Let Mum Speak: Making The Personal Political

2016, eh? Chuf! What a year it’s been. I barely dare turn on the radio now, for fear of hearing which beloved (or not so beloved) public figure is no longer with us. Or I shy away in case I explode in rage at the latest political catastrophe. I’m assuming the majority of those reading will be Brighton & Hove ‘Remainers’. We would have given Trump short shrift if we’d had the chance.

Of course the shops are full to bursting of Christmas ‘fayre’ and have been for several weeks. Everywhere you look on TV-land, rosy cheeked nippers and glamorous parents gaze adoringly at their perfect 700 ft tree or romp around the snowy fields (SNOW?! Why don’t we EVER get snow any more? I blame the EU). This doesn’t bear any resemblance to most households, which will contain hungover, cash -strapped parents and over-excited, over-sugared screeching children.

Bah humbug, indeed. But is this the case? Glancing down my Facebook page I see lots of friends, who in true British spirit, are ‘making the best of it’, ‘stiff upper lip’ and all. There are gatherings aplenty, creative activities a-flowing, good deeds being done here, there and everywhere. For people do actually want to congregate with others and share joy, not hate. If that means an off-key warbling of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, then so be it. They want this ALL of the time. I have seen so many wonderful ventures taking off despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that the decision-makers of our nations seem desperate to drive us to hell in a handcart.

So, in my own small way, I am more determined than ever that mothers’ voices should not be silenced. Not all women are mothers, but all mothers are women. Whenever they put their head above the collective parapet, they get it slapped back down. Anyone who thinks feminism no longer has a place (yes, I’m looking at YOU on twitter, you foolish young women who proudly trumpet your anti-feminist stance) needs to wake up and smell the testosterone. Never underestimate the rampant misogyny in the world when a violent, hate-filled orange monster seemed less horrifying to the American electorate than a woman in charge.

Mothers have a voice. Not the same one. There are millions of us, after all. Not all of us want the same birth experience, for example. It is however, wholly depressing how many women I meet who end up with emergency Caesareans when they’d desired a home birth. And woe betide them if they feel the need to talk about the trauma they’ve been through for some months afterwards. Then, they are ‘moaning’. They don’t realise how lucky they are to have a lovely baby when others are not able to. And, also could they not breastfeed anywhere in public, travel on any public transport with their mewling infant and stop leeching the public purse with their endless demands.

I set up a petition last year putting some of these points across. It referenced a report that had come out estimating the cost to the UK of inadequate maternal care at around £8bn every year. One way forward I suggest are through these methods.

  1. Greater investment into specialist birth centres & training more midwives so women can feel supported rather than scared and alone.
    2. Give the same weight to the postnatal as the antenatal period. More appointments with professionals, to include debriefing about the birth and identify potential depression. The term ‘new motherhood syndrome’ to be recognised as this period, when it is normal rather than extreme to experience powerful emotions.
    3. Investment into peer support groups such as Mothers Uncovered to build confidence and create a community. Less stigma in asking for help or castigating mothers as ‘moaning’.

You can read the rest here and sign it too….

https://www.change.org/p/public-health-england-nhs-mothers-need-more-support-help-them-now

From this Thurs (Dec 8th) until Sunday (Dec 11th ), Mothers Uncovered will be the Featured Guest Campaign on Mumsnet. While I would love to talk all about what we do locally, this will not be of much interest to the good people of Dundee, Sheffield or Swansea. However, they will all know mothers who are struggling. Or perhaps ARE mothers who are struggling. Or even were mothers who struggled and can remember how lost they felt. So, the petition will be at the forefront of this campaign, which is entitled Let Mum Speak. Or in handy twitter parlance, #letmumspeak.

Please support us.