This week, a news story hit that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has begun to use a robot for educating their students on the physical elements of childbirth. The news video included some (debatably creepy looking) footage of the robot in practice. Lucina, Ireland’s only “birthing mannequin”, has been purchased for €75,000 to benefit the surgical education of the future doctors taught in RCSI. The reaction to this news story has been mixed, to say the least. Some are horrified at the idea of a robot being used to teach doctors how to work in a childbirth setting. Others find it a genius idea which will likely improve outcomes for future patients as the educational tool will prove beneficial to the doctors in their training. So, what exactly is the reasoning behind the robot, what is it likely to teach that our current system doesn’t have, and is it all a bit of space age nonsense?
Ahead of the March for Choice next week in Dublin, there was a Repeal Not Replace demonstration in Cork City on Saturday 23rd September. I was asked by the organisers to be one of the speakers at this event. Initially I was hesitant to speak, feeling like my story wasn’t as relevant of that of many of the women who have suffered greatly under the 8th Amendment to our constitution. However, on reflection, I realised that as a woman who has gone through pregnancy in Ireland, I do have my experiences of maternity care under the 8th to speak about. The 8th Amendment is about so much more than abortion and it’s availability in our state, and I hope that I got that across in my speech. Here’s the full text of the speech, I’d love to hear what you think.
Another day, another horrific tale in the news. It’s unfortunately part of life in Ireland in 2017. In the last few years, the topics of mental health and the 8th amendment have been in the news seperately and together, but yesterday’s news had something different. The Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland reported on a case from the Child Care Law Report Project which took place in 2016, and opened our eyes to fresh horror.
We all have little memory trinkets that we want to keep. Some people keep baby books, others keep shoeboxes full of memories. In the modern era, there are entire apps and computer programmes dedicated to a technological way of keeping your precious memories safe. Sometimes however, old school is the best way. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that theres a book, an album, to rifle through for the nostalgia. As parents, we want to keep the memories safe. We make sure that our children (and theirs) will be able to look back and see their childhood. What is the best way to preserve these memories?
The news came to the fore yesterday that the new National Maternity Hospital was to be placed under the ownership of the Sisters of Charity. The Sisters of Charity is a religious group who in the past were one of the groups who ran the Magdalene Asylums. Under their watch, terrible abuses were carried out on mothers and children alike. In State redress schemes since the news broke of what went on inside these Mother and Baby Homes, the Sisters of Charity have neglected to pay their fair share. In 2013 the Sisters of Charity, along with the three other religious congregations which managed Magdalene laundries, announced that they would not be making any contribution to the State redress scheme for women who had been in the laundries. The Sisters of Charity were involved in five industrial schools – including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s, Kilkenny and Madonna House in Dublin. They were party to a €128m redress scheme with the State in 2002 for child abuse which took place. According to a December 2016 report from the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Sisters of Charity offered €5m towards the redress scheme – but have only paid €2m. They are currently in debt to the state, and the victims as a result, to the tune of 3 million. So, gifting them a hospital sounds par for the course, right? Only in Ireland.
My heart is sore. I’ve just finished listening to an incredibly brave woman, Siobhan Whelan, talk about her pregnancy in an interview on Prime Time. Prime Time never gets the good news stories from maternity wards, and this interview was no different. Siobhan, who was pregnant at the same time as I was in 2013/2014, was treated in Cavan General Hospital. This hospital has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, home to numerous tragedies caused by medical misadventure. Pregnant women have entered and left empty handed, mourning the loss of their babies, believing in many cases that it was their fault. This isn’t the first Prime Time interview I’ve watched with women who were treated there, not the first I’ve welled up to. It draws little surprise, even though the topic is heart-wrenching. The lack of shock about the conditions is what hurts my heart most of all. It’s not exactly the only example of pregnant women losing their voices in the course of pregnancy as far as the medical profession is concerned. Bodily autonomy isn’t something afforded to those with child here.
This week’s Mental Health Monday piece is from my archives – not my personal story, but a piece I wrote in conjunction with others for a magazine piece. It was eye opening for me to learn about prenatal depression and to speak to Madge and Rosey who have experience in the area. It’s something that is so rarely spoken about, which can lead to more feelings of isolation in pregnancy with women who do suffer with it. Hopefully you’ll find it insightful and a useful read.
The day you find out youâ€™re pregnant is a life-changing day. Whether it is your first or your fourth, a planned new addition or an unexpected surprise, when that test changes to a positive sign, your heart will race and everything changes. For some it is a moment of absolute bliss, but for others, it can take a while for the news to sink in and to process whether or not this is a good thing. The image of a panicked woman and a pregnancy test in hand is not just reserved for the teenager terrified to tell her parents â€“ even when youâ€™ve got your life sorted out, that positive test can rock you to your core and make you think about what you really want in your life.
I’ve written before on here about my C-Section, about being a caesarean section mother and about the opinions others may have on the topic. However, looking over my C-Section story which I’d put up here the other night I realised that I’d left a lot of the details up. That piece was initially published as an interview for a different website and so it wasn’t fully fleshed out. So, I got to thinking, and now have the full 35 hour long ordeal of fun which ended one era and started another. Since April is Caesarean Awareness month in the UK, I thought it was a good time to share my experience.
When I was in hospital just about to give birth to Eliott (a day or two before the induction); my oldest friend Siobhán, who had seen me through every big and small life event since we were six, came to visit me. With her were two washing baskets, decorated and filled to the brim with goodies, baby necessities and gorgeous baby clothes – the perfect new baby basket. She had literally thought of everything. It was definitely one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received, and something I would love to replicate. As it happens, a rather awesome blogger friend of mine, the lovely Suzy from The Airing Cupboard, is expecting a little boy in the next few weeks, and as I understand that having a baby isn’t just a time to focus on the baby but also the new Mama, I’ve decided to throw together something similar; a little baby basket, a hamper of joy, love and Mammy treats.
So unless you’ve been living under a rock, yesterday the English royal family welcomed a new baby, a little girl, and the media attention stopped focusing on when Kate was going to drop the baby, and started on what she was going to name her. There are bookies filling up with odds on different names, from the traditional to the not so traditional (I’m not sure Daenerys Windsor will quite work out so well). Twitter feeds are wall to wall royal baby. I must admit, I’m a bit curious myself. A name is interesting; its rarely just a passing whim when you’re imposing it on your child for life. So what is involved in name selection? It’s really not as easy as some people make it look…Read More