11 articles Tag labour

Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after Childbirth

Top 5 Tips on Managing Incontinence after ChildbirthChildbirth is an exciting time and there are many news skills to master – and for some women, managing incontinence may be one of them.

It is a common problem that many women suffer from, mainly in the short term. In rare cases, it may be a long-term issue that requires further medical help to alleviate the systems. Being informed means being prepared and so check out these five top tips for managing incontinence after childbirth.

Tip 1 – Use appropriate pads and products

There is a range of incontinence pads in various absorbency levels that make managing incontinence on a daily basis much easier. Unlike sanitary towels, they trap odour as well as urine. They absorb the urine away from the skin, preventing soreness a common complaint alongside urinary incontinence.

They can be worn day and night, and are the ideal solution for catching accidental leaks of urine post childbirth. They allow you a sense of confidence in that embarrassing leaks are stopped in their tracks, great for when you go to post-natal exercises class or enjoy activities with your family.

Tip 2 – Pelvic floor exercises

Alongside incontinence pads, performing pelvic floor exercises several times a day help to combat a weak bladder. These exercises are discreet but incredibly powerful as they tone the pelvic floor muscles, meaning you gain control of your bladder.

The great news is that you can do these exercises anywhere, they are free and require no complicated or expensive equipment.

The pelvic muscle runs from the front of your pubic, across your body to the base of your spine. It is a sling like muscle and during pregnancy, is under pressure not only from the weight of your growing baby but also from a cascade of pregnancy hormones. It is under further pressure during labour and clearly, all that pushing during childbirth also impact on it.

To strengthen it, you need to tighten and hold the muscle for a few seconds and then perform a controlled release. Some people also suggest ‘forcing’ the muscle to relax as the final step. Doing this means that the muscles go through its full movement.

Not sure where your pelvic muscle is or which part to clench? Find out more here.

Tip 3 – Yoga

Incontinence pads and pelvic floor muscles are fantastic just after giving birth mainly because the pelvic floor exercises help you heal and the pads make incontinence much easier to manage.

Now that you have fully recovered you may decide you want to try something that strengthens your pelvic floor in the longer-term. Yoga is having some great results for people who suffered from stress incontinence – in other words, an accidental leak of urine when they cough, sneeze, exercise and so on.

Yoga strengthens and tones a variety of muscles groups, including those in the abdomen, the lower back and the pelvic floor muscle itself. There are various yoga poses that can help manage incontinence better and your qualified yoga instructor will be able to help.

Tip 4 – Train your bladder

Some people find that bladder training helps them too. This works with stress incontinence but with urge incontinence too. The latter is when the bladder has a sudden urge to empty, making it difficult to get to the toilet in time. If you can’t make it to the bathroom in time, an embarrassing leak could ensue.

Training your bladder means holding on between toilet breaks for a certain length of time. For example, when you get the urge to visit the toilet, override this urge by clenching your pelvic floor muscles and resist visiting the bathroom for a length of time, such as 10 minutes. Over time, you increase this amount of time from 10 to 20 minutes and so on. If you need help with this, your doctor may be able to refer you to an incontinence specialist.

Tip 5 – See your doctor

Incontinence can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and so if it continues, becomes worse or you are in pain when you pass urine, seeing your doctor is essential. It is common for women to suffer from incontinence immediately after birth. For some women, it soon disappears but for others, it can carry on for some weeks. However, if you are still struggling to control your bladder several months after birth, see your GP or have a chat with your health visitor.

Incontinence, on one hand, is to be expected after birth but it should right itself within a few weeks. If not, follow these tips – which ones worked for you.

HARTMANN Direct stock a range of incontinence products, ideal for use during and after pregnancy, helping you to manage accidental leaks.

How Much Will Your School Lose Under the Current Government?

Anyone who follows this blog or my social media accounts will know that I am a socialist, through and through. Somehow, that seems to have become a dirty word to the uneducated masses who think that socialism revolves around lots of people on benefits, scroungers who don’t “pay their way” and take more from society than they contribute, but I’d like to hope that my readers know that isn’t the case. Socialism means “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

One of the biggest concerns I have during this General Election campaign are the absolutely savage cuts that are going on in the most nonsensical of places. Old people, poor people and the disabled are being hit the hardest and things we’ve taken for granted such as universal healthcare and free education are under threat. Watch this video from the National Union of Teachers:

I used the calculator myself and discovered that Sausage’s school is set to lose a, quite frankly FRIGHTENING, £331,000 by 2022. HOW the Tories can justify taking money from the educations of children rather than calling in the taxes which are OWED by massive companies such as Amazon and Vodafone is appalling.

School Cuts

There are so many issues on which I am diametrically opposed to the Tory view, however health, social care and education are the ones about which I feel MOST strongly and I appeal to you, as a human being with empathy; PLEASE do not use your vote to help our Government to turn it’s back on the most vulnerable and needy in society. The children of MY kids generations are the ones who are going to have to work against climate change, against all of the wrongs done by the previous generations, and I for one would like them to all have access to a good enough education to be able to do this.

This year, I restart my English degree in the hope that I can go on to get my PGCE and eventually become a teacher. Having spoken to lots of people who work in this profession, the resounding opinion has been to tell me not to bother. Teaching used to be a well-respected profession and here in the UK, we prided ourselves on the education that we offered to our kids. Now, more and more people are dropping out of teaching and retraining because of the terrible conditions they’re working in, or simply being made redundant because schools cannot afford a full staff to cover lessons.

The UK is currently the 27th richest country in the WHOLE WORLD. Do you really think we should be worrying if our kids schools can afford pencils and glue? I think the most poignant thing I’ve seen all week is a tweet (and I can’t find the original or I’d link to it here!) which said something along the lines of “Why are we talking about 30 year old pictures of Jeremy with the IRA. I’m a teacher and my school can’t afford glue. Let’s talk about EDUCATION”.

Do we really need to say any more than that?

Jeremy Corbyn – A New Hope

Yeah, okay, so the title of this post seems rather Star Wars related and I won’t deny that this meme had more than a little bit to do with it:

Obi Wan Corbyn

Aside from mildly amusing internet memes though, there does seem to be an air of jubilance and hope surrounding Jeremy Corbyn’s appointment as the leader of the Labour Party. In fact, whilst sitting here on Saturday morning with my daughters, waiting for the announcement to come in, I must admit that I shed a tear when the results were finally revealed. I had to explain to Sausage that my tears were tears of joy (BB was mostly okay…she gave me a hug and then carried on bombing around shouting “CHIPS” at the top of her voice). For the first time in years, I feel hopeful.

I have to admit, I was an Ed Milliband supporter when he was leader. I felt that he was the closest thing to socialism that we’d seen in years and felt that his values matched mine…almost. However, when I first started reading about Corbyn, back when he was struggling to get enough nominations to even run for leader of the Labour party, I felt like my eyes were opened. Ed may have had his heart in the right place, but his version of socialism was down-right wishy-washy compared to Our Jez.

Many of my friends, people I respect greatly, after the general election commented that there was no point voting either way because there was so little difference between what the big parties were offering. Now, that is no longer the case and it feels like we genuinely have a CHOICE. We can choose austerity, big business, decimation of public services.

OR.

Or we can choose ‘Corbynomics’. (God, I hate that phrase. I hate how the Tory rags are STILL using it to denigrate Corbyn despite the fact that the vast majority of those in the know agree that it’s sound economic policy and that, actually, AUSTERITY DOESN’T WORK.)

We can choose to have an NHS which doesn’t want to charge us at the point of delivery.

We can choose the possibility of an education for our children which won’t leave them in crippling debt.

We can choose the chance to live in housing which won’t be astronomically expensive.

We can choose to say “NO” to exorbitant energy prices.

We can choose to live in a country where mental health is taken seriously.

We can choose to say “NO” to prioritising nuclear weapons above education, health and housing.

We can choose to tell the likes of Amazon and other wealthy global companies that they MUST pay their taxes.

We can choose a leader who will put a halt to what can only be described as “economic cleansing” by making rents and house prices in London so high.

We can choose to tell our kids that The Arts aren’t only the privilege of the wealthy.

We can choose a leader who won’t take us blindly into wars-for-profit which will benefit no-one but his mates.

Above all else, we can choose to make a move towards a kinder society.

So that’s why I shed a tear. Because the thought of a future like that for my kids, my family and my friends is something worthy of tears of joy. The Tories are running scared, that much is obvious from the horrible smear tactics that they’ve employed in the past few days. The right-wing press seems to have lost its damn mind, printing stories and headlines which look like they’ve been copied and pasted straight from The Onion. It seems obvious to me that they’re pooing their pants.

There may be 5 years until the next election, but those are 5 years in which we can feel hopeful about a brighter future.

Since the General Election, I’ve been feeling pretty disillusioned by what I perceived as a societal move towards cruelty. However, this has buoyed me immeasurably. I’m going to leave you with a quote which says it far more succinctly than I can:

 

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

In The Wake of the General Election. #GE2015

It’s been a funny old weekend. I woke up on Friday morning before 5, feeling like I’d had concrete poured into my stomach and couldn’t get back to sleep again because my brain was racing. HOW could this have happened? How could the country have voted the Conservatives in again for another 5 years? Over the course of the morning, my fear turned to anger. I couldn’t see how a vote for Blue was anything other than self-serving and utterly lacking compassion and social conscience and so I made a declaration. I took to Facebook and wrote this:

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Yeah. I know. Pretty divisive.

My reasoning behind such a statement was that I genuinely cannot see how I have a single thing in common with someone who would willingly vote the Conservatives back into government. I can’t get my head around real, actual people thinking that the Tories can do anything but serious harm to this country. Anyone who can look at how ill and disabled people have been forced back into work, how the NHS is desperately over stretched, how the rich have been given tax cuts while the poorest of us are being fined for having too many bedrooms in our homes, are not people I’m happy to call my friends.

In the following hours, I had a lot of backlash. I had people calling me names, suggesting that I was ‘pathetic’ and ‘small-minded’, I had people outright challenging me to stand by my statement and then having tantrums when I did. I had another blogger (who, I must say, I really barely know) start a whole new thread on her own Facebook page, inviting people to agree with her on how despicable I was for removing her as a friend because of our conflicting views.

All in all, I’ve now got 20 less friends through Facebook than I had this time on Thursday. I know because before I posted the status above I took a note of my numbers, just for the sake of science. Many of them are people I’ve known since school, girls who’ve known me since I was 11 years old, and some are other bloggers. People were really quick to tell me that I was wrong and a few tried to defend their reasons for voting Tory, saying that they thought the Tories represented what was best for them and their families. Hardly anyone tried to engage me in a reasonable debate, rather choosing to call me a bigot and an idiot.

I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been more disillusioned than I am now. For me, the Conservatives represent everything that is wrong with this country. I simply cannot get my head and my heart to reconcile the fact that so many people are willing to see the death of the NHS, the repeal of the Human Rights Act and so many other key tenets of what makes this country great. All I can see is that the people who have voted Tory have happily taken from the state, in the form of healthcare, emergency services, education and cushy Government funded jobs, and then pulled the ladder up behind them. What’s that old phrase? Oh yeah…”I’m alright, Jack”.

One person, someone I’d previously liked and respected, told me she’d voted Tory because if Labour had got in, the proposed Mansion Tax would have prevented her and her Husband from buying the lavish new property they’d had their eye on, while another said that, because her Husband was a Letting Agent, the Labour proposal to cap letting agent fees (fees which have got so high as to be utterly prohibitive in recent years, forcing families into unregulated slum housing) would mean they could no longer afford their lifestyle. If that’s not a massive “FUCK YOU” to the rest of our country, I don’t know what is.

Being willing to watch families stand in queues at food banks because they can’t afford to eat and old ladies dying of hypothermia because they can’t afford to heat their homes, for the sake of your own prosperity, shows a complete lack of humanity.

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the past few days to try to work out how seemingly decent people can so happily drop the axe on everyone else for their own gain. My poor Husband (a paid-up member of The Green Party) has been a sounding board for most of it, and although his politics are in line with my own, he’s able to be a little less ‘black and white’ about things than I am. He’s of the opinion that good people can still vote Tory and that there’s been too much misinformation by the press, manipulating the moderate middle to believe that the Tories have their best interests at heart. Hard working people who don’t have time to research policies, people who come home and read the Murdoch-poisoned rags and believe what they’re seeing.

I can’t say that I’m entirely buoyed by the thought that, of the people who voted Tory, half of them did so out of selfishness and greed and the other half did so because of their utter lack of research. I’ve only been on this planet for 30 short years, but I think it’s safe to say that this has been the most information-rich General Election to ever have been run. There have been websites inviting people to test their opinions against policies to see where their actual values should lead their affiliations and yet people are still voting blindly. I’ve heard untold people say that they voted for the Tories because their parents did, or because their Husbands did. Sister Suffragette, I think not…Mrs. Banks

I’m not suggesting that every single person who voted Tory did so out of either stupidity or selfishness, but not one person yet has managed to give me a reason for their vote which I’ve been able to get my head around, or reconcile with them also being a good person.

The one good thing that’s come of this is that I’ve sorted my own political affiliations in my head. In the run up, I was wavering between Labour and Green, but ultimately went for Labour as I had strong faith in Milliband and his genuine socialist views. In the wake of him leaving the party, I’ve come to the conclusion that New Labour isn’t quite the socialist party across the board that I had hoped it was, and as of this week will be a paid up member of the Green Party. There’s a meeting in a coffee shop locally next week which Husband and I are hoping to attend as I’m done with being an keyboard warrior, I want to get out and actually act. I’m also now part of a few online groups of women who are banding together as a sisterhood against Conservative rule. I genuinely think we’ve got the power to make a huge change.

I was also hugely relieved to see the protests in London, despite ALL of the major news sources refusing to give it coverage. In the run-up to the election, I actually said to Husband “there’ll be riots if the Tories get in”, and then had to face the sinking realisation that if they DID get in it would be because the majority of people wanted them in power and therefore probably wouldn’t be unhappy about it. So to see that there were plenty of others as unhappy as me has given me hope, albeit small in the face of another 5 years of right-wing oppression.

To the 20 friends I’ve lost in the wake of this election: I’m sorry that things had to be this way. I’m sure you did what you thought was right for YOU. Unfortunately, I’m more interested in what’s right for everybody and I just cannot carry on pretending that it’s okay to screw everyone else over for your own gain.

If you’re interested, there’s a list below of posts and articles that I’ve found really interesting and informative over the past few days. Please also link me to anything you’ve found useful in the comments below:

Chrisopher Everard: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200525108166139&set=a.1179223136677.19518.1711111543&type=1

Dissapointed Idealist: https://disidealist.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/that-wasnt-an-election-result-it-was-a-5-year-prison-sentence/

Douglas Hine: http://dougald.nu/the-only-way-is-down-18-notes-on-the-uk-election/

Green Party Women: http://greenpartywomen.org.uk/news/2015/04/10/green-party-candidates-campaign-to-lift-ban-on-job-share-mps-begins/

The Independant: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/every-major-british-political-party–except-the-conservatives–currently-led-by-a-woman-10238390.html

The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock and Roll Mum:  http://www.rocknrollmum.com/2015/05/general-election-outcome-my-dads-thoughts.html

Bright Green: http://bright-green.org/2015/05/09/ge2015-left-you-feeling-1-dejected-and-disappointed-2-exhausted-3-relieved-read-on/

Another Angry Voice: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/asset-stripping-bankrupt-britain.html and http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/austerity-is-con.html

Dear So and So…The Political Edition

General-Election-2015My friend Mich over at Mummy From the Heart has recently taken over the Dear So and So linky, where people write open letters on their blogs and link them up with everyone else who’s joined in. Obviously, this is a big week in terms of British politics and although I’ve been refraining from blogging about it too much up until now, I’ve got a few things I’d like to say…

Dear Voting Public, 

It’s been 5 years since we all had the opportunity to have a say in who’d be running the country and I think the majority of us, if we’re being honest, can all agree that we made a mistake. Against my better judgement, I voted Lib Dem last time, sick of the Blair “New Labour” agenda. There was no way I’d be voting Conservative, but I thought I’d try the other lot for a change. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I, in part, was responsible for the terrible cock-up that has been the last 5 years.

The NHS is in a worse state than ever. More publicly run companies have been privatized. The poorest and most underprivileged amongst us have been hit the hardest, which is absolutely typical of a Tory government and they’re absolutely unapologetic about it, planning even deeper cuts if they get in for a further term.

We have a chance to do something about it. I don’t care if you vote for Labour, Green…The Monster Raving Loony Party if needs be, but I don’t think I can cope with another 5 years of right-wing rule. Do me a favour; do the right thing.

Thanks,

Jayne

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Dear Non-Voters,

GET YOUR ARSES TO A POLLING STATION. There is absolutely NO excuse for you to not vote and your apathy is what left us with the wishy-washy coalition last time. People have LITERALLY died for your right to vote and for you ignore your obligation just because you “can’t be bothered” is disgusting. Not knowing who to vote for is also not an excuse – if you can read, you can have a look at the manifestos. Decide which one speaks to you the most and VOTE FOR THAT PERSON.

Yours,

Annoyed of Southend

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Dear Ed Milliband, 

Please don’t let me down. I have great faith in you, I respect your policies and feel that you’d be the best thing for our country at the moment. I know your hands will be tied and that not everything you’ve pledged to do will be possible within five years. I know there’s red tape to get through. I know there’s a room full of ancient, out of touch Lords who have to have their say before things get done. 

You have a huge opportunity to change the way this country is run and to undo all of the damage that’s been done by The Coalition. You have the opportunity to reduce the burden on the millions of families who are overstretched and underpaid. You have the opportunity to restore some dignity and peace of mind to the disabled people of Britain who’ve been forced back into work despite obvious unsuitability. You have the opportunity to make Britain great again by restoring the socialist values which have underpinned much of our society and stop us from rolling headlong into the consumer, capitalist driven heartlessness which has reared its ugly head. 

I have faith in you. Don’t let me down. 

Yours Faithfully, 

Hopeful of Southend.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear UKIP voters,

I have to admit, you’ve unsettled me. I’m genuinely scared of the momentum that UKIP has gained in recent years and feel hugely disheartened by the thought of raising my daughters in a country which is being governed by a party who bases its policies on fear and hatred. If you’ve a modicum of intelligence and the ability to Google, you can quite easily see that the vast majority of the statistics they use for their scare tactics are highly manipulated and inaccurate.

I know that many of you felt that a vote for UKIP was a protest vote against the “main three”, but please, consider a vote for Green or someone else as your protest, if you’re that way inclined. Even spoiling your ballot would be better, just make sure you get yourself to a polling station and refuse to be manipulated into thinking that “immigrants are the enemy”.

Yours in hope,

Concerned of Southend.

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Do you have an open letter you’d like to write? Please link up with Dear So and So… over at Mummy From the Heart and also read the rest of the posts over there. 

Hospital Beauty Essentials

The title of this post may seem like a total oxymoron; ‘beauty’ is really the last thing on my mind at the moment, but by pure chance I happen to have packed a few things in my bag which have, unknowingly, been an absolute godsend over the past two days.

I’m really the LAST person to take beauty advice from – my lack of regime is a laughable combination of apathy, forgetfulness and lack of time, but sometimes being in hospital, and so far out of your comfort zone, requires a bit of extra effort.

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

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I don’t know if its all hospitals, or just the one I’m in, but the ward is ridiculously warm. I’m a proper chilly-arse and I slept (albeit for only 2 hours last night) without a single cover over me. The upshot  of this is that the atmosphere can be very drying and the first place which suffers is my lips. I adore Burt’s Bees, with its slightly menthol tang and honey-infused softness and I’ve been applying it liberally to stop cracked lips.

Boots No. 7 Cream Cleanser

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I actually have pretty complicated skin which dries out in places if I use anything too harsh, but can be prone to spots if I use nothing at all and No. 7 Cream Cleanser seems to be a happy medium. Its moisturising enough to be soothing on this dry ward and still leaves me feeling clean and revitalised.

Hair Bands and Bobby Pins

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My poor husband despairs of my love affair with the humble bobby pin, as I do tend to leave a liberal scattering in my wake where ever I go, which means painful stepping incidents and even an expensive Dyson-damaging occurrence. However, bringing clips and hair bands to hospital is an absolute must if you have medium or long hair as, even if you wear it down 99% of the time, there are bound to be times when you want all of your hair off of your face and neck. Pack spares just in case; even if you don’t use them they’re handy to have.

Moisturiser

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A general purpose moisturiser that you can use on your hands and body is super handy to have, as you’ll probably be washing your hands a lot more and using that super-drying alcohol gel on them about 20 times a day. Be prepared and you won’t end up with cracks and dryness.

Toothpaste

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This may sound like a no-brainer, but lots of people forget their toothpaste. Also, if you’re on nil-by-mouth, often your tongue will feel like the inside of a parrots cage and being able to brush your teeth with something minty and zingy can make you feel 100% more human.

Baby Wipes

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Obviously, most wards have a dedicated bath or shower for patients, but if you’re hooked up to a drip or other machine for more than 24 hours, you might simply not have the opportunity for a proper wash. Never underestimate the power of the ‘Festival Shower’ – a thorough going over of all your bits and pits with a cool baby wipe can really help you to feel better and I often find that a simple thing like being clean and smelling fresher can speed up recovery and give you a mental boost when you’re poorly

Post C-Section Tips

 Post C-Section TipsThe date of my planned c-section is looming fast and I’m already aware of (and very happy about) the fact that this will be a totally different experience to last time. For a start, I’m more than 5 years older and totally not taking for granted what five years worth of ageing can do – I feel very different as an almost 30 year old than I did as a just-turned-24 year old, and I’m aware that this could make the healing process a little different. There’s also the fact that this will be my second c-section and that could well affect my healing time and recovery afterwards.

The biggest difference, though, will be the birth itself and subsequent days. Sausage was in NICU for the first week of her life and I had been sent home, so for those 7 days I was waking, showering, going to the hospital, sitting next to our baby and then going home to do it all again in the afternoon. I must have walked miles of corridor in that first week – a far cry from the ‘as much bed rest and sleep as you can manage’ advice that’s given to most new mothers. Having said that, I actually healed and recovered from my operation pretty quickly and I wonder if my ‘carrying on regardless’ kind of helped?

Anyway, instead of going into the second c-section feeling mystified, I thought I’d ask some of my blogging pals what their best tips were for post c-section recovery, and here’s what they had to say:

Jenny from Mum of One: “Take it slowly. It is easy to forget but it is major abdominal surgery and it will take a good while to recover. Enjoy cuddles in bed with your baby as much as possible those first few weeks.”

Laura from Tired Mummy of Two: “Pillow on your belly for the first time you put a seat belt on!”

Vanessa from HPMCQ: “Do not sneeze!”

Nikki from Stressy Mummy: “Get as much help as you can for the first couple of weeks and don’t lift anything heavier than a kettle”

Stacey from Five’s a Fellowship: “Don’t even thinking about having a bath – take a shower for the first week or so otherwise you’ll find yourself unable to get back out of the tub!”

Kelly from Domestic Goddesque: “Very big pants!”

Cat from Cat’s Yellow Days: “Take it easy but do make sure you still try to keep moving even if it’s just up and down the hall to get a cup of tea. Not getting any exercise at all can leave you feeling even weaker in the long run.”

Rebecca from Here Come the Girls: “Ignore everyone’s requests to show you the scar! On a serious note; write down a list of all the times you have taken pain killers as you’ll forget and you don’t want to do that.”

Jenny from Cheetahs in my Shoes: “If you have SPD and a C-Section it can be worth asking for a walking frame to get you moving again to stop you twisting too much when you mobilise again. It’s not glamorous but can really help”

Sarah from Boo, Roo and Tigger Too: “If you do not have a changing unit downstairs then change babies nappy on a changing mat on the sofa, to save you having to get down to the floor and bend over too far”

Anna from The Imagination Tree: “I’d say take peppermint oil to ease the wind pain as it’s excruciating after a c-s! Wear mega pants up to your belly button- buy granny knickers from primarni rather than the expensive ones made for the purpose. Walk around sooner than you feel able to and it will increase your recovery time massively. Keep all vital baby equipment at standing level. Wear your hubby’s trackie-bots or a nighty as everything hurts around the waist. Phone a doctor the very second there’s redness or swelling in your scar (eesh!) Try not to get mastitis at the same time- you’ll sob and ask for someone to kill you ;-)”

As for me, my own tip would be to invest in a v-pillow or even just a spare, regular pillow to put under your tummy if you sleep on your side; having a bit of extra support while you’re healing can really help with your comfort levels in the first couple of weeks after surgery.

Thanks to all of my lovely friends who’ve contributed their wisdom. If you have any other tips for me, please leave a comment below – knowledge is power and I need all the help I can get!

Changing Our Political Options

It seems appropriate that I should be writing about politics on the day after we heard news about Margaret Thatcher dying, but this is a post I’ve been planning for a while, so the timing is coincidental.

What I want to talk about today are options.

I’ve been old enough to vote for 10 years now, but my political education began at a much younger age. I grew up in a staunchly left-wing family, a family of Trade Unionists, working class people who survived a Conservative regime which promised to ruin them. As far as my family were concerned, the UK wasn’t a two-party democracy as it would have been totally out of the question to vote for anyone but Labour.

As an adult I’ve had the opportunity to vote in two General Elections, one in 2005 and one in 2010. In 2005, I placed a family-influenced vote and helped Tony Blair get a second term as Prime Minister and then watched as the country got handed over to Gordon Brown. The less said about that, the better.

I didn’t place this vote because I knew about Labour’s policies, I placed it because that’s what I’d been taught. My vote automatically went with Labour and anything else was out of the question. I was 21, young, free and single and had no real interest in what was going on in the country, so long as the price of clothes, Benefit mascara and petrol didn’t go up by too much.

The General Election of 2010 met a completely different Jayne. By then, I was 26, a married mother of a two-year-old, renting a house and things like Tax Credits and funding for Education were suddenly a concern for me. I, like MANY people, was sick of the two-horse race and thought that a third party should be given a go, so my vote went to the Lib Dems.

Three years into this coalition Government and I imagine that most Lib Dem voters from 2010 are feeling rather like their fingers got burned. Instead of the Nick Clegg we wanted, we’ve ended up with a snivelling Tory lackey and one of the most shocking attacks on the working classes that we’ve seen in modern times. It’s no surprise, given his systematic dismantelling of public services, that Dave Cam is a huge fan of Maggie. I’ve been left feeling bitterly disillusioned by all concerned.

But here’s what I’ve realised; there ARE other parties.

Until 2010, we hadn’t had a party in power which wasn’t either Labour or Conservative for almost 100 years, which incidentally was another Con/Lib coalition government, but as long as we continue to regard the Big Two and the Main Straggler as the only two and a half parties worth getting our votes, the country will NEVER change. We need to alter the way we think and stop letting ourselves be led up the garden path by people who don’t care about us.

The three main parties have had their chance to prove themselves as worthy leaders, a task at which they seem to have consitently failed over the last few decades, and our cynicism at other parties not having the chops to run the country are quite frankly laughable, given the dross we’re still voting in, election after election.

The Green Party will be getting my vote next time. Having taken the time to give their policies a proper read, I think that they best represent my values and what I want for my family and our future.

This isn’t me telling you do vote for the Green Party, this is me telling you to investigate your options. Voting isn’t just putting a cross in a box, it’s about what is going to happen to us for a minimum of four years, and for me that merits a bit of thought and consideration. I know we’re stuck with the current bumbling halfwits for another two years, but educating yourself now might mean that you don’t walk into a booth in 2015 and just put your cross next to any old primary colour.

I’ve attached a copy of the short version of the Green Party policies below for you to read or download if you want to.

Green Party Manifesto

Silent Sunday – The Democracy Edition

9.17pm – iVillage Post

My newest post is up over at iVllage. Go HERE if you want to have a read.