Tiger Stripe Pride…

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Katie Price has been in the news recently, that in itself is nothing new, but at the moment the story is about her posting pictures of a super toned and slim body just under three weeks after having an emergency c-section.

Now having had almost an identical birth – booked in for a csection and then one week before that planned operation, an emergency csection took place, and both our little girls were born early. The biggest difference is that three weeks later, I did not look like I’d just left the gym. Perhaps a marshmallow factory, but definitely not the gym! Now I could defend my wobbly bits by using the excuse that I then had a second operation after the csection but even the idea of doing that brings me to my main point…

WE HAD BABIES!!!

I no longer read magazines like Heat. But thousands of women do and they’re surrounded by pictures of a) celebrities with red rings of shame round wobbly bits/’are they pregnant’ rumours or b) showing off their proud post baby bodies or revealing their secrets on how they lost 12 stone in 12 minutes (clearly an exaggeration but you get my meaning..!). So the message is clear, keep small or it’s something to be embarrassed about, that’s the message being pushed onto girls and women everywhere. And it’s the same for men. Heats ‘hunk of the week’ never has anyone who hasn’t obviously been on an extremely strict exercise regime and diet. Men’s magazines shame the un-toned just as much as women’s.

My opinions of the medias representation of weight is opening a huge can of worms so let me simply concentrate on the specifics. After giving birth, your body is completely changed, you need to heal, your baby becomes infinitely more important than a few areas that aren’t quite gladiator arena ready. In the case of a csection, you’re not allowed to exercise for the first three months and there’s an even stricter 4-6 week period where you’re really quite physically restricted.

But please don’t mistake me being on a ‘these bloody skinny bitches’ tirade. Katie Price looks ridiculously fabulous for a mother of five and has been careful to make it clear that since the birth she’s done that through eating and drinking really well combined with very lucky genes. That’s really great for her, she’s a healthy Mum. But that’s the key, ‘healthy.’ Where are the articles with the headlines, “find out how this celebrity Mum feels great and has a happy healthy baby” without feeling the need for a picture in their bikini, without clothes size being the biggest aim? It’s equally unhealthy to be so against the skinny issue and push body confidence without mentioning that the opposite is equally unhealthy. The latest #fatkini fad where larger women post pictures of themselves in bikinis started with a great message. How do you get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. But obesity is also a huge health risk, especially for a expectant or new Mum.

The fact is, a ‘size’ issue has been grossly mistaken for what should be a ‘health’ issue. The curvy Hollywood starlets were replaced sometime in the 60’s by stick thin models and we’ve been talking about size ever since. And it hugely varies. Some women are a natural and healthy size 6, some women are a natural and healthy size 20. Not to mention the gulf of variety in between and either side. Luckily the trend is changing, the opinions I’m voicing aren’t considered groundbreaking. More and more people have them, the media are just slightly slow in catching on, magazines haven’t quite got there yet. But the problem is young girls and boys (and older men and women who have had the wrong messages thrust upon them for years) still read these magasines. There will be new mothers seeing pictures of celebrities, (some healthy, some not so much) talking about how to get their post baby body back in mere weeks and feeling the pressure to do whatever they can to match the results.

Weight is variable, when I was younger, I was tiny, really tiny and still weighed in quite heavily. At my heaviest in pregnancy, I weighed 15st 9lbs. At 5’4″, that sounds really heavy, but I was healthy. Eight weeks post baby and I’ve lost three stone, which still puts me at very heavy for my height. But I’m a solid, healthy size 14. It’s taken me years to be ok with it, but as an adult, 14 is my natural size, with an occasional 12 when I’m playing more netball and the occasional 16 usually round Christmas time! Those are my numbers. But my body shape changes much more than the numbers. I’ve been unhealthy small and unhealthy large; in my early twenties I went through a stage of exercising loads and barely eating and gained a rather unhealthy ‘lollipop head’ type figure and then in my mid twenties I went through a stage of mainly eating pasties, cream teas and not really moving much and my already large head gained quite a bit extra. At both ends of the extremes I often felt dizzy, got a lot of headaches, didn’t have any energy and just didn’t look healthy.

When I found out I was pregnant, it was suddenly much more important to look after myself. For me it put all the numbers into perspective, as my body grew, I knew I was eating well for my growing baby and I cared less and less about my weight and my size. At the same time I had a lot of nausea, and some days it was just a case of getting in what I could, but as far as was possible, I made sure I had plenty of vegetables and energy rich foods. And now she’s born and gets her nutrition and immune system from me through breast milk, it’s monumentally important to make sure I’m eating well and drinking enough to make sure I can get through the day with enough to give to her. It breaks my heart to read stories about women starting ridiculous diets just days after having baby because of the pressure to look good (especially when ‘looking good’ is equated with ‘being thin’.) even if they’re not breastfeeding, new Mums need as much energy as possible to be the best Mum they can be. Not to mention passing on a positive body image and healthy lifestyle to your children.

Whilst on holiday with family in Brighton this Summer, baby Scarlett and I spent most days at least popping down to the beach, and with the beautiful weather, for me, it could have gone two ways. 1) We have a fabulous time on the beach, splashing about in the sea, giving Scarlett her very first dip (only the very tips of her toes of course, she was only 5/6 weeks old after all!) laughing together and enjoying family time, or 2) keeping away from the water to avoid my clothes getting wet, being too hot and irritable whilst everyone else larked about happily. For me it’s all or nothing, on the beach I don’t really enjoy myself if I’m not able to get involved and that means being in a swimming costume. And as we were down there nearly every day and my costume needed to be washed, it also meant being in a bikini…a bikini, five weeks after giving birth, having not started a fad diet, I know, I know, to some I’m barbaric! I have several lumps and bumps, I have shiny bright red tiger stripes…and I was having an absolute blast with my family and little girl!

Fun at the beach!

Fun at the beach!

It definitely helps NOT reading those sorts of magazines, the magazines with the red circles of shame alongside the diet pages. And I’m lucky to have a partner who found me attractive during all stages of pregnancy and afterwards, a man who found the natural state of pregnancy a positive thing and that does makes a huge difference. As much as I can sit here and write about how important it is to have self belief, as someone who has in the past allowed other people to dictate her confidence levels and thoughts of my looks, I know how difficult that can be in reality. But it is true and we can all start by ignoring the red ring of shame, embracing our red tiger stripes of child rearing and embracing ourselves for our individual quirks, marks and the map of life our bodies show.

So I applaud Katie Price for eating and drinking well and having the confidence to show off her body, I’m sharing my holiday pictures for the same reason, to embrace my figure, the body that brought my beautiful baby girl into the world. A body that tells various stories of my life, every curve, every scar! It’s a very different image to Katie’s, but that’s ok, it would be a very boring world if we all looked the same. But the news shouldn’t be about numbers, it shouldn’t be about how many pounds, ounces and inches have been lost. We’re both healthy, we’re both proud Mums and we can both hold our heads up high and be body confident. If you’ve had a baby recently or are about to, look into that mirror and see how beautiful you are. Those stretch marks show how strong your body is to accommodate your baby, those curves show your womanhood, and you need that expansion while pregnant to keep your baby safe. If you’re feeling ill, tired, under the weather or under strain, it may be that you need to look at your diet and lifestyle to feel and be a bit healthier. But once you’re healthy, your body is your own temple and if you’re into sports and/or working out and want to tone your body to be a finely carved sculpture, good for you. If you want to emphasise your curves and embrace a cosier frame, that’s great. But no-one has the right to put a ring of shame around you but you, and even you shouldn’t!

Katie Price has been in the news recently, she looks great, healthy Mum is something to be celebrated, healthy Mums should make the news…the wait for weight to be old news should be over!

Our Open Letter…

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Yesterday I was asked, “what will you say if Scarlett asks why you & Tom decided to get married so early? Do you worry she’ll think she was an accident as she wasn’t planned?”

Two questions that weren’t asked with any malice, it was during a discussion about relationships and life in general, and two valid questions I will have the following answers to should Scarlett want to know…

“I first met your Father when I was five years old and he was six; we had an argument over a soft drink, we both wanted the blue one…that particular brand of drink is banned now but that’s another story!

Twenty three years later we were involved in a show together, a religious show of all things! In fact the oldest show there is, The Mystery Plays, Easter Passion cycle. Your Dad as the Fight Director, and I was a devil dancer (no I don’t know how I ended up dancing either!) we became friends as we got re-acquainted despite Mummy being a smart mouth (you can ask your Father about ‘how lucky’ I was to have his help!). In one of the shows, I had to step into a part after one of the actresses had to drop out 40 minutes before show time due to illness. That illness lead to one of the defining moments in your parents life. The part required some stage combat which your Father taught me in a rather tense 40 minutes whilst also helping me rapidly learn the lines. Just before he left me to it, he placed his hands on my shoulders, our eyes met and he instantly calmed my nerves by saying, ‘Danielle you can do this.’ He had a confidence in me I’d never really had before, as you know Daddy is an excellent teacher, but what you may not know is that Mummy is not a very good student, but Daddy got through.

We became best friends very quickly, spending a lot of time together, we had the same values in life, similar dreams, similar sense of humour, Mummy remained a smart mouth…Daddy didn’t mind the challenge! In the latter part of 2013 we became an item and fell in love. Your father then asked me to marry him in Oxford with the pre cursor, ‘I know this is crazy but…’

It WAS crazy, if you follow all of societies guidelines, we were nuts to decide on a lifetime so soon. But not once have we doubted that decision, we’d both really got to know who we are and what we want during our twenties. We met and our hearts recognised their counterparts in one another. You wouldn’t necessarily believe it now but your Mother used to be quite the cynic, saw ‘true love’ as ‘utter bullcrap.’ We both always felt quite different, like we never really belonged anywhere, until everything frighteningly fell into place with each other. We remain best friends, your father remains my hero. It felt ridiculous that we hadn’t been together for years.

We married two days after my 29th birthday after only a couple of months of planning, with all your family around us, and we became ‘officially’ family, ‘legally’ family, although really we’d become family months before then. It didn’t feel like too soon because it wasn’t, we’d been waiting for each other for almost thirty years.

And then of course the second question. You. Finding out about you was the single scariest and most wonderful moment of our lives. I didn’t think I was going to be able to have children, had from the beginning made your Father aware but it was an issue we hadn’t spoke about in length. And then the conversation was thrust into our consciousness when we both sat looking at a scanner screen and saw this little creature wriggling about, my nausea and kidney infection suddenly explained! We were scared because we instantly worried about being good enough parents, instantly wanted you to have the most amazing life with us. But also wonderful because it felt like a miracle, everything was stacked against us being able to get pregnant with you, it was almost as if (and at this point if you haven’t already, you may fetch a sick bucket…) we’d found each other and you’d then found us. We loved you immediately and couldn’t believe our luck! It was a surprise, a surprise to everyone (except Nana Carol who rather spookily guessed…but that’s why we say she’s a witch…!) most of all to us but the best surprise we’d ever had!

Our little family is the most important thing to us, it may seem like a quick journey but in fact it’s one we’ve been on for the thirty years of our lives. The places we’ve been, the people we’ve met, have all led us to this point, it’s where we’re supposed to have been from the very beginning. If you ask your Grandad Lade, he’ll tell you that he believes in fate and your Mother agrees. The day your Father and I knew we were having you, everything felt like it had finally fallen into place, we were exactly where we were meant to be, and everything else since has just fitted in perfectly around us. We have no regrets about what got us here over the years, and therefore certainly don’t feel like anything has gone too fast. Life is for the living, truly living and that my sweet pea, with you, is exactly what your Mum and Dad plan to continue to do!

Baby in blue…

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Our little girls home town is a lovely place to live but has the odd funny onion lurking. A lady in a cafe today had this to say;

Lady “What a beautiful baby boy.”

Me “Thank you, she’s a girl.”

Lady “So why have you dressed her in blue?”

Me “(Staying jovial despite the warning signs) because it matches her superman coat.”

Lady “(by this stage she’d turned) I suppose you’re of this new generation that are trying to bring up children gay from the start because it’s fashionable.(looking round the otherwise empty cafe as if expecting some kind of ‘amen sister’ back up from crowds)”

Me “umm, sorry, you don’t bring up children as gay. She either is or isn’t. We’re only bringing her up as a superhero.(staying loyal to ‘jovial’)”

(At this stage my slice of Madeira cake arrived which only seemed to anger her more – perhaps Madeira is the cake of choice for other horrendous groups of society…like happy people perhaps)

Lady “(massively unimpressed and wrapping her little rain hat round her head, either ready to leave or to protect her brain from my dangerous parenting style) I’ll pray for her.”

Me “well happily other people will pray better for her and not with lots of extra clauses but for exactly who she is and actually I’m not religious anyway but even if she grows up wanting to be religious I will support her whatever she wants.”

She actually left three words in to ‘Danielle’s final thought of the day’ and it wasn’t the most eloquent I’ve ever been but the waitress gave me a half hearted supportive smile so I’m chalking it up as a win and I ate my Madeira cake triumphantly with my gorgeous smiley daughter next to me.

But I couldn’t believe the viewpoint – my daughter is in blue (plus superman coat today) ergo we are trying to make her gay (this is also making the assumption that clothes are the way to push this..). She said it out loud and still didn’t see how ridiculous the viewpoint was. I’m almost sad that she was religious because she instantly became this awful stereotype, when I know many religious people who don’t have a negative view on gay people (or the colour blue as far as I’m aware). I truly nearly left it out of the anecdote because it’s irrelevant. She’s got an awfully narrow minded opinion but it remains her opinion and that’s fine. I was offended she implied that I was trying to push my daughter to be gay, I was offended that she implied there was anything negative to say about the possibility of my daughter being gay! But I will also defend her right to have that opinion, however much I disagree with it.

My main problem with people with such strong views is how they try to shame others with their opinions. I was embarrassed to be approached so negatively as if I was doing something wrong and if I wasn’t headstrong or confident (also read ‘pig headedly stubborn’) in how I want to raise my daughter, I might have gone home and changed her so as to blend in more. But that’s not who I am. And while she doesn’t have her own say, my husband and I have decided to dress her as we see fit, which includes ‘girly’ pink clothes, more neutral clothes, superhero themed clothes, all colours of the spectrum, really anything goes! And I really hope Scarlett grows up knowing she can be whoever she truly is; whether that be gay, straight or anything in between and that she has the confidence to be whoever she wants to be; ballet dancer, fireman, builder, administrator or full time Mum. So that if anyone tries to question her, she’ll have the confidence to smile, politely explain how she feels on the matter and most importantly never change for anyone. Suffice to say, I don’t think Scarlett and I made a friend today, but that’s ok – Scarlett can definitely do without friends who base their opinions on one (adorable) outfit!

And that, dear friends, concludes my soapbox rant of the day!

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Thoughts for the future…

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I spend a lot of time staring at my daughter. Her beautiful big blue probably brown eyes, her little button nose, her full head of hair, the reflections of her Father and the familiar aspects of me. At this stage of her life she is as innocent and pure a being as anyone will ever be.

It makes me consider the things I want for her, I’m flawed, so very flawed! I have a temper, I’m impatient, although since giving birth I’ve had a renewed unending patience for her that I never thought I’d be capable of before her! She makes me want to be a better person and like every parent I want the very best for her. But I do have a top three, a list of priorities I wish to bestow on her!

1) Yesterday, on holiday with family on the South coast, as it was a delightful day, we went on the beach. My swimming costume needs washing and I only otherwise have my bikini. Now, as you all know, I had a baby five weeks ago, the model agencies are not exactly banging my door down at the moment! I’m back down to my pre pregnancy clothes size but with plenty more lumps and bumps! Not to mention my still slightly angry looking tiger stripes over my stomach.

‘Never mind,’ I thought, ‘I don’t need to have a swim, I’m happy just sat here.’

However, that was a big fat lie! I LOVE the sea, I’m a Brighton girl born and bred and I was about to miss out because of a few wobbly bits. Now, our baby girl is beautiful, and I want her to always been 100% confident in that beauty. And how could I look her in the eye if I didn’t practise what I plan to preach! Lead by example, it’s the only way forward! So I put my bikini on and held my head up high. If anyone else had a problem with my body, that remained their problem, I was having fun on the beach with my family! So the first thing I want for her is the confidence to never let anyone or anything make her doubt her beauty inside or out. Forget newspapers and magazines trying to dictate to us what ‘beautiful,’ is, I want my baby girl to define and set her own beauty confidence.

2) The second thing I want most for Scarlett is an unending enthusiasm and passion for whatever it is that sparks a fire inside her. In the last year I have lived my life in a way that’s more true to who I am than I have in years. And so many wonderful things have happened as a result; I can add professional writer to my life CV, I’ve been on stage twice despite being absent from it for years, I’ve written scripts that have been used on a Summer school course, I’m married and I have the most beautiful girl in the world. A lot of this is down to my husband who made me believe in myself and have the confidence to be who I am without exception. And without sounding arrogant, I’m proud to have been able to repay him the favour. He now walks round with his own awesome style and a fantastic moustache that he previously didn’t feel he could really do. He takes immense joy, as do I, in creative hobbies and board games, something that has really nurtured and set free his creativity but again something he’d stopped doing so much. His career has flourished over the last 12 months and this April, he watched his first play being performed on stage; a play that this time last year I told him he should write, because I believed in him when he was unsure and I gave him a little push to go for it, and it was a huge success! We bring out the best in each other and have enabled one another to freely be the people we truly are, and allowed each other to release the enthusiasm and the passion for things and it’s paid off enormously for both of us. Passion and enthusiasm are both things that often get quashed down in life by circumstances or other people even if not purposefully.

When I was at school, I used to turn down night out invitations to watch (and mark!) the Eurovision Song Contest with my family, a tradition that has always been of huge enjoyment to me. So much so that in 2006, my Dad, baby brother and I travelled to Athens to watch it live! (The year that Hard Rock Hallelujah won – it was a brilliant year to have watched!) My point is, I was unashamedly myself but somewhere in my twenties stopped believing in it quite so much and cut down on my hobbies. No-ones fault but my own. I tried to be ‘cooler,’ tried to be a bit more ‘normal.’ And although I had a brilliant time in my twenties, and cannot take any credit away from the things I did and thoroughly enjoyed, it was a toned down version of who I really am. And my husband was the same, he did a lot of great stuff in his twenties and would never take away from the people he spent it with but he was a toned down version of himself.

A lot of it is also down to our age, many people tone themselves down in their twenties trying to fit in in that awkward stage between childhood and established adulthood. But I don’t want Scarlett to feel she has to tone herself down for anything or anyone; I want to give her the confidence to never try to fit in, ‘normal’ is another word for ‘average,’ and there’s no reason anyone has to be average. Every single person has the capability to be extraordinary. And our daughter is going to be truly extraordinary!

3) The third and final thing I want for her, is to know how in love with each other her parents are. How much we respect and adore one another and her. I think it’s so desperately important, it’ll be her first example of a relationship, it’ll be the first thing she can use as a template for forming her own relationships in the future. Ours will never necessarily be a huge fancy home but we aim to fill it with happy times, and an openness and honesty that hopefully gives her a positive outlook and confidence to live her life in a similarly open, honest and loving way. My husband and I are lucky to both be very close to our families and it is down to them that we’ve turned out the way we have (so on the other hand, they also only have themselves to blame!), we want her to also be aware of the mistakes we inevitably make so she can learn from us. Whatever happens in life; illness, misfortune, sad times, it’s so important to us for her to know that whatever is going on; her parents love one another and her. Family can get through unimaginable hard times with open hearts and honesty. It sounds incredibly twee and I promise I’m not about to burst into song but I really believe that that is an important foundation.

So those are my top three! I know it may sound ridiculous that I’m not listing more practical things as the important things I want for my daughter, many people will disagree with me (and I’m sure many will think I have a much too idealistic view on life!), but these three things are the three most important things I wish to give my baby girl.

I have no idea what her future holds; excitingly and frighteningly, that’s all in her hands. But as I stare down at her beautiful face, not even totally sure what colour her eyes are going to be yet, I hope I can give her these three things, three things that I see as core values. Core values that brought my husband and I together in the first place, which in turn lead to her being created in the first place!

Everyone wants the best for their children, but everyone’s idea of, ‘the best,’ is different. I’ve said many times and I still believe that every parent does the best they can do. And it’s so important that we do. The world is a pretty terrifying place comrades and we are creating the next generation; in fact the course of the future may well be shaped by our beautiful boys and girls. So if we’re bringing up the new generation dear friends, let’s make it a bloody good one!

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The Breast Advice…

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We are in the middle of our two week seaside holiday and so this week we are without my husband who is working away. Despite being nervous at leaving the safe cocoon of our home, we’ve been having a lovely time and our baby girl is becoming more and more expressive each day!

The other day we headed to Eastbourne and we had a new experience…breastfeeding in public…alone. Usually I have my husband or family or friends with me but the day was always looming that I would feed her with no-one and I have to admit I was a bit nervous.

As most of you will know, the Eastbourne pier had a rather big fire last week and so that part of Eastbourne had become quite the tourist attraction. We also wanted to see it, and without thinking settled down at the beachside cafe on the underpass next to the pier. I sat with my coffee in front of me and got baby latched on at least semi successfully without making too much of a hash of it. I then realised that with the rather large crowds of people on the promenade staring at the pier and taking pictures, I had somehow managed to place Scarlett and I centre stage of the biggest attraction in town! Not very smart for someone wanting to breastfeed as subtly as possible and without any attention! I dread to think how many tourists pictures now contain my feeding baby and a slightly frazzled looking Mummy!

But other than a rather daft decision, it went fine and without incident and we were about an hour later joined by Grandad and went on our way! As with a lot of things, the build up worrying about it was the worst part. So it got me thinking about what my top ten breastfeeding in public tips would be from my experiences this week, whether you be alone or in a group. As you read them, do feel free to add your own, although there’s no need to point out that a lot of the below would be simple common sense to most. I’ve learnt from the past week, that’s the important thing…!

1) Get baby attached as swiftly as possible but don’t rush too much, people don’t expect you to be a magician but by being too aware of hiding yourself, it’ll end up taking longer which will make baby more agitated (and louder, perfect for not drawing attention..!) and generally lengthen the whole process.

2) Don’t worry about other people, most won’t have any problem with it at all and anyone who does is actually breaking the law! You cannot be asked to leave or harassed whilst breastfeeding and unless you’re taking you top and bra off and swinging yourself about, you’re fully within your rights to feed in cafés and restaurants.

3) Saying that, some people will feel uncomfortable. That’s not your problem but it’s not them having a problem with you or your child, it may just be they’ve never seen a breastfeeding Mother before or are of a generation or background that are used to it being behind closed doors. So don’t worry about them!

4) If for any reason, like me, you’re needing to use shields, however tempting it is to hastily put all clothes back into place without removing them – do bear in mind that they stick out a hell of a lot more prominently than you do, and you may not notice until you’ve been walking around for a while and find you’ve been doing a rather unglamorous Madonna impression for half an hour!

5) Seagulls can’t be trusted. This doesn’t just apply to breastfeeding, seriously, at the slightest hint there may be food about they turn into vultures. Made worse when you’re feeding and worry you can’t bat them away quick enough. I might be bias as I’m terrified of birds but I’m pretty sure even the RSPCB dislike seagulls.

6) If you’re wearing regular clothes (as opposed to tops etc that are specially designed for nursing) do check before you leave the house that they stretch as well as you assume they will, so you don’t find yourself sitting on a toilet in a pub on Brighton pier with your dress off and on the floor. (Totally unrelated to another experience this week of course…ahem)

7) If you are going out in a rush and can’t find any breast pads…make the time to get them. After an hour or at the slightest cry from your baby and you’ll have two rather obvious wet patches. In related news, wet patches show up very strongly on light red tops…!

8) Do try and find a way to occupy the time whilst feeding so you don’t feel too self conscious (or bored!) but at the same time, make sure you don’t get too occupied. Baby’s often fall asleep whilst feeding and if you’re engrossed in that thriller novel, you may not notice that to onlookers you’re a woman sat alone, reading, holding a sleeping baby…with one breast casually hanging out.

9) If you’re using nipple shields, remember that they’re quite light, so on a breezy day, you need to keep hold of them once your done. Relatives are almost always understanding of you breastfeeding your child in front of them, they’re significantly less understanding of a milky nipple shield landing in their fresh cup of coffee. (Especially if they take their coffee black!)

10) And finally (although I half suspect most people wouldn’t need this pointed out to them as advice) If there’s been a big event that draws in the crowds, especially crowds with cameras and you’re nervous about breastfeeding…don’t sit right in front of said event.

Breastfeeding is definitely a learning curve, and getting used to it in public isn’t instantaneous. The nerves won’t last forever, but in my case sadly, the Eastbourne tourist photos might do…!

Changing my tune…

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As a new parent, I keep finding myself doing and saying things I swore I’d never do before having a baby. But as the days and weeks go on, I prove to myself that I am in fact slowly but surely, going back on many of them!

One of the things I always said I’d never do, is get a ‘baby on board’ sign in a car. I hated them. I’m not even sure why, it just seemed so unnecessary, did people believe that without the sign, other drivers would be out to get them on the road?! Would getting the sign make any difference apart from to annoy?

‘Dammit I was about to ram that car off the road but now they have a ‘baby on board’ sign in the window it seems rather harsh. I’ll go back to my original plan of burning insects with a magnifying glass instead…’

As may be coming across, I was really quite irritated by them. So when we started preparing for baby, one of the top things on my list of priorities was to definitely not become ‘those people.’

However, my husband recently informed me that the original use of those signs was in case of a car crash, in the horrendous event of a collision, a baby on board sign would highlight to the emergency services that they needed to look for a baby. It’s also why the original yellow signs have, ‘child on board’ written on the reverse.

And was why I instantly backtracked a lifetime of criticism and bought one of those signs! I at least stuck to the uniformed yellow, none of this embellished or ‘blinged up’ cutesey versions, functional and practical emergency use only.

So now I can’t make a cutting comment when I see one of those signs, and of course I’ve learnt my lesson to not be a smart alec when I don’t have all the facts. Perhaps those horrendous eyelashes that people put on headlights actually protect from heavy rain, maybe the cars with ‘powered by fairy dust’ etched on them are the new sustainable and environmentally friendly powered engines, maybe those ‘princess on board’ signs actually denote royalty…

…I very much doubt it but I’m going to keep my mouth shut from now on, just in case!