Sunday Seven: Things a Mum does that you might not recognise

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Here in the UK it’s mothers day! Now I’ve been incredibly lucky and won the luck or the draw with my Mum. She’s been absolutely incredible throughout every up and down in my life. I know I’ve probably added a few grey hairs to her head (sorry Mum!). There are a lot of things that Mum’s do for most of us don’t really think about. Here’s to all the Mum’s and everything you do for us.

They have literally wiped our butts. 

Yup, before we could do anything our Mum’s had to be there for absolutely everything, including keeping us clean.

They’ve cleaned up after us. 

Speaking of cleaning, our Mum’s have cleaned up after us. I know mine did! Even when we probably should have known better, they still cleaned up after us.

They taught us right from wrong. 

Someone tells you you’re polite? Someone compliments you? Chances are it has something to do with what your mumma taught you.

They didn’t give up on us. 

I know that I’ve been in places where I’ve given up on myself , but my Mum never did.

They also told us when we were wrong. 

My Mum definitely isn’t afraid to tell me when I’m wrong or when I’m being stupid, it’s definitely needed.

They fed us and kept us alive. 

And I’m not just talking about when we’re babies, Mum’s frozen dinners really made a difference when I was at uni.

They loved us unconditionally. 

Even when we were little monsters, they loved us, all day, every day.

Happy Mother’s Day <3

Book Review: Dear Thing – Julie Cohen

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How could one selfless act make you feel like a monster?

One baby. Two mothers.

Dear Thing…

It’s not every day that your best friend offers to carry a child for you, a dream that looked like it would never come true. This is the case for Ben and Romily, friends since university and inseparable. In the midst of another miscarriage for Ben’s wife Claire, Romily offers to carry a baby for them and to donate her eggs. While at first all goes to plan and runs smoothly it isn’t long until Romily’s feelings develop into something more. While carrying the child of the man she has loved for years she starts to dream of the impossible…keeping a baby that she knows isn’t hers to keep.

I loved the fact that this novel is bold in the face of a tricky subject as well as being believable. A lot of the time novels about surrogacy are quite fluffy and don’t have the complications that Dear Thing has. The relationships are real to us because frankly it could happen to anyone, Romily is sure that the reason she is doing this is because she wants to help her friend after everything he’s done for her. We know she’s battling with her feelings and so does she but I find the character to have remarkable strength and she becomes so real to us because she’s honest. Cohen has done an incredible job of breaking taboos, breaking this image of a ‘natural mother’. Romily does a great job in her own non-conventional way but so does Claire, Cohen highlights a mothers struggles, triumphs and the thoughts most won’t speak out loud.

I’ll admit the character of Jarvis threw me a little and to some seems like a plot device but I liked him. I feel like without a new character and relationship dynamic the novel could have quickly got boring and left the characters weak. On that subject I have to say that Posie is my absolute favourite character because there is nothing like the honesty of a child that always listens. What Cohen has done so well with these relationships the way the characters relate to each other, this isn’t a novel full of happy endings and rainbows, there are times when you feel deep sadness for them or even happiness.

This novel is one that makes you think, not judge, a rare thing in these types of literature. You know what makes sense but reading through you begin to question and in a sense live through the situation and it’s not all black and white, there are a million shades of grey and just as many ways the novel could end…you’ll have to pick up a copy to find out though!

I’m giving this novel 5 stars *****! I absolutely loved it. While it’s thought provoking it’s not too intense on the ready the pace is gentle and fairly steady meaning that if you have a tonne to do (which I did when I was reading it) there are places you can stop, although I warn you, you won’t want to! This is an incredibly well-crafted novel, thoughtful, realistic and bold, go grab a copy now before her next novel, Falling, is released next month.

 

Review by Chloe Metzger

Book Review: The Baby- Lisa Drakeford

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1 party, 5 friends, 1 unexpected guest.

Imagine you’re in the middle of your 17th birthday party, drinks are flowing and your having a great time when you realise you haven’t seen your best friend in a while. You’re not ready for what you find. Your friend is on your bathroom floor about to give birth to a baby you know nothing about, and apparently neither did she. Olivia’s head is spinning as she has to help her best friend Nicola deliver the baby. Little does she know this baby will blow their friendship group apart. This is the start of Lisa Drakeford’s novel The Baby. The book is divided into five sections, one for each of the main characters Olivia,  her best friend Nicola, her controlling boyfriend Jonty, her gay friend Ben and her little sister Alice. We see the aftermath through each of their eyes, but all isn’t as it seems.

I’m always interested in books that focus on teenage parents and have been for as long as I can remember. As someone who stood by their best friend as they had a child at the age of 17, I was intrigued to see what Drakeford would do with her characters. It’s easy to assume that a child changes things, but I feel like there was almost too many issues with the characters and not enough novel. There are complex relationships within the group, Olivia is struggling in a controlling relationship with Jonty, Jonty hates Ben for his closeness to Olivia. The only character that isn’t involved with the group, but in my opinion has the best chapter, is Olivia’s sister Alice. Alice has no friends of her own but observes everything around her and loves helping out with Nicola’s baby at any given moment. She’s just the strange little sister but through her eyes you see more than through any other, she was my favourite character by far. As for Olivia, I felt like she was a kind of punch bag throughout the whole story and I really struggled to like her. I would have like to have seen more of Nicola and how she copes with her daughter and more of Jonty’s backstory, that was something I really enjoyed and made him a much more relatable character.

There is a big twist towards the end of the novel, which I couldn’t stand. It kind of derails the entire plot up to that point and then adds a real question mark to the end of the novel. After reading 200 pages I was beyond angry and frustrated at the twist, I’m pretty sure it’s a love or hate scenario, there will definitely be people who recommend the book to their friend on the basis of the ending, although I’m not a fan.

I’m giving this book two stars **. I really wanted to enjoy it but there really are too many issues in one short book for me to enjoy. I think that the biggest reason for my low rating is the twist at the end, it kind of ruined it for me. It isn’t that I completely loved the book throughout, but I did struggle with having positive feelings about it at the end.

Review by Chloe Metzger

A quarter life crisis (five years early) – growing up, meltdowns and questions.

Sometimes I am sure that I’m actually still a sixteen year old trapped in a twenty year olds body. It’s my annual crisis, you know the one I mean don’t you? The whole, what am I doing with my life, am I behind? Look at what my friends are doing while I’m stuck at home. Yup all that came today. I’ve said it once I’ll say it again, the pictures of people’s kids, engagement rings and weddings make me break out into a cold sweat, I don’t feel ready for this stuff!

I get so worried about what I should be doing that I freak out. Never mind the fact that I’m not keen on having a small person around right now, would probably burst out laughing if I got proposed to and am too broke/ addicted to expensive things to get married. Yup, that pile of books get in my amazon cart, a sale on handbags well it would be rude not to look and as for Topshop? Well I’m like a bloody magpie.

So I sat this afternoon, like many hormonal girls before me, in my PJs, my hair atrocious with chocolate in one hand and a coming of age book in the other (book of choice this time Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman) sobbing my little heart out. I had a bit of a fit at Ali, locked myself in the bedroom and let it all out. I cried because I don’t feel like a grown up, I have no idea whatsoever about grown up things like marriage and mortgages and I don’t have a life plan. Yup, yup, yup feeling sorry for myself and a little bit of self indulgence.

I get told that it’s perfectly normal to have days where you completely lose your shit and feel like a child again. There are days when I want to crawl up into my Mum’s lap and let her tell me it’s going to be ok. Well, nowadays I have to settle with cuddling up to Ali while he does the same thing and assures me that doing badly on that one assignment will not balls up my entire life or a phone call to my Mum about what job I’m going to go into.

You can probably guess that I’ve calmed down now, had some good old comfort food and vented to my Mum. I guess I’m writing because it should be something we can talk to each other about, all us 20 somethings who really feel like everyone else has their shit together and you’re clutching at straws. So I’m allowed to feel a little lost and scared that two of my best friends are moving across the world and another is getting a real proper job with proper (not student loan) money. I’m allowed to get a little freaked out that it’s my last year of undergrad and the next few years are going to be grown up and scary because, well, that’s what you’re 20s are for right?

So I’m sorry to everyone who’s waiting for any big announcements from me, I’m still in Little Mermaid Pjs (thank you Primark) and working out how to be a woman in the first place. Basically, I’m just being a 20 year old student who doesn’t have a clue.

My Big Mouth: If it’s not your body, it’s not your decision.

After watching the BBC3 Documentary on abortion in Ireland this week I decided that it was right to write this post. Despite abortion becoming legal in the 1960s in Britain, Northern Ireland decided that they did not want to partake in this. Getting an abortion in Northern Ireland is illegal, meaning many women resort to either trying to induce an abortion themselves or paying out to travel to England for the procedure.

When I was younger I didn’t understand why anyone would get an abortion, who didn’t want a baby? The older I got, however, I realised that the issue wasn’t as black and white as it seemed. For any woman getting pregnant brings anxieties, for someone who was desperately trying not to get pregnant it can be heart breaking because no matter how careful people are there is always a chance, which some people seem to forget. More often than not there is a stigma of an accidental pregnancy even though we’re all aware that condoms split, pills fail and there can be defective implants and yet women are still judged and in some parts of the world treated like criminals.

I’ve never had an abortion, I hope that I never have to. I do, however, have friends who have gone through a lot I’ve had friends who felt the only option they had was to have an abortion: I have friends who have had miscarriages and have to deal with that heart break, I have friends who continued with the pregnancy and others who can’t get pregnant at all. My point is that each woman is individual, they have their own thoughts, plans and having a child should not be forced upon them. I did research into the idea that it is ‘killing’ a child, apart from the foetus cannot feel pain at this point.

Do I think the limit should be lowered? Yes. I think that 20 weeks is too late for an abortion in my personal opinion, just because of the rate in which we can premature babies alive, this is one of the grey areas. That said, the majority of abortions happen way before this point when there is no change a foetus could have life as for a long time it is not a ‘baby’ as we see it, but cells. As harsh as I know that sounds it is the image of this perfect baby from conception which can lead women to reacting in a way they otherwise wouldn’t. This needs to be handled from a medical perspective, not one of emotions.

Which is why when I see protestors outside of abortion clinics or standing in the street yelling abuse and holding horrific pictures to women ,who frankly have enough going on without it, I get angry. Who are THEY to impose their beliefs on another persons body? I doubt there are any women who are happy to go through an abortion, it’s not pleasant and it’s nothing someone sets out to do. I don’t care what your religion says, it is that woman’s choice and often they are thinking of the implications of the sort of life a child would have at that time.

So yes, I am pro choice. I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business quite frankly and we do not need to shame a woman but let her live her life without shame, embarrassment and stigma.