upside-down herself onto a rocking horse and ride it into the wall, whilst simultaneously eating her body weight in mandarines. ‘Oh no’ she said, ‘you’ve gotta have a break from that’. We had a good laugh and peeled a few more mandarines. And for us it is true. We love our children dearly but we also love being able to step away for a moment, for whatever reason, even if our children are awake at the time.