I imagined myself pregnant, felt tiny fingers in mine, I dreamed about babies | Sally-Ann Rowland

08/09/2017 Sally-Ann Rowland 0

Attempting motherhood has been the most profound experience of my life. My longing coated everything I saw

I ran into attempted motherhood like a wall and it grew to become the worst period of my life. Eventually, a garden of possibility broke through the mound of crap and enabled me to like the unexpected life I am now living.

I was 35 and charmingly, newly in love. With this shiny affair returned my dreams of parenthood. The sword of Damocles of my 40th birthday was just far enough away for me to build an idyllic mental castle: there was me, together with my new beau, and two beautiful children, with the various accoutrements of a comfortable life, including a nice home, close friendships, lots of sex and laughs, satisfying employment, enough money, rah rah rah.

Related: Women aren’t meant to talk about miscarriage. But I’ve never been able to keep a secret

Everyone seemed to be pregnant everywhere.

I poured my broken heart into reviewing the masses of material on donor IVF.

Related: After three miscarriages, I’m becoming jealous and resentful of my pregnant friends

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No prosecution risk for Northern Ireland medical staff over abortion referrals

07/09/2017 Amelia Gentleman 0

Medical professionals told they will not face prosecution if they refer women to clinics in England and Wales for abortions

Medical staff in Northern Ireland have been told they will not face prosecution if they refer women to clinics in England and Wales for abortions, a development that campaigners say will ease the climate of fear under which many have been operating.

In a significant clarification of the law, the director of public prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Barra McGrory, has said he does “not see the issue of criminal liability arising in the context of NHS staff advising or informing patients of the availability of abortion services in England and Wales”.

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Prunella Briance obituary

22/08/2017 Joanna Moorhead 0

Founder of the National Childbirth Trust who was an indefatigable defender of the rights of women to information around birth

The National Childbirth Trust began with two births: one an easy delivery for an unnamed young girl in the East End of London around a century ago, and the other a stillbirth for a woman called Prunella Briance, several decades later. The two mothers never met, but their stories were connected by a doctor whose inspiration led Briance, who has died aged 91, to found the NCT.

He was Grantly Dick-Read, a GP from Suffolk, who became committed to helping women make childbirth an easier and more fulfilling experience. Shortly before the outbreak of the first world war, as a young doctor, he attended a birth in an impoverished area of the East End. The young woman was offered pain relief, but refused. The child was born safely, and afterwards Dick-Read asked the mother why she hadn’t wanted drugs. “It didn’t hurt,” the woman replied. “It wasn’t meant to, was it, doctor?”

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The Guardian view on vaginal mesh implants: trust data and patients | Editorial

16/08/2017 Editorial 0

The devices have benefited a large number of women – but thousands have suffered serious adverse effects

The numbers tell their own tale. Thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed after suffering complications. Around one in 15 of those fitted with the most common type of mesh have required operations, according to NHS data obtained by the Guardian. In short, the problems are much more widespread than previously acknowledged. The removal rate was previously estimated at less than 1%.

But numbers are not enough. Each case is a woman with a disturbing story; and listening is as important as tallying them. Carolyn Churchill had to give up work after she was left in agony, with persistent bleeding. Yet she said she was made to feel like a baby for complaining. Others describe being left unable to walk or have sex – and of being assured that the implant was not responsible. So even this data under-represents the problem. Women may not be referred for removal, or may decide against it given the risks.

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The Observer view on best medical practice for pregnant women | Observer editorial

13/08/2017 Observer leader 0

The ideal birth is the one that is safest for mother and baby

The announcement by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) on Saturday that it will finally abandon its “normal birth” campaign is overdue but welcome. By promoting “normal” over medical births, the campaign has for too long dangerously implied that a non-medical birth is superior to one in which doctors are involved. Given that we have had firm evidence for more than two years that, in the very worst cases, normal birth ideology has contributed to the tragic and unnecessary deaths of women and babies, the only question is why it has taken the RCM so long to act.

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Why I wrote a comedy show about incontinence | Elaine Miller

10/08/2017 Elaine Miller 0

As a physiotherapist, I know a third of women don’t have reliable body control. I wanted to raise awareness of this taboo subject at Edinburgh festival

I’m a physiotherapist, and as a fresh-faced graduate, my ambition was to work in elite sports. I did it, too, thriving on team spirit, travel and free trainers.

Then I had three babies in four years, each blessed with a bigger head than the one before. A dramatic sneeze during a zumba class showed me (and everyone there) that my pelvic floor had been reduced to rubble. In that excruciating instant, I realised that what really mattered was not being able to jump a tiny bit farther, or run a bit faster than others, but, being able to jump and run without wet pants.

Related: Ed Patrick is a junior doctor who’s finding the funny side | Sarah Johnson

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