According to the experts, when you have children regular date nights with your partner are the key to a successful relationship. Forget communication, mutual love and respect or not marrying a dick; apparently the secret to a happy and healthy relationship is to go on a date. At flipping night. But according to me (expert on nothing) this is rubbish. Here is why...
I wrote to Blackpool Council, incensed that I hadn't been simply moved on. The fact I was feeding at the time had magnified events and my humiliation. It's ironic, I thought, that Blackpool Council professes to encourage breastfeeding... While I waited for a response from the council (which I still haven't got directly) I became more indignant. The rude parking warden, his lack of sympathy and my own feelings of vulnerability and violation over the photos he took underlined how breastfeeding in public was a near impossible ask.
I would like to request to the national media that they do NOT bombard us with countless guides to Getting a Post Baby Body like A Pop star/Princess/Anyone Thin Who Was Once On X Factor, as part of their ongoing campaign to turn us into an image-obsessed, size zero society. Because, and I think I speak for a lot of new mums when I say, we don't actually give a toss.
Whilst the ability to access a wealth of information online should provide peace of mind for mums-to-be, the array of different sources available, all too often offering conflicting information, means that the internet may well be more of a hindrance than a help in this case, and bad advice is of particular concern when people are reading up on matters related to health.
Here is the contradiction: Society wants men to spend more time with their kids and families (believe me, at least once a week I get a comment like "Oh it's good to see daddy being in charge" when in public), but employers and government do next to nothing to support them. I believe we need some fundamental changes here...
But beyond the polarity of 'proud to be single' vs 'smug married' is more human uncertainty than any other sphere of life. People are unreliable and relationships a gamble, bodies don't work as required when babies are meticulously planned. Being single may be gloriously liberating one day, bleakly lonely the next. This is life.
Now don't get me wrong, with 4 children myself I understand how hard the balancing act is between making my kids happy and only spending within my means. As glorious as it is to see their shiny happy faces as they rip open their presents, it is not great if their parents start the new year drowning in debt and worrying about how to afford three pairs of new school shoes.
In order to truly understand the magnitude of what we are considering, we must return to the child at the centre of it all. A child who did not ask to be conceived in such a way, nor ask to be unwanted in any way, but could have grown up to be a child with a voice asking for love, respect and dignity. For now, we must be their voice.