I feed my baby in public

breastfeedingI am one of those women who breast feed in public. I never got the hang of using a sling to feed my baby and quite frankly I tried putting his head under a blanket once at home…he hated it. Now that his older he may have a different opinion and believe that the blanket is fun to play peek-a-boo with.

I happen to have a healthy level of self respect and none of my family or in-laws have ever mentioned having a problem with me feeding my child around them. In fact my family encouraged me to breastfeed with them around.

If I needed to slink off into the shadows to feed my child I doubt that I would have continued breastfeeding as long as I have.

There was an interesting kerfuffle on Facebook the other day about breastfeeding in public and the main arguments were:

  • breastfeeding in public is the same as having a bowel movement in public
  • breastfeeding in public is the same as having sex in public
  • breasts are sexual and therefore breastfeeding is sexual
  • it makes some people uncomfortable and if mothers do need to breastfeed they should slink off to the bathroom and do it or use a cover

This attack on breastfeeding upset me quite badly, and Riaan gave me a beautiful perspective. He turned around and said that unless the person literally consumes all over their food and liquid either in the bathroom or with their head under a blanket they have no room to talk.

And it all fell into place for me, I breastfeed in public because I eat and drink in public and don’t see why things should be any different for my child.

Love and controversy,


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I am still here

Trigger warning: Suicide

This post has been buzzing around in my subconscious for a while now. I finally wrote it after reading Tim Ferris’s post: Some practical thoughts on suicide


Once upon a time, some years ago. I nearly killed myself. Actually, I lie. It was not once upon a time. There were two occasions where I nearly ended my own life. The circumstances around each incident do not matter.

In both cases, the gremlins who live in my mind, had taken comments and twisted them. Some of the words were nasty and ill-meaning. Others were well intentioned but incredibly inconsidered, especially to someone who was battling with depression…obviously but silently. I believed that the world would be a better place without me, that I was stealing oxygen and I was unworthy of life.

In both cases, I was saved. The first time, someone asked me why I was googling “How to kill myself”, and made me promise to stay alive a couple more hours. The next time I read an incredibly personal account that someone had written about their partner’s suicide. That post, seems to have inoculated me.

The thing is, all of the small things that were going on that grew into a big snowball meant that the gremlins caught hold.

I am now aware of them, and I can generally keep them at bay.  I have gotten better at fighting the good fight.

Powerful weapons in my arsenal are the Therapeutic Lifestyle Techniques:

  1. Diet and nutrition
    Eating fresh real food makes a huge difference.
  2. Exercise
    30 minutes of high intensity exercise a day works wonders.
  3. Relaxation and meditation
    Practicing being is challenging but incredibly powerful. A good beginners mantra is to focus on repeating “I am enough” without actually thinking about it.
  4. Recreation and enjoyable activities
    In the depth of a depressive episode this is surprisingly difficult…keep at it.
  5. Relationships
    “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage…”
    – Lao Tzu

    People matter, and depression lies and tries to convince you that no one cares about you. But I promise someone does care, and you never know what a difference your presence will make one day.
  6. Spiritual pursuitsI love Brene Brown’s definition of spirituality in the Gifts of Imperfection, which talks about the fact that spirituality is about recognizing our common humanity, and the fact that we are all in this together.

    “Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.”

  7. Time outdoors and in nature
    I find this one to be the easiest and most effective tool, and is an advantage of living in sunny South Africa and in an area surrounded with trees.
  8. Contribution
    I struggle with this one, my gremlins know that there is power in harnessing the world’s obsession with consumption and material wealth.

The thing about these lifestyle changes is that they are small, and that you don’t need to do them all at once, and it is possible to combine them, talking on the phone while walking outside.

Another thing that has helped me is medication. Psychotherapy has also been wonderful, helping me gain additional tools and perspective.

One of the biggest advantages of having come out of the depression closet is that I am able to ask for help, and say that I am not feeling well. It means that other people can remind me that #depressionlies.

Love and staying alive,

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Now we are ONE

Dear Lucas,

Baby Lucas - 2 days oldA year ago you came into the world on your own terms, after being very patient about a slow labour you decided that you wanted out NOW. And so, in the early hours of a Monday morning you were born via an emergency cesarean section. When you were in Karen’s arms you made the most precious mewing sound and melted your dad and my hearts. You were the most amazing and curious little person from the get go.

We started to count your life in hours, (I whispered happy 24-hours to you while we were still staying at Genesis). This year has been a roller coaster powered by love, chocolate and maxims (“A crying baby is not a dying baby”, and “This too shall pass”).

As we were walking in the garden earlier today I was thinking about how many times I have missed my own mother since you have been born, there are so many things that I would love to hear her opinion on.

We have had innumerable precious moments together, and nearly everyday you will fall asleep cuddled in my arms while you feed.

It seems that you have a favourite author. You love the onomatopoeia of Neil Gaiman’s stories — I can recite Chu’s Day from memory for you — but you prefer to change it up by flicking through to the pages where he nearly sneezes. You laughed with delight when I read Fortunately The Milk to you. I love the magic moments of story time with you.

You have started saying words in between your babbles, and are a constant delight. You constantly watch the world and explore. Yesterday, you figured out how to turn on the bath taps, so I can no longer quickly put you in the bath with some toys while I sort out the laundry.

Lucas - Nearly one!While I start the day in clean clothes, I invariably end up covered in sticky, and I would not have it any other way. It has been an amazing adventure, and I am looking forward to many more years with you.


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Have a new dog by Friday

Hello blog,

So last week Tuesday something happened and I felt terrible. I felt like a complete and utter failure. Echo jumped into the playpen with Lucas and he bumped Lucas on the eye and gave him a shiner.

My knee-jerk reaction was that, that was that for the dogs. We needed to find them a new home STAT. The dogs had hurt my baby. I had failed to protect my baby. I felt so ashamed. I had failed as a human mother, my son had been hurt by one of my animals and this hurt could be serious. What if this happened again? I had failed as an animal mother. I had not managed the situation and my animal was able to hurt my son.

I phoned the Labrador Retriever Club’s Rescue person and just got voicemail. I did not hear anything back for the whole afternoon. I phoned again in the evening, and spoke to a charming lady named Ruth, who referred to me to a dog behaviorist named Samantha Walpole. I phoned her and got through to voicemail. So on Wednesday I phoned Samantha again and this time I got through.

Time and Riaan had calmed me down and I was no longer going straight to the option of rehoming the dogs, and I am very grateful for that.

Samantha came through to our house on Tuesday and had a very thorough consultation with us. I had caught the dreaded incident of Echo jumping into the playpen on video. I had been trying to catch some footage of Lucas being cute to send to my sister. Because of this, we had the advantage of being able to get a behaviorist’s perspective on what had happened, and some strategies to handle things differently in the future.

She also gave us a number 0f practical tips on training the dogs, and helped us do some exercises with them. And, while it is an exaggeration to say that they are new dogs there has been an incredible improvement with them and already this week they have stopped jumping on us and are behaving much more calmly.

Love and optimism,

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