Vote for Hope : )
Every time Hope is cheeky at meal times, or my mother sees her win in a battle of wills (“you can have a piece of Easter egg if you finish your pasta” … “ok if you have just one more mouthful of pasta you can have a bit of egg” … “if you just eat this small piece of pasta you can have the whole egg” etc), she smiles in an I-went-through-all-this-and-worse-with-you-when-you-were-two kind of a way and says, “Vote for Hope” which generally makes me chuckle…
and now something has happened that means everyone has a chance to #VoteforHope:
I’ve been writing this blog, my Mush Brained Ramblings, since I found out I was pregnant following IVF. It was a fortnight after my 47th birthday, and was something I never imagined I’d do or enjoy. The writing started as a way to stop having to tell my story over and over again to friends and family, and to help in sharing updates on my pregnancy. It was private, personal and often painful. Yet over the nearly 10 long long months I found that writing became a way of dealing with the ups and downs of being ‘geriatric’ and pregnant, of facing the constant threat of miscarriage and of keeping positive. It never really occurred to me that anybody outside my immediate circle was reading it.
Then I received a note from a lady telling me that what I’d written had given her immense courage (her words) on finding out that she was pregnant ‘later in life’ (again her words), and helped her deal with people who said it wouldn’t last and she was too old. Then other notes and comments came saying similar things. One lady went to the clinic where we had our treatment and successfully became pregnant, a much older woman sent an incredibly touching message saying she was in her 70s and had never had children but she wished me success as an older mother and regretted she had stopped trying all those years ago. I also started to get comments from people simply wishing me luck and saying how they followed our journey on a regular basis. I was constantly amazed and touched by these messages.
The months went by and The Spaniard (as my unborn person was called due to being made in Spain in a Spanish petrie dish) grew, wriggled, kicked, then stopped moving … the messages of support and encouragement kept me going through a horrible time, and I could hear the whoops of joy echo from around the world when it started kicking again and then when Hope was born early in 2012 the warmth and love I received touched me beyond measure as we celebrated her birth and cherished the eternal esperanza that The Spaniard bought into our lives.
I carried on writing, mapping the joys, anxieties, challenges and glorious adventures as a first time mother, a much older than average first time mother. Breastfeeding with and then after a nose tube and tongue tie, dealing with meningitis, living with my elderly mother and relishing the bond between her and my daughter. I poured it all out on the pages of this blog… and have continued ever since.
The writing here has led me to become a blogger at Huffington Post, at Mothering in the Middle, and What to Expect, I have been invited to talk about being an older mother, breastfeeding and the ethics of midlife mothering on radio and television. I’ve commented in the press, and had features written about me. The emails come on a regular basis, from people with children with tongue ties, women struggling to breastfeed, loving breastfeeding, younger mothers, older mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers and children of older parents and I’m awed that anyone would take the time to bother to write to me. Another that meant alot to me was from a woman who had only realised her son had a tongue tie after reading about Hope’s being snipped and starting to breastfeed properly, she had her baby referred, his tie was cut and he too started to guzzle away happily (and apparently still is 2 years on).
I am so proud, humbled and frankly amazed that my writing has touched, let alone helped or encouraged anyone.
Last year my blog was shortlisted for the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging awards in the Inspire category, I was delighted. This year it’s happened again and I’m utterly flabbergasted. My writing has changed a little I think, I have more confidence now to lobby, to shout about things I feel passionate about and to be forthright. My love for my daughter, and for my incredible mother underpin my every word.
Anyway, now you also have the chance (just one per person) to Vote for Hope … and me of course!
if you have enjoyed or been touched any aspect of my writing I’d HUGELY appreciate your vote, and your help canvassing for votes if you have the time or inclination. If not then thank you anyway for reading.
Voting closes 16th May, I don’t have the formal support of any charity so have a much smaller reach than many blogs with single issue causes, but if you want to help champion the cause of breast-feeding, older mothers and raising awareness of the problems that tongue ties can cause then do as Granby says, and #VoteforHope.
The voting form is on the survey monkey link below and Mush Brained Ramblings is in category 5 … thanks to all at BritMums and at the Katie Piper Foundation (the category sponsors and WHAT in an inspiring example they set) for the opportunity to be shortlisted… and to those who nominated me.
For what it’s worth, I voted for Downs Side Up in the Outstanding category, cos it is.
A few reminders of our journey so far …