Being a parent is hard. In fact, let's just be honest about it, it's really hard sometimes. We often don't admit it, except to our closest friends and family, but it's probably the most challenging part of our lives. A recent survey by the NSPCC reported that in the first eight weeks after birth around three in five mothers felt isolated with no one to turn to, and two in five mothers even admitted to 'getting angry' with their baby. And this is before they've even started walking and talking!
Research by American psychologists, published earlier this month, studied the sleep patterns of 1,200 children from birth to three years. Marsha Weinraub, professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, said that alongside regular bedtimes, it was best for parents to not respond when their children call out or cry, especially after nine or 10 months of age.
I believe strongly that high quality childcare is something which should be accessible to all, particularly as research shows that children who attend an excellent setting (nursery), followed by receiving a high standard of teaching in a primary school, have a significant boost in their development.
Perhaps I should brush over this week. It was not a happy one. I was not a happy person. I hated everyone and everything. This was compounded by the official and public confirmation that the Glam Rocker's band would be supporting Lady Gaga on her worldwide tour, which meant I would be mothering it, alone.
We see women who have become pregnant not long after giving birth, not realising how quickly fertility returned, or after misinformation about the protection breastfeeding provides against pregnancy. Sadly we also see women who simply haven't been able to negotiate contraceptive use with a reluctant partner, as well as women for whom a much wanted pregnancy is no longer possible after a dramatic change in personal circumstances. A recently conducted audit of all women contacting bpas for advice in 2011 found nearly two thirds were using contraception, including condoms, pills, patches and coils, when they became pregnant.
I was out having lunch with an aunt when the phone rang. "You are not going to believe this." It was the Glam Rocker sounding jubilant. "Believe what?" "The band have been offered a world tour supporting a huge international female artist. Guess," he said, "Guess who?" I ran through the usual suspects Madonna, Rihanna, Beyoncé?