Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Widow's Mite

My Daddy Drew This!
Oh, I so wish I wasn't writing this blog post.

As you know, I rarely post on this blog anymore.  Mostly as so many excellent breastfeeding blogs are out there.  So much passionate lactivism taking place  No need for me to speak, much.

But this one is an old one, sadly.

You'll remember Kerry.   And her beautiful baby boy.  Drawn here by her husband, and the boy's loving father, Mark.

Kerry was seventeen, pregnant, madly in love with her boyfriend, getting married, excited about becoming a mother.

She didn't have a mother of her own.  Brought up partly in care, partly by her grandmother, Kerry had her own social worker.  Had one for years.  A product of the care system.

She lived a happy and fulfilled life in Fife.  She was a qualified nursery worker.  She adored children.  She wanted a large, stable, family of her own.  She wanted a baby, and a husband, and a house, and a fairy tale ending.

She got a fairy tale ending.  The ones with wicked step-mothers, poisoned apples and your heart being cut out of your living body.

Kerry's social worker didn't like Mark.  Didn't like that Kerry was pregnant.  Didn't like that Kerry was getting married.  Social worker tried to persuade Kerry to abort the baby.  Kerry refused.  Kerry was happy to be pregnant.  Happy to be starting a new life and a family.  Happy to be in love and looking forward to her wedding.

Kerry's social worker cancelled the wedding.  Literally.  Kerry's social worker wrote to the registrar and objected to the wedding:  the wedding was cancelled.  Why?  Kerry was "too dumb" to understand what getting married meant.

"Too dumb".

Not, too uneducated.  Not, mild learning difficulty, life in care, not good with writing.  "Too dumb".  Too stupid.  Too young.  Too... whatever.

Do note.  Kerry was never tested by anyone.  The social worker never brought any expert into this.  There was no medical, or legal, diagnosis.  There was simply the opinion of the social worker.

Who then dropped a bigger bombshell.

Kerry was 'too dumb' to be a mother.  Social worker had decided.  Not only was Kerry NOT going to be able to get married, she was NOT to have her baby.

Kerry's baby would be taken from her at birth, for "its own protection".   Based on what evidence?

The social worker's opinion.

It is of note that by refusing to allow Mark to marry Kerry during the pregnancy, Mark, who was 25, was legally removed from being seen as the baby's father.  Should Kerry be too stupid to care for her own baby, and Mark was married to her, then surely Mark could be the parent in charge?  Yes?  No.  The marriage was stopped.  Therefore Mark did not have a legal claim on the baby at birth.  How convenient.

So, Mark and Kerry took in a lot of advice.  They went to the media, MPs, anyone they could think of and asked for help with the terrible, painful, mind numbingly awful decision that Kerry's baby would be removed at birth.

The advice was clear: go to Ireland.  Like many before, and many since, Kerry fled to Ireland whilst she was pregnant, with Mark.  Left behind her beloved grandmother, who had raised her.  Left behind her brother, her friends, her home.  Arrived in Ireland in the clothes she stood up in and started a new life.

She and Mark got a house, made it a home, got ready for the baby. They arranged to get married. Fife was a long way away.

Ireland was happy to have them.

Baby was born in January 2010.  In Ireland.

Kerry & Newborn Child Happy
The day of the birth, Fife Social Services put the baby on the Child Protection Register.  They informed Ireland Social Services.  Ireland Social Services had no choice but to act: the laws tied their hands.

Kerry was breastfeeding her four day old son on the ward of the maternity unit, her midwife beside her.  Irish social workers arrived, took the baby, and left.  Leaving a broken hearted Kerry, tears and milk streaming over her body, lost and alone in her bed.

Two hours every other day: she could see her beloved son two hours every other day.  Nursing Matters wrote to Fife to complain about the baby's right to breastfeeding.  Lots of people fought and argued and screamed and shouted on behalf of Baby, who I'll now refer to as Child Happy.  You know his other name, it's in the above links.  But for now I can only call him Child Happy.  I'll tell you why in a moment.

Irish Social Services arranged for a placement for Kerry and Child Happy in a mother and baby unit.  Kerry struggled as she was separated from Mark.  It was hard for her.  Many a seventeen year old would have walked away from her baby rather than put up with the constant supervision and demands that she prove she was 'Good Enough' to mother.

Slowly, it all came together.  Social services arranged for a foster care placement for Child Happy and lots of support for Kerry.  Over the months Kerry and baby bonded and found each other and social services grew more and more impressed with the young family's commitment to their son.  Gradually, foster care was reduced until a few months later, Child Happy was returned to Kerry & Mark's care.  Kerry was more than capable of being a good mother: it was official.  Irish social services were utterly satisfied that the baby was happy and safe.  They dealt with every accusation that Fife has levelled at Kerry and found them empty and hollow.  Kerry and her son thrived, she and Mark carried on with their lives.

The next year they had a second son, Child Healthy.  Again, Irish Social Services were perfectly happy with the family.  No problems.

But Kerry was missing her family, her Gran.  She was raising her sons without her family.  Mark was raising his sons without his family.  Grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunties, nieces and nephews were missing out on the children's lives.  The costs of travelling to Ireland were prohibitive: Kerry and Mark carried on raising their family without the extended family contact they so wanted.

Kerry started a third pregnancy, over joyed that her family was growing.  Her dreams for a large family, safe and happy and secure, were coming true.  Even if she missed 'home' every day of her life.

Then she collapsed.  She was rushed to hospital.  The pregnancy had been ectopic, when her fallopian tube ruptured she almost lost her life.  She lost her baby.

She was distraught.  Depressed.  Anxious.  Upset.  She wanted to go 'home'.

Mark travelled to Scotland.  He had a meeting with Fife Social Services.  If they came back, given that Irish Social Services had cleared them, would Fife Social Services let them be?

Fife Social Services assured them that they had 'no interest' in the family whatsoever.

Mark and Kerry made a decision that will haunt them beyond the grave: they came back 'home' to Fife.  Their Irish social worker agreed that he felt it was the best move for the whole family, in terms of employment and life opportunities and sent them on their way with best wishes and good luck.

Mark had a job within days of arriving back.  They found a house, once more turned it into a home.  The boys were enrolled in nursery.  Family flooded in through the door.  The boys were ecstatic to find themselves in a large community of children.  Visits to family up and down Scotland were arranged: the boys thrived.  Kerry's depression lifted.

Fife social work popped in to see the family.  They kept popping in.  Mark was told to give up his employment.  Kerry 'wasn't allowed' to be in the family home alone with the boys.  They had a new puppy.  They had to give it up.  Kerry wasn't competent to be at home with a puppy and her sons.

Child Happy came home with a bruise on his leg.  Fell over at Nursery.   Nursery paper work clearly stated bruise occurred in Nursery.  Social worker scaled up the family's involvement.  Child Healthy had a mark on his back.   Kerry, worried, took him to A&E.  Doctor determined marking was from mild skin infection.  Social worker starts to document the slightest injury to the children.   Nursery provides written evidence that minor bruises and scratches occurred during Nursery time and all were written up in the injuries book.

Social worker in charge of the family took Mark aside and had an informal chat with him.  Mark will, to this day, assure you that she stated to Mark that she was leaving as she couldn't take the bullying at the office, from managers, to 'find more evidence'.  She leaves social work completely.

New social worker appointed.  Suddenly, family in a sea of accusations and documentation of every aspect of their lives.  Social worker turns up, unannounced, at Child Happy's nursery and interviews him without parental knowledge or consent.

Mark complains about social worker's behaviour.  Social worker states Mark has a vendetta against her.  Mark tells her on the phone that she can't get away with terrorising his family.  Social worker bursts out crying and phones the police.  Police arrest Mark for shouting at a social worker.  No evidence every presented, simply the word of the social worker that Mark 'shouted'.

I'm not relaying this in retrospect.  Nursing Matters have never stopped contact with Mark & Kerry.  A Nursing Matters' baby is one our books for life.  We are there through all of this.

We told them not to come back.  We told them we'd support them.  We were at the end of the phone, on chat messages, day in, day out, for weeks.  We sat back in abject despair whilst the social worker slowly upped the ante, relentlessly.  We watched in silent horror as Mark & Kerry had to find a lawyer in Scotland, to try and get social services to back off.  We sat back and watched all hell slowly break loose.

We listened to the pain and regret as both Mark & Kerry, crushed by it all, blamed themselves for coming back, for believing the empty promises.

We were there, on the phone, when the police turned up one Saturday afternoon in June 2014 and advised them that a social worker would be round in an hour or so, could they stay until she arrived?

We were there, on the phone, on messaging, whilst Mark & Kerry were kept under informal house arrest with their children for OVER FOUR HOURS.  We were telling Kerry not to cry in front of the kids.  We were telling Mark not to shout at the police - it was not the police officer's fault.

We were the ones to say to Kerry "Pack a bag with the boy's favourite toys and clothes.  Tell them they're going on an adventure.  DON'T CRY IN FRONT OF THE BOYS.  STAY CALM FOR THEM.

We were still there in the ashen hours afterwards, when the boys had been pulled from them, screaming, crying, in hysterics and put in the back OF A POLICE CAR.

Four, and two, years old.  Screaming, crying.  Placed physically into a police car whilst their parents stood and smiled and told them not to worry IT WOULD BE OKAY.  The whole street out watching as the boys were driven away, Child Happy trying to scratch his way out the back window to get back to his Mum & Dad.

This is what Mark wrote to me a few moments later:

Tell everyone
My little monkey are gone
It was fucking awful

They screamed their heads off

XXX didn't want to let go

I felt horrible letting them go

My stomach is sick

I know they're littoe (sic) hearts are breaking and yearning for us which makes it worse I can feel it. Especially XXXXX. They are tied to my soul

The police were even shocked

Newborn Child Healthy
The 'tell everyone' comment is because at that time there was no gagging order on the family.  When Fife Social Services had re-started their harassment of the family, they went to court for a press gagging order.  They were refused as both the boys were already named in public.  So Fife had had to sit back whilst Mark & Kerry spoke openly about the harassment of them and abuse of their boys that was occurring.  (It is abuse to turn up to a Nursery, demand to see a four year old child without parental knowledge or consent, then tell that child to take their clothes off so you can examine them.)

Again, we knew about this as it all occurred.  We'd never stopped supporting them.  One of the Nursing Matters advocates had gone to Ireland and visited them at their home.  Three of us were in regular contact with both Mark and Kerry.   We were witnesses as this all occurred.  This is not us telling you what we've been told afterwards.

This is what we lived, in real time, as it occurred.

The weight of carrying this has almost crushed us over the months.  We cannot understand how Mark & Kerry have remained so strong, so united, so determined to fight for the boys' childhoods.  We're speechless in the face of their dedication and love.

We're also speechless in the face of Fife Social Services despicable actions.  Social worker stated they had been taken into care that afternoon as she was worried Mark & Kerry would take the boys out of Fife.  Huh?  You mean like when they go to visit their grandfather in Arbroath?  The boys had 'left Fife' plenty of times.

A Facebook group was started there and then, to support the boys in care.  A week later a court judgement put a gagging order on the case.  No one could mention the boys, or the case, or name Mark & Kerry.  We were all utterly silenced.  That the boys were in care in Scotland was public record before the gagging order, so that's why I can mention it here.

But I cannot tell you a single thing about anything that's happened in the last six months.  I cannot name the boys here, even as their names are on public record in the past.  I can't tell you anything.  If I do, I can be arrested and put in jail for contempt of court.  I'm in Scotland.  I could be arrested for naming a child I've openly named in the past.

We complied with the silence.  We turned to 'secret' the support group (with over a thousand members) and pleaded with everyone else to remain calm, silent, to let the system run.  We were all terrified of the system running.  The system has destroyed families with no cause.  But the system had to be respected.

Which brings us to Tuesday November 25th 2014.  Two things occurred on Tuesday November 25th.  One happened in a court in Scotland.  I cannot tell you what that was.  I cannot tell you where the court was.  I cannot tell you the name of the judge.  I could go to prison if I do.

All I can say is that a full legal team were in court that day, on the family's behalf, and an appeal has been lodged.

In the afternoon, Kerry went to a midwife appointment for a twelve week scan.  The midwife confirmed that the scan showed the baby had a heart beat and seemed to be healthy.  More importantly, the pregnancy was normal: it was not ectopic.  Kerry would likely carry to full term and have a healthy child.

With this sinking in, the midwife then said "You do know I'll have to report this to social services now."

And Kerry fell into hell.   Utter, utter hell.

No time to rejoice that the pregnancy was normal.  No telling the relatives with squeals of delight that she was pregnant again and with luck this child would not be lost.

Or stolen.

She returned home and did what no newly pregnant mother should need to do: she phoned the lawyers.  Others contacted MPs and those who had helped for years.  Two legal teams, one in Scotland, one in Ireland, said the same thing: go to Ireland.  Move back to Ireland and carry on the fight from there.  

Protect the unborn baby first.  What a decision for a mother.  Save her unborn baby, leave behind her two sons.  Stay for her sons, lose another child?   What would you have done?

On Wednesday 26th November, Kerry and Mark walked away from their home in Scotland and got on a ferry to Ireland.  Just as they had five years earlier.  They left with the clothes on their back.

They left knowing that they wouldn't see their boys at a visit that week.  They left knowing that they'd have to fight for them to be returned, from Ireland.

On Wednesday, John Hemming announced this in Parliament.  Thus allowing us all to discuss Kerry, and Mark.  Being named in Parliament lifted the veil of secrecy on the parents.

The veil of secrecy covering the boys, still remains.

On Thursday November 26th, we at Nursing Matters set up a fund to raise money for Kerry and Mark, to get a new home from which to seek the return of their boys, who are Irish citizens.  We've asked on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Livejournal.  Again and again, a team of us has posted, tweeted, pushed, shared, ask for re-shares.

Any money, any penny at all:  paypal to

A week later we have the rent and deposit for a house.  A house to turn into a home.  When Kerry left Scotland, she and Mark left behind the benefits that social workers has pushed them into signing up for (by refusing to allow Mark to work).  It will take them months to get their feet under them in Ireland, again.  On Tuesday night they sold everything they could in Scotland, to pay for the ferry tickets.  Their beloved cats were sent to the local cat centre for re-homing, although Mark's Dad then stood forward and took them in himself..  They packed their clothes and some of the boys' toys, and walked away.


This is the FOURTH time they's had to start again.  They are sleeping on couches and in spare rooms, being fed by the kindness of strangers.  Mark is looking for a house and for employment.

Kerry's still pregnant.  Praying every day that she'll still be pregnant the next day.  The Irish lawyer is setting things in motion.

They pray for all their kids: born and unborn.  Pray that they'll all be together, soon.

Our appeal is to raise money to help this happen.  To set them up quickly in a home suitable for the boys to return to.  Mark informed the social work team they had left the day they arrived.  They are not in hiding, they've simply decided that Ireland offers better justice.  Ireland offers a chance of justice.

They are setting up where they have had extensive contact with an Irish social services team.  That team have been informed and are fully behind the fight to get the boys back.  Fully happy with Kerry having another child.  Fully supportive of them as parents and of their right to have all their kids with them.  Irish social services will send a report in that they have a suitable home to bring the boys to.

And we can help them form that suitable home.  Money is going to furniture and the basics that they'll need.  Christmas presents for the boys.  Baby things for later on.  Money to give support to the boys: to bring them home.  

A couple of interesting things has occurred since we started to appeal for money.  Appealing for money is something I've done before.  Both for Nursing Matters, to help a baby who is breastfeeding, and for other causes, such as getting an abused wife and children out of the family home.  I don't appeal often; people's patience runs out.  And I always do so within very set parameters.  Usually that is that the appeal is anonymous.  With Mark & Kerry, the anonymity isn't an issue as they are in the public eye.  Usually, it's a very short appeal with just a few friends of mine forwarding and sharing.

This appeal has had the most sharing and forwarding on than any I've ever done before.  I imagine it's been propagated, particularly on Facebook, several hundred times.

This means we've had the biggest response we've ever had.  To date, approx 80 have made donations.  80!  That means quite a few 'new' people have given.  But what's really interesting is that 'all the usual suspects' have given.  People who give every time I ask.  People who trust the source and feel if I'm asking, the need is real.

What's really fascinating about this is that, in the main, these people are very poor.  They are lone mothers surviving on benefits.  They are working mothers surviving on benefits, going without and topping up via the food bank.  They are people who are struggling to survive themselves but who have, like the Biblical widow, given over their mite when they can.  They squeeze until they burst and a fiver arrives.  Two pounds is donated.  A promise that it's only two pounds today, but when they next get paid they'll put in another two pounds.  An apology it's not more.

Collecting enough for a deposit for a house has been the piecing together of many, many, mites.

Certainly, we've had one or two larger donations.  A £50 will arrive and we'll be agog in wonder.  But that's rare.  It's almost as if those who have a little more than others assume that everyone else is giving.  That 'obviously', money will be pouring in.

Money never pours in.   It's always a struggle.  It's always a fight.   It's always a slog.   Slog, slog, slog, slog.  The fear that you're annoying people stopping you doing too many posts, too many shares.  The plea for everyone to share on, and that's worth more than you telling the same people again and again and again.  A share means new people might see, people who've never given before and who might send a a tenner.  A share spreads the word.

So we've watched this little pile of mites grow, and marvelled at all those people out there, with not quite enough for themselves, wring pennies from their purse and send it on.  Send it to the boys in the hope that it will build a home for them to return to.

The meaning of the widow and her mites is brought home powerfully when you watch these little amounts slowly grow.  

But something else has also grown this time.  Discontent, negativity: actual attack.  People who you imagine to be compassionate caring human beings have replied to posts with a "Who cares, they were stupid to come back."  "Why are YOU collecting this money, where is it going?"  The classic one "Oh, be careful, there's more to this than meets the eye."   "What, pregnant again?!"  As if it's a crime to be young and female and to want a family.  

"Why did they come back if they didn't want to lose their kids?"  "Why run away again?"  Why, why, why.

Why?  All directed at the parents, not social services.

As if being targeted again by social services is somehow their fault.  As if the world has a small compassion allowance and once you've used it once... pow, gone, we're out.

And that's made me really look at the widow, and her mite.  And realised that it wasn't that she managed to find a tiny amount to give that made her so special.  It wasn't what the money represented in terms of her income that made her stand out.

It was her compassion.

It was that she knew others were worse off than her, and it was no fault in their own lives, or doing, or behaviour.  That she understood that pain and ruin can visit the door of anyone, with no warning.

That you do not necessarily dwell on how someone fell, but that you simply lean forward and help them back up.

She understood that no matter how reduced her own circumstances, she could still feel enough for her fellow human beings to want to, need to, help.

Her two mites were about her belief in people.  Her compassion for their suffering.

Faced with the comments this week about this case... about how 'stupid' people do 'stupid' things and how angry that makes people.... about how it's not about hope but about bickering and talking up yourself....  I've realised that it's the compassion of the widow that was the miracle.  No matter how downtrodden she was (the lot of a widow with children in the Biblical world was not an easy one) she still had compassion for others.  She didn't need to give money to show off, as she had so little to give.

She gave as she truly wanted to support another human being who was in pain.

And I look at the mites that have been given to the fund these past seven days and I thank all the widows out there: all of you who have given what you could find as opposed to what you could afford, and I thank you.

I thank you for your compassion.  For your belief in justice.  For your need to salve the pain being felt by Child Happy and Child Healthy.

For your belief in the future on the unborn snuggling in a warm and comfortable womb.

Especially since you've given this money as you are trying to afford Christmas.

The majority of the donations have come from the poor.  It's a priceless gift they give.  It's humbling to us to see the money come in.

And on that, the money has stopped.  It's been three days since we've had any mites.  So here I stand, begging bowl in hand.  If you have a couple of mites, we'll be glad to have them.  If you're better off, and can manage a tenner or twenty pounds, we'll kiss your feet.  If you're well off and can send £50 or a £100, we'll buy some second hand furniture and a kettle and some mugs and tea.  Two children's beds.

If you send a penny, we'll thank you and bless your name.  Because we'll understand the nature of the gift.


 To donate:  paypal to

Please mark the donation as a 'gift' so there are no fees to pay at this end.

Please share this blog post, and the links to the news reports.  Please tell everyone.

And if you see nasty, narrow minded people scream and shout and condemn..... simply say that they're lucky UK social services has never made a massive mistake in their lives.

There but for the grace of God....

Please donate.  Please ask others to donate.  Please share.  Show your compassion.

EDIT:  06/12/14  00.21 am  As I type, we have enough for _immediate needs_ of the family.  Anything donated after this time will continue to go the Child Happy and Child Healthy's family needs.  In particular, money will be saved and held back for therapy for the boys when they are returned, so their needs are finally met.  No penny donated to this fund will be used for any other purpose than this family.

I'll update on the boys as soon as I'm legally able to.

I'll leave you with this.  I wrote it the morning of Tuesday November 25th, for Mark & Kerry.

My eyes are ash
My tongue, blank
My ears are deaf with silence
My heart has seized
My mind poisoned cold with pain

The day is lost, the year is lost
A childhood lost:

Let hope remain

EDIT:  6/12/2014

This post has gone viral in a way very few of my posts do!  We've been informed that there is a Nursing Matters agency in Dublin - that's not us!    Our Nursing Matters is an on-line volunteer run advocacy service for breastfeeding babies: babies who are being prevented from breastfeeding due to, for instance, social services intervention, or due to them being in care and breastfeeding being criticised.

We deal with a very small amount of cases every year and we do so only when we have capacity.  It's a hard job and few can do more than one or two cases before stopping.

However, the Nursing Matters model of advocating for the baby has been picked up and is used by many many breastfeeding support organisations across the globe.

We do not give breastfeeding support.  If you need breastfeeding support, please contact your local country breastfeeding support charities.  Thanks.  :-)

EDIT:  07/12/2104

Monday, 5 May 2014

New Post on Other Blog

I've posted a blog about rape and the Game of Thrones, on this link:

Monday, 17 March 2014

The Tide Has Turned

See that water over there?  That ocean?  See the swell?  That's the tide having turned, that is.   

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Lactavist Response to Formula Feeding Mothers

Lots of people appear to be having problems on how to inter-act with bottle feeding mothers.  And formula feeding ones.  Bearing in mind one does not equate to the other.

Not to mention, that you can be breastfeeding, and still using formula.

So shall we just stick to saying UP FRONT, formula feeders.  Just so you are clear?  Great.  They are feeding formula.  With, or without, a bottle.  Formula feeders.

The following is a series of vignettes on different types of formula feeding mothers.  After all, each mother has her own unique set of circumstances.  Each example is followed by the correct lactavist response.  You may want to take notes.  There will be a quiz at the end.

Type A

The type A formula feeding mother is very aggressive.  She sulks, has angry hair, a sigh in her eyes and is At The End of Her Tether.  Her clothes don't match, she has only one earring in, and two different shoes on.  Her baby is quite well presented, but there is a smell of baby sick on the mother and all over the pram.  She has a bottle holder on the back of the pram, which holds a large bottle of already used formula.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type B

The type B formula feeding mother is very scary.  She is impeccably dressed in a smart linen suit.  Her hair is not only in style, and in place, but it smells of fresh apples.  Her make up is immaculate and her nails are pink and shiny and all the same length - long.  Her baby is in some sort of outfit that you are sure you remember seeing in Vogue.  She has a nanny, and a body guard.  She is holding her baby and cooing at it as she feeds it from a tub of pre-mixed UHT formula with a disposable one-use chuck in the bin push in teat.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type C

The type C formula feeding mother is easy to miss.  She's neat and tidy, with no air of desperation or baby sick.  She slips easily into the background of any picture.  She probably has an older child with her and is managing both the toddler and the baby, without turning a hair.  You nearly didn't notice her, you just caught her smile at the toddler looking up at her.  She sits quietly to one side, and pulls out of her bag a flask with hot water in it, which she mixes with powder in a bottle.  She is amazingly deft, and you wonder how often you've missed her before.  She soothes the baby as the formula cools, and keeps the toddler interested in a butterfly that's dancing past them.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type D

The type D formula feeder is very hard to spot.  She's pulled over on the edge of the play park, with a cover over her babies head, as she holds the baby to her breast.  However, if you look closely, you'll see the bulge of the formula feed dispenser in between her breasts, and a small tube running from it.  The baby hungrily devours at the breast, whilst the mother blushes and re-adjust her covering to hide everything from sight.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby's toes as she strokes them and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

Type E

The Type E mother is hard to ignore.  She has four whiney brats all around her, of varying ages and degrees of clothing.  Her hair is scraped back in a tight ponytale, and slick from hair gell.  She has cigarette ash down her front, her bra is three sizes too small and she's wearing a onesie in pink leopard print.  She talks loudly on her mobile phone and you can't repeat her language.  (She uses 'fuck' a lot, for those who don't quite get that.)  Her baby sits in its own, matching, pink lepard spot onesie and has pierced ears.  You know the women is called Chantelle as her tatoos tell you so.  She plugs a baby bottle into the baby's mouth whilst talking on the phone.  The correct response to this mother feeding her baby is:

... look at the baby and say "My, what a lovely baby you have."  Smile.

There are a variety of other mothers, no doubt some of you will add some in the comments.  Please do!  I want to hear more, and what the correct lactavist response to such mothers is.  But I'm afraid this large Gin & Tonic are calling now.  So I'll post instead.

After all, you don't need many more examples, do you?

Do you?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Write and Thank the BBC

Penny Smith
I'm getting a lot of good feed back for the BBC London interview I did this morning, on the TIME cover controversy.

Now, as you know, I've had some difficulties at times, on radio interviews, including being thrown off the World Service.

And many of you have complained, endlessly, and ceaselessly, about media bias and bigotry about women, mothers, and breastfeeding.  You've written, phone, emailed and blogged your outrage and demand higher quality from both the BBC, and their journalists.

Well, today you have a brilliant opportunity, to write in and thank them for just that - excellent quality and an excellent journalist.

Penny Smith, who conducted my interview today, is responsible for how good it was.  The research team at BBC London, who phoned me this morning at 8.05am, are responsible for how good it was.

Good journalism.  An excellent intro by Penny Smith, and her letting me speak without attacking, belittling, taking exception or holding me and other women up to ridicule.

This is EXACTLY the standard we look for from the BBC.  And if we want to see more of it, we need to make our voices heard.  It's easy to be the one that always complains.  It's harder to be the one to take the time and effort to say 'Well Done".  It easy to pick up the phone and rant, when you are inflamed.  It's easy to email, when you're in a temper.  The temper drives you.

Finding time to sit down and say "Great" in a busy day is harder.  Please try and find that time.

The interview can be heard HERE.  Go to 1.29 on the cursor.  The item starts at 1.29 and finishes at 1.40.

Please email Penny Smith and say 'Thank You'.  Please email the Vanessa Feltz Show, and say "Penny was great this morning."

Please email BBC London, and say "Great Job" for Penny Smith this morning.  10.30 am, BBC London, Friday May 11th.

AND  (Really Important)

Please email, write or phone the BBC central line, and do the same.  If you want to see better coverage, real journalism, and good interviews, you have to tell them when they did it right!  Please?  Now?  Thank you!


Phone This Number:  03700 100 222*

03700 100 212* (textphone)

*24 hours, charged as 01/02 geographic numbers

The Standard of Journalism You Get, Is In Your Hands!  

Thursday, 10 May 2012

And We Keep On Winning!,16641,20120521,00.html  May 21. 2012

Slightly annoyed the boy is wearing combat trousers.  But I do understand that boy's clothes are difficult to buy.  It probably didn't occur to anyone, to juxtaposition the 'feeding child' in combat gear, to undercut/underline the grown up male aspect.


So want this framed and on the wall!  :-)

And yes, it does say 'driven to extremes' and it's unlikely that the article is going to be a good one.  But it's mainstream, folks.  The agenda is out there, up front, and being taken seriously.  Winning is in the little things changing in the press, not expecting it all to be perfect and exactly like you'd want it to be if you wrote it.

But let me do just say in advance: don't read the comments!  Just look at the picture on the newsstands, and smile.

What's even more awesome, this is also an adoptive mother.  Yes, an adoptive mother breastfeeding on the cover of Time and talking about it inside!   :-)

The article the cover relates to, can be found here:,9171,2114427,00.html?xid=fblike

Article with the Mum in photo above: