Tag Archives: women

I’m not judging.

I love twitter for many reasons, but some days it can be vile, and today was one of those days. People rushing to say ‘I told you so’, so gleeful and smug that they ‘knew’ something wasn’t adding up, that they had quite forgotten this isn’t a game of Cluedo, but actual real life for someone, for a family, for a neighbourhood.

After the shock, the rush of judgement. At this stage I understand that Mikaeel’s mother has been detained by police; she has not been charged or found guilty of anything.  Still they are baying for blood, the lions are pacing, salivating, impatiently awaiting the moment when they will have their victim tossed into their den to be torn from limb to limb, to the accompaniment of roaring crowds.

I don’t know what happened to that poor little boy. But I’m not judging his mother now, and what’s more, I still won’t be standing in judgement if it turns out that he died at her hands.

I might, once, have been inclined to join in with the chorus of incomprehension, of condemnation, of complete and utter conviction that I wouldn’t be able to kill someone whatever the circumstances, and never, ever a child. I think for many years that was my reaction whenever I heard of the occasional sad cases that were paraded across the media.

But then something happened to me. After my third baby, I began to lose the ability to cope, and it didn’t come back in a few weeks, like it did with the bigger two. Instead I just carried on spiralling slowly downwards. Luckily my mum lives nearby and was great at taking the baby off to give me some space and time – which I wisely used to run around manically trying to get on top of all the chores, rather than doing something really sensible, like catching up on sleep. Despite this help, I was exhausted, dealing with constant vomit during the day and constant feeding from a hungry baby during the night – reflux is no joke, let me tell you. And of course keeping a bright brave face for the school run ‘Oh yes, we’re doing great, thanks, yes, busy as ever, yes, gosh, must run, oh coffee would be lovely sometime but I’m just so stacked at the moment’ roughly translated as ‘I can’t smile for much longer, please just let me go home, no I’m not doing coffee with you because that’d mean I have to keep it together for 45 mins and that’s sure as hell something I haven’t done for a while’.

I thought I was just tired and it would all get better when I could just get some sleep. I remember clearly when I realised it wasn’t going to get better, sleep or no sleep. My youngest was 2 by this time. TWO – I can’t believe now, looking back, that this was my normal for so long. I heard on the news about a desperately sad case of a mother killing her child. And, instead of my gut reaction being one of incomprehension, it was something different. It was fear. Fear because right at that moment, I could sort of see the path that this mother had taken. I could see how someone could become so desperate, so unable to cope, so far away from themselves, that they would do the most horrendous thing imaginable. I don’t mean by this that I was ever in danger of doing something awful. But it was terrifying to realise that I could understand someone else’s danger.

I went to the doctor at that point. Well, not quite at that point – it took a crisis about which I am not yet ready to write to finally get me there. But I went, and thank god I have a lovely, sensible GP, and a supportive health visitor, and that massive, comforting NHS safety net which immediately did its stuff. I’m lucky.  My skirmish with the post natal black dog was relatively mild compared to what some people go through, and once it was identified and treated, life did, over time, return to how it was before.

But one thing hasn’t returned to how it was before. And that is this – I cannot bring myself to stand in judgement. I cannot join in with the chorus. I don’t know what happened in Scotland. But I do know how easy it is to deny – and to hide – mental illness. I have caught a glimpse – thankfully, only a glimpse, of what it is like to be so far away from coping, so far away from yourself, that you cannot rationalise anything, anyhow.

I can’t imagine why a mother would kill her child. But I equally can’t imagine that a sane woman would kill her child.

And that is why I’m not judging.



On the #MWDD13 homework


Homework? I wasn’t expecting that – but there it is…use the lunch break not only for inhaling the cakes (lovely, by the way!) but also for doing a snippet on someone or something at #MWDD13.

So I grabbed Laura – here she is! Laura is the brains behind Political Style,  and gave a fab talk this morning on how to get your blog out there, ‘reaching the USA from Cardiff Bay’. And, since I’m new to this blogging lark, I took the opportunity to ask her some questions – for most of the talented ladies at Mostly Women Doing Digital they will be very basic questions – but they might be useful for anyone considering blogging, so here they are – somewhat paraphrased, sorry Laura!

Q Do you think you have to have an extremely specific topic, to make a successful blog? (I have been wondering about this because already, my young blog seems to leap around a lot between topics…)

A Not necessarily. Political Style is quite niche, and that’s one of the reasons that it has been picked up by other blogs (including the famous Mrs O, no less!) But, you can offer regular features or topics on say a weekly or biweekly basis, which help it to hang together, and give readers something to remember to come back for.

Q How do you manage your blog alongside full time work?

A I tend to research and write posts on the weekend, when I have more time, and then schedule them for the week ahead. That way if other stuff comes up, I don’t have to be worrying about missing out a day or so – because posts are scheduled to go out in any case.

Q What’s the blog etiquette on linking to other blogs? Should you ask them first?

A People will usually be happy to have links so there’s no real need to ask them beforehand, though I often email them to give them a heads up that I’ve mentioned them. With blogrolls, the way to get featured on other people’s rolls is to email them and ask if they will feature yours, in exchange for you including theirs – and this can be a great way to generate traffic – for instance I am quite proud of the fact I am one of just three blogs featured on Mrs O.

Q Should you/do you tweet every post?

A I don’t tweet every post – if it’s a ‘filler’ post for example, then I don’t tend to tweet it. If it is more of an article than a post, eg my post on Sheryl Sandberg’s book, then I’ll tweet it and often I’ll @message anyone mentioned too.

Q Any other advice?

A Bloggers are mostly helpful people! If you admire a blogger, get in touch – they’ll probably be happy to share advice and tips.

Laura, thank you for chatting to me – and for being my #MWDD13 homework!

On Mostly Women Doing Digital

I’m really excited – and more than a little nervous today – because, despite the odds, I’m on my way to Mostly Women Doing Digital.

Excited because I am sure I am going to learn shedloads!! As you’d expect, I’m particularly interested in Kids And Our Digital Future by Sangeet Bhullar, and DIY Blog/Site SetUp And Design by Philippa Davies . I’m also hoping to learn some lessons which will be useful in my professional life from Public Life, Big Numbers and Social Media by  Helen Reynolds. And as my current contract is due to end in June, I’ll definitely be taking notes on How The Web Gave Me A Job , by Esther Nagle.

Nervous, because though I *think* I used to be quite sharp, I’m pretty sure my mental agility and capacity have been diminished somewhat by having kids. I’ve heard tell that you get it back eventually – well, I’ll keep you informed of any progress, but don’t hold your breath! Added to that, I am not great at events where I don’t know anyone. My lovely friend Tanya from BeachLifeEtc was planning to come along – so I was kind of planning to hide behind her sparkly confidence for the day. But she has been up all night dealing with poorly kids, bless her.

It totally crossed my mind to bail too, when I received Tan’s message. But – and I am quite proud of myself for this – I didn’t – I have taken myself in my hands (is that even a saying?) and I am on the train, caffeine fuelled, as we speak. Here goes! Wish me luck, I’ll let you know how I get on!