It’s March, so make time for tea!

It’s the first day of March today, which means it’s time to Make Time for Tea for the Eve Appeal. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity raising awareness and funding research in the five gynaecological cancers. It was set up to save women’s lives by promoting research looking at effective methods of risk prediction, earlier detection and developing screening for these women-only cancers.

The Make Time for Tea initiative is part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and is aimed at encouraging women (and men) to open up about ovarian cancer and understand the vital signs and symptoms as early detection is key. A tea party is the perfect opportunity to do just this and also raise funds for and awareness of ovarian cancer.

You could host your own event as a tea party to raise funds by asking for donations, or run a bake sale. The Eve Appeal have free fundraising packs, and the first 500 people to sign up will receive a free fabulous Vintage Apron Pattern from Vogue Patterns!

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer amongst women in the UK and very little has changed for ovarian cancer survival, where so much progress has been made for other health conditions. Over 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and sadly 11 women die every day – the team at the Eve Appeal are determined to change these statistics, but they need your help…

National Portrait Gallery Exhibition

If you are in London, you may be interested in an exhibition of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery – the Taylor Wessing photographic Portrait Prize 2016.

Two of the photos were taken by Katie Barlow, a documentary film-maker who is currently working on a fantastic documentary about not having children which features author and Director of Fertility Fest, Jessica Hepburn, who many of you will be familiar with and Gateway Women’s Jody Day. Katie has spent the last year documenting the refugee crisis, and you can see two of her photos in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition. You can read what Katie wrote about this here  – and the exhibition is definitely worth a visit!

What were you looking for?

I’m endlessly fascinated by the things people put into search engines when they visit my blog. My posts about donor sperm over the summer led to some very odd results – I had no idea people were out there looking for “sperm donor sex stories”…   Today someone has found me by searching for “fertility flogging” – no, I’m afraid I can’t help…

Apologies for my disappearance this week…

I’m back again after a stupid accident where I managed to fall over and land flat on my face – I am not a pretty sight.

I wanted to write a quick post about it though because it taught me a few things:

1.  When you think “Oh goodness, I look dreadful today”, you probably don’t.

2.  Do not walk around with your hands in your pockets, especially if you are prone to tripping over.

3.  Do not assume that London pavements are flat.

4. You can wait an hour or more for an ambulance in London if it isn’t a life-threatening situation. Getting a taxi is probably quicker.

5. People are much kinder than you would imagine. Not just your friends, but strangers too. And even in London!

 

Spam…

I do wish people would stop posting such ridiculous spam in the comments section of this blog.  Strange as it may seem, no one comes to my blog wanting to buy a cheap handbag or pair of shoes or to improve traffic to their website, and I am not going to post your comments about any of these things – even if you try to disguise them by telling me in very peculiar English that this blog has enlightened your day, transformed your thinking or improved your life…   Are there any real people out there??

Does your age affect the type of mother you are?

I’ve just been reading a terribly sad feature written by a woman who got pregnant at 43 and seems to believe that her age is to blame for her failure to connect with her daughter and the fact that she has no desire to spend any time with her.  It isn’t easy reading, particularly for anyone who would absolutely adore to have a child, but the link is here if you want to take a look.

I think it is a great shame that the author has used her own feelings to draw conclusions about offering IVF to women of 40-42, as I find it very hard to believe that age has anything to do with the way she feels – I think she would have had just the same response to being a parent had she been 20 or 30 when she conceived rather than in her early 40s.  In fact, it is often suggested that older women may be good parents precisely because they have more time to devote to their children, and the sweeping generalisation that all older women may feel too set in their ways to accept the changes that motherhood can bring seems to me to be completely wrong.

To then go on to to conclude from this that offering IVF to women in their early forties may not be such a good thing because they are too selfish is just nonsense.  When I interviewed women who’d had children after fertility problems for my book Precious Babies,  it was very clear that whatever age they were, they all relished spending time with the children they’d longed for.

Of course your age makes a difference to the sort of parent you are because your interests and lifestyle tend to be different as you get older – but this can be positive rather than negative, so don’t ever believe that waiting to have a baby is going to make you any less capable as a parent in the future.

Save Lewisham Hospital

I’m hijacking my own blog today to write about something not entirely fertility-related, which I don’t usually do – but this is important.

I went to Lewisham Hospital at the start of my fertility investigations.  It’s a local hospital, serving the local community and has been performing so well that it has been listed as one of the top forty hospitals in the country in recent months. Unfortunately, being a successful hospital hasn’t prevented a proposal being made to shut the hospital’s new A and E department along with the maternity and intensive care units and children’s services.

The idea is that instead of going to a good, local hospital, people living in the area will  have to travel for up to an hour to reach a not very good, not very local hospital.  I once had the misfortune to attend A and E in the not very good hospital we are now expected to travel to.  The staff at the reception desk were rude and unhelpful, I waited for four hours and didn’t ever get seen by a doctor.  It wasn’t an experience I’d want to repeat.

The reason for closing Lewisham is because the not so good hospital is crippled by huge debts.  So you close down the high-performing, good hospital and make everyone go to the debt-ridden not-so-good one instead… Logical, heh?

I know that budgets mean that savings must be made in the NHS – and that some rationalisation is necessary – but I’ve yet to hear a coherent answer as to how this is a rational decision.  Centralising may make sense for some services, but whoever came up with the idea of centralised A and E?  Surely the whole point is that you need to be able to get to an A and E department quickly in an emergency?  Maybe the real hope is that more people will expire before they ever get to the hospital?  Closing Lewisham’s A and E is the kind of lunacy you get when you have decisions made by people who have little understanding of the local area – or the needs of local people – and who can’t think beyond their calculators.

So, if you’re in South East London, come on the march on Saturday and support the campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital – more details at www.savelewishamhospital.com