It's a pity that breastfeeding is currently not the cultural norm in the UK, and many other western countries, as there's absolutely no doubt that it is the biological norm. Women are free to make choices about how they feed their babies, but if you choose formula, there's no need to put down breastfeeding and breastfeeders.
This is my heart-felt thank you letter to the midwife who in my mind, showed the world how it could be done. I write this is in the hope that it will be shared with midwives and parents everywhere, to remind everyone how birthing is messy and painful and scary but also amazing and wonderful and sacred... and a human experience!
Midwives saw their pay frozen back in 2011, frozen again in 2012, before it rose 1% in 2013. If the typical midwife's pay had risen in line with prices since 2010, she or he would be paid over £4,000 more per year than they're actually getting. Despite that deep fall in their standard of living, what midwives and others are asking for to resolve this dispute is not a king's ransom; they are asking for just a 1% rise.
A complete norm, or the truly typical does not exist. How long it takes to conceive, the exact length of your pregnancy, how much your baby weighs, feeds, fills her nappy, wants to be held and sleeps is no different. Neither your body, not your baby have the latest iBaby App or manual from a childcare expert telling them what is expected...
Before the recent historical win by Germany in the World Cup Championship and the riotous parties in the streets, there were other strong magnets to Berlin by young outsiders. A new generation of international women have been flocking to Berlin for its green, woman-centric, and family friendly culture.
Since appearing on GMB, people have asked me "If there's a training programme which saves babies, why isn't it made mandatory? I didn't think stillbirth was preventable". I didn't think stillbirth was preventable either but I also didn't realise how common it was or how the UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates in the developed world. Until it happened to me.
I cannot imagine being in labour and forced to trek miles and miles in the hope to deliver in safe conditions. One woman I met Kula, delivered her baby on the side of the road in the dark with the threat of snakes and other dangerous animals to contend with. She had walked miles from her village to the one where we met to hire a canoe. She didn't make it as far as the village before she gave birth and her baby only made it as far as the water's edge when it passed away as she waited for two hours for a canoe to take her and her newborn baby to the clinic. Kula's story shocked Kate and I to the core. We were overwhelmed with grief for her.
As someone who works with men and boys, these two descriptions of couvade, inspire and excite me. Our ancestors knew the importance of having the father bond with the baby as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. The reduction in testosterone shows how this is a biological and evolutionary imperative.