Category Archives: Memes & Blog Hops

Goblins

Between 2007 and 2009 these chapter books about five types of goblins were published. I think these particular goblins are part of the fairy folk – they are small, live on the edges of human knowledge and are a touch magical. They’re also quite grimy, fairly ugly and very funny.

I saw these books appear on the shelves of the local bookshop in hardback but as my eldest child was a baby I ignored them. As she grew, and little sister arrived and grew, and we all became addicted to David Melling‘s books, I started collecting signed copies whenever I found them on the shelves (calling out “buy me, buy me”!) They then sat on a shelf, waiting for my daughters to be old enough to read them…

When I sneakily started reading them, I wish I’d started earlier. As an adult, these are tiny portions of books but probably just right for newly confident readers. I have no experience with young readers (MG & DG are still ‘pre-readers’) so this is very much my review with no input from smaller people I’m afraid.

All the books follow the same format: there is a map, pictures and descriptions of the characters in the book, some facts about the type of goblins in the book, the story, an afterword connecting the real world to the goblin world and (in all but ghost goblins) some more goblin info or games. All the pictures in the book are black and white sketches (actually my favourites) with colour covers and inside covers.

Because of the format of the books, they encourage story-writing from young readers: who are your characters, what are their names, what do they do, where do they live? There are even worksheets on the Hidden Goblins website encouraging children to create new goblins. The website is a nice complement to the books, with lots of pictures and an extract from the first book to tempt you.

I do think these books will really draw young readers into a fantasy world, along with all the additional facts packed into the world there is always the hint in the of where you might find goblins: a puddle where everything else is dry; that tapping on the window; the birds singing because they’ve been pushed out of the trees…

Stone Goblins – Live in caves or tunnels, love stones. The story concerns a dragon in the goblins’ lake, and how they get rid of it. It has a dragon in, therefore a winner in my book. Also gross food like plucked spider-legs and toe-jam, fantastic for children people of a certain age mentality (as long as they’re not of a sensitive disposition…)

Tree Goblins – Live in trees, the males carry their wives and children in nests on their backs. This is a lovely story about family, and parents doing anything to find their children. It’s also about talking trees, strange creatures, pig droppings and sock sucking…

Puddle Goblins – Live in puddles that they can roll up and take with them in case of emergencies. The story concerns a goblin forgotten down a well for six months (ribbit), his rescue and naughty water goblins.

Shadow Goblins – Live in Black Woods, they can steal shadows and change shape. The story follows two trainee shadow goblins as they learn to steal shadows, their fairly useless teacher, some scared sheep and a skeleton… Very silly and a huge amount of fun. The sequences of goblin to watering can and sheep to goblin transformations on the inside covers are inspired.

Ghost Goblins – Dead. This is my personal favourite of the books, unsurprisingly because I like the darker side of humour. The story follows three newly deceased goblins being introduced to the afterlife via Cold Jack, the Windy Nibblers, Nightwatch Beetles and the Bone Collector. Also a riot of humour, silliness (the Windy Nibblers taking out their very sharp teeth before biting!) and brilliant imagination.

The five books can be read in any order as they’re self-contained so children can choose their favourites and read from there. Characters from Stone Goblins appear in Ghost Goblins but they can still be read in any order. Shadow and Ghost Goblins are particularly suitable for children who like ghosts and monsters in their stories, and are probably a good stepping stone for something like Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

I would very much definitely recommend these books for children who like fantasy, funny stories and making up their own stories. Suitable age range appears to be about 4-9 depending on the child (although 36 is perfectly okay too!) They would also be good to read aloud. You can visit hiddengoblins.co.uk for more details, or just take my word for it and buy the set 😉

All pictures by David Melling, used with permission.

Elves and Fairies

Zoe from Playing by the Book is starting a new monthly series called “I’m looking for a book about…”, the first theme of which is Elves and Fairies. I love children’s books, I love reviewing books, I read lots of fantasy therefore this should be an easy one for me to join in. Right?

My bookshelves are packed with books filled with creatures from the realm of Faerie – from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (especially the Tiffany Aching stories) to Neil Gaiman (e.g. Sandman and The Books of Magic) to the fairies in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels to classics like Lord of the Rings, Kipling’s Puck of Pook Hill and humour like Brian Froud’s Lady Cottingham’s Pressed Fairy Book… I’m more a lover of humourous fantasy and twists on tradition, rather than extraordinarily long series on the whole.

But they’re my books, there seems to be a dearth of fairies on my children’s bookshelves. Fairy tales we have a-plenty, but they don’t seem to have a lot of actual fairies and elves in them… I shall therefore be reading with much interest about the books suggested for this month’s theme. With much twisting on the theme I have the following to offer:

The Tough Princess – it does have fairies in at least!

The Tale of Jack Frost – I’ve always thought of Jack Frost as a sprite, which I think is a type of fairy, and he does get wings at the end of the book… There are also Goblins, and David Melling’s Goblins seem to me to be distant cousins of your bog-standard fairy type.

A Goblins review may be up in time for Monday’s Elves and Fairies carnival (I did say I was twisting the theme!) but until then, here are my fairy daughters 🙂

One Lovely Blog Award

I was given this award by Taming the Goblin over a month ago and was very touched as her blog is one I really enjoy reading so I’m honoured to have been chosen. One of the ‘rules’ of this award is to choose 15 blogs to pass it on to. As I’ve previously written with regards to a meme, I can’t see how this works in the long run because by the third generation you’re onto 3,375 blogs but I am still going to take the opportunity to write about 15 blogs I love!

One Lovely Blog Award Rules:
1. Link back to the one who gave you this award.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
3. Follow the person who sent it to you.

Bloggers below, feel free to ignore the rules! 🙂

Patch of Puddles
I first started reading Merry’s blog shortly before her first son, Freddie was born two years ago. I started reading because I was interested in home education plus she runs a fantastic online toy store. I stayed because her writing is touching and beautiful as well as interesting and varied. Sadly Freddie didn’t get to stay with his family for long, but the impact of his life touched me so much. Some of Merry’s posts leave me in tears, but they’ve been tears of both sadness and joy.
Twitter: @MerrilyMe

Making It Up
I started reading Jax’s blog via Patch of Puddles. I was interested in home education and read a variety of blogs on the subject before deciding to send my girls to the local primary (for now) but this is one of the few I still read regularly because of the variety and interest of the posts. Jax also writes beautifully and I have come to respect her opinions highly and find she speaks much sense, both on blog and twitter.
Twitter: @liveotherwise

Brink of Bedlam
Varied and often very funny, Kay’s blog is a mixture of parenting, reviews, ramblings and more. For me, Kay is reassuring proof that being chaotic is ‘normal’, and she’s a lovely person to chat with to boot!
Twitter: @chaoskay

Musings of a Stressy Mummy
Nikki is another lovely person to chat with, and her blog covers parenting from 2 to 16 years old – so lots of very varied posts! There are reviews, books, pictures, memes and musings.
Twitter: @stressymummy

Playing by the Book
Zoe’s blog is a fantastic mix of children’s book reviews and crafts based on those books. The blog is a treasure trove of ideas and Zoe’s passion for books shines through. Not only is she hugely knowledgeable about books, she’s extraordinarily helpful, giving advice and ideas for all sorts of projects (she’s answered twitter queries I’ve had on more than one occasion). She also promotes book charities around the world and held the first International Edible Book Festival earlier this year.
Twitter: @playbythebook

Little Wooden Horse
Polly’s blog only started this year but is already a huge wealth of children’s book reviews. Passionate and knowledgeable about her subject, I look forward to every new post and am learning new things every day. Just wonderful.
Twitter: @Pollylwh

The Children’s Writer
This is really a recommendation for two blogs at once. I’ve headed it with The Children’s Writer because I really enjoy the posts from the viewpoint of a future picture book author and the trials of getting a book published. But I also enjoy @homedad‘s parenting blog, which generally makes me smile. It’s also the home of Fiction Fridays, which re-ignited my passion for picture books and made this blog far more interesting (I hope!) Not to mention the stay-at-home-dad viewpoint is worth a read for the other side of gender discrimination.
Twitter: @homedad75

Taking Words for a Stroll
Elli’s blog is purely poetry only, you won’t find any other meanderings here. What you will find are hilarious poems and rhymes, but don’t delay they don’t stay there for long. Elli is extremely talented and her poems are perfect for sharing with children (and adults). One of my recent favourites is an ‘anti-rhyme’ where some bears sit on… stools and eat… plums 🙂
Twitter: @Elephantthai

Sunny Side Up!
Clara’s blog is full of lovely craft ideas and behind-the-scenes looks at picture book creation. It’s positive, welcoming and home to The Happy Bunny Club!
Twitter: @ClaraVulliamy

David Melling
David’s blog is full of glimpses into his sketchbooks, behind-the-scenes picture book making and storyboards. It really showcases his amazing talent. There is also a website: http://davidmelling.co.uk/
Twitter: @davidmelling1

Sarah McIntyre
This is a blog I don’t read as often as I should because every time I read it I learn some interesting nuggets from the world of illustration and writing. As well as illustrating some of my girls’ favourite books, Sarah is an awesome talent who stands up for and supports the book community. She has a website full of crafty activities too: http://www.jabberworks.co.uk/
Twitter: @jabberworks

Trapped by Monsters
Trapped by Monsters is a collaborative blog originally based on the idea of “a group of authors who met up to write the ultimate guide to bumping off monsters, but instead were captured, locked in a cave, and forced to blog…” It’s been running over three years now and is full of books, art, events, ramble and monsters.
Twitter: various!

Living Montessori Now
If you’re thinking of educating using Montessori principles and only read one blog, this is the one to read. There are so many showcases, linkies, reviews… It’s a one stop shop for Montessori-based education ideas plus information on Montessori principles from a very knowledgable, friendly and lovely lady.
Twitter: @debchitwood

Montessori MOMents
Lori’s blog is about bringing up her two young boys (and now a daughter on the way, so baby excitement to come this year) home educating using Montessori principles. I used to read a lot of different Montessori blogs, the three I’ve included in the list are the ones that have stuck with me as I’ve chosen not to home ed but am still interested in Montessori home ed. Interesting and inspiring, and full of cute kids!
Twitter: @LoriMOMents

What Did We Do All Day?
Another Montessori home educator blog, but another one I’ve stuck with for the interesting content and the amount of work she puts in to cataloguing all existing Montessori blogs, collating homemade Montessori materials instructions and comparing a wide variety of Montessori albums and resources. Well worth bookmarking!
Twitter: @My_Boys_Teacher

And yes, there are many more deserving, and chosing these fifteen was both easy and very, very hard. I think they are all well worth following and if you’re not already following, go take a look.

Thanks again to Ray from Taming the Goblin, you should be up there too but I didn’t know if I was allowed to include the person who gave me the award!

Silent Sunday 11.03.2012

Mocha Beanie Mummys Silent Sunday on LAB

11 Questions, 11 Answers

I was tagged, erm… three (?) weeks ago by the lovely ScattyMumOfBoys for 11 Questions, 11 Answers. It’s the first time I’ve been tagged and I thought I’d have a go but somehow time has slipped away so here at last is my post!

The Rules:
*. You must post these rules
*. Each person must post 11 things about herself on their blog
*. Answer the questions the “tagger” listed for you in their post and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
*. Choose 11 people to tag and link them to the post
*. Let each blogger know you’ve tagged them

11 things about me:
1. My daughters were born in the same hospital as I was.
2. I hated breastfeeding.
3. When I was 15 I had a measured IQ of 142 on the Wechsler Scale, but never did anything useful with it.
4. I don’t think IQ is a good measure of intelligence!
5. I’m 5’2″.
6. I’ve lived in Oxfordshire my entire life (except for term time for the three years I went to university).
7. I failed my first degree.
8. I think I might have Asperger’s or some form of high functioning Autism.
9. When I started Primary School I didn’t speak a single word at school for at least the first year, and I only whispered to people until I was nine.
10. I bit at least one teacher when I was five or six.
11. I’m very short-sighted and have worn glasses for 28 years.

11 Questions from Life, Love and Living with Boys:
1. Do you use real names in your blog for the real-life people who feature? E.g. I use Spud, Pooh Bear and Scatty Dad for my boys.
Generally, no. I use Mighty Girl (MG) and Destructo Girl (DG) and probably DH if I ever mention him! I have let their real names slip, but you have to look for them!
2. How long have you been blogging and why did you start your blog?
Depending how you look at it: two years, one year or seven months. I take it as seven months as that’s when I really first started. Because I wanted to, that’s the best reason isn’t it? 🙂
3. Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter.
4. Real friends or Cyber Friends?
Depends what for! Cyber friends can be real, true friends even if you haven’t met and real-life friends can be not true friends too…
5. Which is your favourite (or one of your favourite) blogs to read?
Probably Patch of Puddles, as it’s the blog I’ve consistently read the longest – about two years now. I tend to not have time to read everything I’d like so go through spurts of reading different blogs at different times.
6. Have you ever had a celeb tweet you?
Depends who you define as a celeb. To me, picture book authors and illustrators are ‘celebs’ and they’re very chatty. But real, tens/hundreds of thousands of followers type people, no. But I don’t tend to tweet to them either!
7. Peanut Butter – Smooth, Crunchy or not at all?
Yuck yuck yuck! Not at all.
8. Tea, milk first or after tea bag?
I rarely drink tea, so whatever is easiest at the time. I’m not a huge fan of hot drinks, never got the hang of them. I probably infuriate anyone I’ve been to meetings with: “Tea or coffee?” they ask; “A water would be lovely,” I reply…
9. I love enjoying a bit of crap tv I’m talking TOWIE, Big Brother and *clears throat and whispers* Geordie Shore (vile program but addictive) What’s your guilty pleasure as far as tv’s concerned?
At the moment, Young Dracula on CBBC. I love it. Oh, and CSI/NCIS if I’ve got TV background noise on in the evenings. I generally avoid all soaps, reality TV, quiz shows etc so am rubbish at ‘general knowledge’ questions because I haven’t got a clue what they’re about…
10. When did you last laugh until you cried?
I can’t remember.
11. How many of my 11 Bloggers do you think will actually get round to answering my 11 questions?
At least one? Um… Six? Of course, you’d probably given up on me 😉

I’m not going to tag anyone because I’m terrible at reading blogs consistently and have no idea who does/doesn’t like these games. Also it’s a bit like pyramid selling – the first person has to find 11 bloggers; those 11 have to find 121 bloggers; those 121 have to find 1,331 bloggers… It all falls apart quite quickly 🙂

However, if anyone reading this wants to have a go, here are my 11 questions (please link back, I’d love to read the answers):

1. If there were no constraints, what education would you want your children to have?
2. Again no constraints, which organisation would you be most likely to volunteer for?
3. What’s your favourite genre of book to read, for yourself? For your children?
4. At what age would you consider ‘letting’ your child have a tattoo or piercing, if at all?
5. Where in the world do you want to live?
6. Where in the world are you?
7. You’ve got 30 minutes all to yourself: no children, no housework. What are you doing?
8. Who are your five favourite children’s illustrators right now?
9. Did you have a favourite soft toy as a child? What was it called?
10. Montessori or Steiner?
11. Favourite cake?

Happy Birthday, Child-Led Chaos Blog

A year ago today, I posted the first entry to this blog: Here Be Dragons

And then I didn’t do anything about blogging until the end of July… So really, I only started blogging seven months ago. That’s when I set up a GMail address, joined Twitter and decided that I’d start documenting some of the activities I did actually do with my children, attempts at creating a Montessori-inspired environment and being Child-Led. At some point, picture books took over instead 😆

I was going to do a ‘blog’ post, on what I’ve learnt. But, fortunately for you, I haven’t! In summary, I’ve learnt that there are a lot of lovely people out there who work really hard creating interesting, creative and consistent content and who answer queries, chat and still manage to raise children, do other jobs, deal with disabilities, financial difficulties, grief and still blog and chat and help others.

Parent bloggers, you’re fantastic. Thank-you for inspiring, encouraging and supporting.

Happy Birthday, blog. You’ve been fun, here’s to the next year.

International Book Giving Day

Did you know there was an International Book Giving Day? I knew about World Book Day and World Book Night but a day for giving any used or new children’s books to children? What a fantastic idea. And having it on February 14th, a date currently destroyed by crass commercialism, even better!

Amy from Delightful Children’s Books introduces International Book Giving Day and gives three simple options that anyone can do: Give, Donate or Leave a book.

International Book Giving Day is a day dedicated to getting new, used, or borrowed books in the hands of as many kids as possible.

If you’ve read my post Biblioholism, you may have seen that we wouldn’t miss one or two books (okay, I’ll still miss them, I’m an addict – but it’s for a good cause…) so I’ll definitely be joining in.

The idea is to get books into the hands of as many children as possible. I live in an area where getting books to children isn’t such a problem, but there are plenty of charities that would love to have more books to give – Zoe from Playing by the Book has an extensive list of charities that accept book donations, along with more ideas.

You don’t have to rush out and buy lots of books for your local hospital. One book, one child is all it takes:

Has it been a while since you went to the library? Take your child(ren) and borrow a book that’s new to them.

Has that board book outlived its welcome? Leave it in a waiting room for a bored toddler…

A rainbow of touchy feely board books

What will I be doing? Well, I did mention there were some board books that needed a new home. To start with, a little pile of That’s Not My… books which have been well-loved but are still in good condition.

I will donate several books to my local Helen and Douglas House shop. Helen and Douglas House charity supports Helen House and Douglas House hospices. The sale of the books will help children and young adults with life shortening conditions and their families, plus the books will get to be loved again by whoever buys them.

I’ll also be giving a couple of That’s Not My… books to friends whose first children are coming up for a year old, because they’re just the right age to really start enjoying them.

We got to a lovely little church cafe / toddler group on Tuesday mornings so I’ll leave a book or two there too, as they don’t have many.

I think I might keep That’s Not My Dragon though, it was the first That’s Not My… book I bought for MG. Oh, but can’t I keep the Tiger one too? And DG loved the Monkey one, and I got the Dolly one after MG borrowed it from the library so many times… No, no, I will give them up for adoption, I will!

You can keep up to date with International Book Giving Day news via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or their blog. You’ll also soon be able to download an exclusive bookplate designed by children’s author & illustrator Clara Vulliamy!

To join in with International Book Giving Day, give/donate/leave a book (or several) and share the love…

Silent Sunday 05.02.2012

Silent Sunday

#3Books

Emily from A Mummy Too has set somewhat of an impossible challenge – choose three books you love most: one from childhood, one from adulthood, one as a parent.

Childhood
I stumble at the first hurdle: which part of childhood? How do you define “childhood”? I was reading adult novels as a pre-teen, but was a child until my twenties in other ways (not that I’ve ever truly grown up). In a quick burst of conciousness I could include: picture books listed here (and more besides); A Child’s Garden of Verses; The Hobbit; A Wizard of Earthsea; The Hounds of the Morrigan; The Wind on the Moon; The Ordinary Princess; Narnia; Enid Blyton; The Starlight Barking; Wolves of Willoughby Chase; The Snow Kitten; Asimov; Douglas Adams; Harry Harrison… and I’ve missed out so many.

I’m going to chose Dragons’s Blood (trilogy) by Jane Yolen. I borrowed it from the library when I was around 10 and it always stuck with me, to the extent I managed to track the trilogy down again to re-read in my early 20’s even though I couldn’t remember the author at the time. It’s set in a world where dragons exist and are bred for fighting, where there are two classes of people: free and bonded and it tells the story of how a bonded boy manages to raise his own dragon in secrecy. It’s a fully realised world containing politics, emotions and characters that stay with you forever. Now I’ve written this, I want to re-read them again (and get the fourth book which I’ve never read…)

Adulthood
Here I have the opposite problem to childhood: I read a lot of so-called children’s novels and then there’s my soft spot for vampire ‘young adult’ fiction 😆 I used to read at least one or two books a week but sadly those days seem long gone, maybe one day I’ll get back into reading as much as I used to…

My favourite authors for the bulk of my adulthood have been Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Other authors who have wowed me include Iain (M) Banks; Philip Pullman; Garth Nix… Far too many others, including non- SF/fantasy/horror books if you were wondering…

I’m going to chose Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A book by both my favourite authors, well it’s a no-brainer. It’s funny, intelligent, and… Oh, it’s just brilliant.

Parenthood
I’m avoiding choosing a children’s / picture book as I really can’t choose just one and I get to talk about those lots on this blog anyhow.

I’m going to choose How Children Learn by John Holt. It’s a very readable book based around a series of memos Holt wrote whilst he was working as a teacher. It not only gives a view on how education should (or shouldn’t) be but also lots to think about in how to parent too. John Holt obviously loved and respected children and is essential reading if you have anything to do with children in my opinion.

That was hard! Thank-you, A Mummy Too, I really enjoyed thinking about what to choose.

#3Books

Pull Yourself Together or The Taboo of Mental Health

The fantastic Mammasaurus has been doing a week of blog posts to highlight mental health issues:
Living in Cloud Cuckoo Land
Pulled from beneath the ‘Rug of shame’ for a jolly good beating
And then my father died…
When I left my children…
The End. Final words and a Linky

I probably have always had some kind of mental health issue since I was a small child who didn’t speak at school (at all, not a single word). As an adult I have been told a GP that I have social anxiety, but I didn’t fit with that community. I asked another GP about adult ASD diagnosis when I was feeling brave enough to talk, and he said I probably have a personality disorder and didn’t take it further. I have been referred to psychologists and counsellors ocassionally, but having an “avoident personality” means I’ve always given up on going to them.

My first experience with a counsellor (only six years ago, before that I ‘coped’ alone) didn’t help much: in a 30 minute initial consultation she told me I sucked happiness from the room – yes, well you would get that opinion from someone who hated themselves and talked negatively about themselves to the counsellor, because that was why they were there in the first place… I have been on antidepressants for almost four years, but I have just come off them because I am sick of not knowing what I’m really feeling. So I can’t write well at the moment because it is too raw. Somehow, I always ‘function’. I did keep down jobs (until this year), I got married, I have two children. From the outside I look fine. Inside, it doesn’t matter how I feel, because I ‘function’. “Pull yourself together”, “Get over it” – are they phrases you’ve heard too?

One day I might be brave enough to write more, but for now I am just copying from an earlier post I wrote about health in pregnancy: Depression isn’t just for post birth.

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Warning: Potentially upsetting content, depressed thoughts during pregnancy.

When my eldest daughter was 18 months old, my husband and I were blessed with another pregnancy. Except I felt far from blessed. On seeing the word “pregnant” on the test (it would be a digital, no squinting for a line here) I burst into tears, and they weren’t tears of happiness. I was taking fluoxetine for depression as it was (for the past 11 months) so I went straight to see my GP. “Take one every other day for 2 weeks and then stop taking them” she said…

So I dutifully did. I bought folic acid. I tried to feel happy. I was too tired to feel anything really. Inside my head these little thoughts kept appearing “It will go wrong, I won’t have to have it.” The baby was always “it”. I vomited daily from 6 weeks pregnant, just as in my first pregnancy. This time with added all day nausea.

At my booking in, my BMI was 40 so my midwife put me down as consultant led and gave me Slimming World vouchers. I never used them, I didn’t care. I never went to the consultant appointments, what was the point? At my 12 week scan, there it was: a little jumping bean. “Lots of movement, good strong heartbeat” said the sonographer and gave us scan pictures. On the way home, I burst into tears, I had been hoping that I had a missed miscarriage.

To the outside world, I faked it. I showed the scan pictures, I talked about potential names, I talked about gender guesses. Inside I just hated “it”. At 17 weeks the sickness and all day nausea were more than unbearable. I went to the GP and begged for something to make it go away. She gave me blurb about how it could harm the baby but prescribed something because she knew what it was like. I didn’t care what it could do to “it”. I didn’t want “it”.

Every day I thought about terminating “it”. I talked to my husband about the 20 week scan: If there’s anything wrong with it, we won’t keep it? I got him to agree. I hoped there was a problem. There wasn’t, it was a perfect 20 week scan. There were more scan pictures, an actual baby looking creature in black and white. I still felt nothing but despair.

At 24 weeks all the thoughts and feelings were just too much. I planned to go to my GP and beg for a late termination. I couldn’t have this thing. I couldn’t love it. I couldn’t keep it.

I went to my GP. I asked to go back on the fluoxetine because of how I was feeling. I was referred to see a psychologist because of the risks of anti-depressants in pregnancy. I had to manage another week trying to keep a vague grasp on sanity. I was missing so many work days from sickness I only just scraped missing a disciplinary (I found this out a long time later, the fact I was pregnant was a mitigating factor.)

Almost as soon as I started back on anti-depressants, the thoughts of terminating “it” faded. I still feel so much guilt for those feelings. I can never forgive myself, although I know it was the depression, it was the illness, it wasn’t really me.

And where were the health professionals during all of this? My midwife had an operation so I saw her at 12 weeks and 38+ weeks of pregnancy only, in between was a different cover midwife every time. My GP was on a sabatical so I saw a different GP every time. The psychologist approved my anti-depressants but didn’t think the fact I wanted to kill my unborn child was an issue, I’d get over it…

Although the anti-depressants removed my thoughts of termination, I still didn’t want “it”. I looked up how to put “it” up for adoption (not an option, both parents have to agree). I’d talk to my toddler daughter about how much I loved her, how we’d feed baby and keep it alive and well when it was born but wouldn’t love it. I loved my eldest with an intensity bordering on obsessiveness, focussing all the love I wasn’t feeling for my unborn child onto her.

At 26 weeks, the sickness and nausea finally stopped (the same as with my first pregnancy) and something amazing happened: I met my lovely health visitor.

It was my eldest daughter’s two-year check and the first time I met this health visitor as she was new to my surgery. We talked about eldest’s development (fine) and she asked about the baby, saying she’d probably be my health visitor. And it all came flooding out…

Surprised that I’d been feeling like that for so long she suggested she visited me for “talking therapy”. And she did. Before my second daughter was born, after she was born, months later when she heard my mum had been admitted to hospital for an emergency heart operation… Sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, she would visit and we would chat. About families, about raising children, about what her children were doing or had done, about anything and everything. I can never thank her enough for that time. I didn’t know I needed it but that small amount of time and those uncritical chats were the most valuable health care I’ve ever had.

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Thank-you, Mammasaurus, for writing so openly about your experiences and inspiring others to do the same.