Category Archives: Politics

Should we be trusting the system more?

Mind the Baby blog www.mindthebaby.ie
photo credit: kokopinto via photopin cc

One of my most popular posts on the blog is one I wrote earlier this year on tongue-tie in Ireland. It gets a lot of traffic and also a lot of discussion as you can see from the comments. A reader recently contacted me to tell me about her own journey towards getting her second baby’s tongue-tie diagnosed and treated. On a long path that started, like most of us, with some intense online research and ended with a serendipitous personal recommendation for a Dublin doctor, she managed to get a happy resolution to her situation and has gone on to have a very successful breastfeeding relationship with her son with mastitis and cracked nipples long behind her. Continue reading Should we be trusting the system more?

Children first, always

Mind the Baby, mindthebaby.ie, Children First, Always
Two-year-old Iancu Muntean Jnr with his mum, Loredaiva, outside their home in Athlone. Photo courtesy of independent.ie

I don’t know what happened because I don’t have all of the information. Sure I know what I read in the papers and I’ve read all the online comments but the only people who really know what happened are the Gardai. Even the families don’t really know what happened because they were only there for the bit when their child was taken away, by the authorities. They weren’t involved in receiving the information about stolen blonde children; the discussions and decisions that led to the turn of events; what happened in the police cars on the way to the station or where the small children spent their nights away from their families. What did the police say to soothe the children in the cars, I wonder? Did they try to sing them a song or talk about Mickey Mouse or something? Continue reading Children first, always

Mind the Baby’s Pre-Budget Statement

Mind the Baby blog, www.mindthebaby.ie, pre-budget statement
photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

I spent the weekend with the most wonderful group on women.

They were passionate, empathetic, warm women who were trying to make a difference – a positive difference – to the lives of others in Ireland. I left their company buoyant with optimism and hope for good things to come in this country.

With the exception of one, they were all mothers. Women with responsibilities and commitments – to their children, their parents, their partners, their communities and crucially, their bank managers. It was the one dampener of an inspiring weekend:

“What are your plans for this wonderful work? Will you do it full time?”

What sat uneasily with me was the underlying acknowledgement for most that it’s simply not possible in Ireland right now for people – for parents – to pursue their passions, their wants, their dreams. I’m not talking desert island stuff here. People can’t change their careers or set their lives on a different path. So many of us are stuck with decisions we made five years, maybe a decade, ago at this stage because we’re pinned by financial commitments.

There is no room for flourishing in Irish life these days. It’s head down, get the money in, get the bills paid, keep your children fed, warm and loved. A noble pursuit without doubt. But where’s the room for growth, creativity, personal satisfaction, meaning?

The kites aren’t flying so high this year as we enter the pre-budget process because there’s an impeccably timed referendum blocking our way and inhibiting all discussion. The regulars are still making an appearance howeer – social welfare, health, child benefit…

Could I take this moment to point out to the powers-that-be that in last year’s budget single people in employment living in rental accommodation with no children more or less emerged from Budget 2013 unscathed?

The families of Ireland have given enough. Give us something back. Like a hint of a glimmer of hope that maybe we might see a change on the horizon. That maybe, just maybe, there’ll be a chance to change something and to make life decisions that aren’t purely financially based.

So many people want to do something wonderful – either for other people or for themselves. When will we get to refocus our attention on quality of life and enriching society rather than our myopic fixation on the State coffers and the dust in our pockets?

Our own lives and the lives of our children desperately need our providers to feel like it’s all worth something. People are jaded and disenfranchised. To paraphrase the Great Bard, something is rotten in the State of Ireland. The question is who of our politicians has the courage and the long view to see what is happening and do something about it?

 

Giving birth in Ireland: why such scaremongering by female journalists?

Maternity care in Ireland has very much been in the spotlight in the last few weeks. Aja Teehan’s High Court case has been to the forefront of this but we’ve also had some interesting studies published including this one that says Irish women have more C-sections than their European counterparts and this one that says women fare better in pregnancy and birth when they are under midwife-led care. Continue reading Giving birth in Ireland: why such scaremongering by female journalists?