News - and Views!

A few weeks before Christmas a friend of mine gave birth to a much-wanted baby son. Sadly, her little lad was "born sleeping." While the rest of us were getting ready for the joys of Christmas and the festive season, she and her partner were organising their precious baby's funeral. 

 

Did you know that seventeen women every single day will experience the tragedy of discovering that the lovingly prepared cot in the nursery at home will not be slept in, that the future that beckoned so brightly is not to be. An organisation called The Seventeen is calling for a review into current care systems to reduce pregnancy and infant mortality rates.  I've just signed a petition to call for change - I cannot imagine what it is like to lose a baby, but I do know the joy of giving birth to my own beautiful babies and recent events have made me realise afresh how fortunate I have been. My heart goes out to those seventeen mothers who are suffering a tragic loss today - and tomorrow, and the next day...

 

If you would like to sign the petition too, here is the link:


http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/department-of-health-review-current-care-systems-in-place-in-the-uk-to-reduce-pregnancy-and-infant-mortality-rates?share_id=FTmBEyOdZL&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_

Ever since the news came through about the death of Nelson Mandela, I have been wondering what to write. Every tribute I have read makes me feel humble about even attempting to put my own thoughts into words. In the end I decided to leave it to Mandela. These are his own words which I have had on display in my house for many years - my daughter, Hilary, wrote them out in her beautiful script and had them framed for me. I try my hardest to live up to them.

 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

 

"We were all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

 

Neson Mandela, the man who liberated a nation, who shone as children do, who demonstrated like no other, the power of forgiveness. RIP.

I was just one of many thousands of on-line bloggers, tweeters etc who shared the news about the disappearance of little April Jones last Autumn. We hoped against hope that the power of social media might help, that she would be found, safe and well.

 

It wasn't to be, and yesterday Mark Bridger, a man well-known to the Jones family and someone young April would have trusted, was sentenced to life imprisonment. In this case, life will mean life. For April's family, the agony will never end as they do not know exactly what happened to their darling girl.

 

The court case has brought calls for greater controls on internet pornography, particularly child pornography which Mark Bridger was known to have downloaded. Few rational people would disagree with that - but it drives me to distraction that we seem to be concentrating on efforts to stop people accessing this material but hear little about action to bring to justice the vile people who are abusing children to produce those unspeakable images. Should there not be a concerted, world-wide campaign to track down and prosecute these evil people who steal and destroy the innocence of little ones?  Isn't it better to tackle the cause, as well as the effect?

 

RIP poor little April. Our world has not served you well.

Sir Robert Edwards, who died yesterday aged 87, was the inspirational scientist who, with his colleague Patrick Steptoe, pioneered IVF treatment. Together they brought hope and happiness to millions of women who cried themselves to sleep at night, despairing of ever holding their own baby in their arms. 

 

It was back in July 1978 when the first "test-tube baby" (thank goodness we have dropped that terminology!) was born - Louise Brown who now has the joy of a child of her own. It had not been a quick or easy route to success: Robert Edwards started his work on human conception back in the mid-1950s. He was passionately committed to his search: "Nothing is more special than a child," he is quoted as saying.

 

Today, around 180,000 precious babies are born in Britain every year, thanks to IVF. In the nearly 35 years since Lesley Brown gave birth to her "lovely Louise", more than 5 million IVF babies have been born world-wide. 

 

That's Five Million Thank Yous to Sir Robert Edwards, the man who made it possible for dreams to come true.

I've been pondering on exactly what I should write about the death of Margaret Thatcher yesterday at the age of 87.

 

I know, on a smaller, far less grandiose, stage, just how hard it is for a woman to make it to the top in a determinedly male world. But Maggie Thatcher did it - the first woman to become Prime Minister of Great Britain. For which I can only applaud her determination, grit and spirit. I just wish she had used her experience to encourage more women to achieve their potential in politics but there was very little, if any, evidence of this. I think she may actually have set the cause of women in politics back quite a lot.

 

Some say that she changed our country for the better by standing up to the Unions. Others say that all that is selfish and self-seeking about our country today started with her.  I just think that when people talk of her battle with the Unions they are talking of the Big Players in that war, forgetting about the little people who suffered - not just the miners but others, like the print workers, my husband among them. 

 

I can't agree with those who talk of celebrating her death, of dancing on her grave. She wasn't a Hitler or a Stalin. No millions of people died of famine or torture or the gas-chamber because of her. Please let us have a sense of proportion.  Her government's policies catapulted our family (and many, many others) into one of our most difficult and testing periods but she is dead, at a grand age, and I respect the right of her family and friends to mourn her passing.

 

The i (20p and my newspaper of choice these days) was the only paper which really got it right today with its headline: "Thatcher - as divisive in death as she was in life." You only have to scan through the comments on Facebook and Twitter to see the truth of that.

 

I always think history will be the final arbiter. But history may have a hard job on its hands when it comes to reporting fairly, honestly and accurately on the life and times of the Iron Lady.

Latest comments

15.05 | 10:05

Who are you?!

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15.05 | 05:23

Hi Karen Reid,
I'm helping my Aunt with her family tree please email me so we can talk Further: lol-emma@live.com.au. as I'm needing a lot of help

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01.01 | 01:17

Penguins forever.

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23.12 | 08:22

Wonderful as usual.
Happy Xmas Health and happiness for the new year Cx

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