There are so many things that the books don’t tell you about when it comes to having a baby. That it will throw up on you pretty much everyday – never read that. The amount of washing you have to do will treble even though there is only one extra person in the house – never read that.
And then there was the half advice, where they told you what to do but not why. For example ‘Do your pelvic floor exercises as often as you can’ should have been ‘Do your pelvic floor exercises every time you inhale because if you don’t your uterus may try to fall out of your arse after birth.’
If you’re a man and you’re still with us WELL DONE. You are a real man and more attractive than those other weeds who clicked away having read the first few lines. Keep going!
And then there is the stuff that never gets said. The dark side of having a baby. For example half of your friends will have a hernia in the next 5 years. Mine was a double hernia!! Or that having pushed something the size of a melon out through a hole the size of a pinhead your periods will be worse than they were before and you’re about to become peri-menopausal.
Of course most of us have stuff to deal with the horrendous periods, like a house and our own toilet as well as more equipment that we honestly really need to bring up a child. We can go to the doctors for the Mirena Coil or we can raid Wilko for taxable sanitary items. We can snuggle up in our PJs infront of Midsomer Murders with a blanket, Maltesers and a whole bottle of Gin and get through it.
But imagine if you were homeless. How would you deal with it then?
The homeless shelters in this country can, and do, give out free condoms to the homeless but they can’t help homeless women with their sanitary protection. Instead homeless women have to find a rag and fold it up as a towel. They generally don’t have access to a washing machine for that rag first. Periods can make a woman feel lousy at the best of times, but at the worst of times…..?
Two women really inspired me last week and made me think about how I want my version of 2017 to pan out .
Firstly, The Queen. Of course I was a bit tipsy when I watched the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day but I was curious to know what she’d say after such a turbulent year. She acknowledged that many of us feel helpless to stop the worlds events. That we as individuals can’t end the war in Syria for example. But there is something we can do. She quoted Mother Theresa, and encouraged us all to carry out small acts of kindness with great love.
After all, the anti-dote to hate is love. Perhaps 2017 should be the year that we flood the world with it.
And the other woman is an old school friend, Jennie. She posted on Facebook…
So I tried to do a nice thing at work. I asked for a donation of sanitary products to give to homeless women and my request was denied with no explanation even though it met all the criteria and the people making this decision include a Christian and a gay man (a quarter of homeless youth on our streets are lgbt). Instead of making a fuss I decided to go a different route and ask if I could put a donation box in the staff room which I was granted. I am thankful to say that I had some really positive comments from some people and donations. Unfortunately there were also some very upsetting comments overheard and actions such as somebody putting a newspaper in the display, moving my display from a very discreet corner of the staff room to chucked on the floor and the catalyst for this post was some genius spell checking my display which I was fully aware was spelled wrong but was an exact quote from a homeless woman.
Of course Facebook responded. We all told her what we thought of the stupid Grammar police (there’s a time and a place for that sort of thing) and offers of help came in. Today I saw a fantastic picture of her, lying on her bed, surrounded by sanitary towels! They were donated by her friends.
Far from degrading her efforts as the bigots tried to do they actually spurred her on and the homeless people in Nuneaton now have quite the supply.
A small act of kindness carried out with great love, inspiring love from others and obliterating the haters.
More more more!
Jennie gave the sanitary products to her local foodbank. We can do that too, and indeed our local Foodbank is screaming out for them. The location of the Kingston Foodbank is here.
One of the comments from Jennie’s post led me to this website – #thehomelessperiod. They are lobbying parliament and big businesses for a national change in policy but also supporting small projects helping to collect sanitary products and deposit them at the foodbanks. They have a current petition asking Procter and Gamble to donate some of their products in line with their stated corporate policy. If you’d like to help then click here to see their web page (and it is just one page!)
Last year will be remembered in the history books for all the wrong reasons. The upheaval created from the events of 2016 will continue into this I have no doubt, and we can’t change that. We cannot be in control of these events. However what we can be in control of is how we as individuals act in the face of that upheaval. It might not seem like much to make one persons life a bit easier, but if millions of us do it then millions of people will have their lives made a little bit easier which will mean the world is full of a bit more love and a little less hate. I can’t think of a better way to start the year.
Happy New Year to you all. Let’s actually make this one happy!!!
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.