By Andy Merrett
Mar 2, 2012
This article contains no graphic visual images or disturbing videos, yet I’m going to warn you that this could well be the sickest thing you’ve read in a long while.
Moral Right To Life
According to a group of professors publishing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, babies are not “actual persons” and have no “moral right to life”.
Editor Prof Julian Savulescu suggests that anyone who speaks out against these views, which I’d suggest the majority of society would consider abhorrent, is a “fanatic opposed to the very values of a liberal society”.
We already know that abortion is a contentious issue, but whatever your view of that, surely the suggestion that newborn baby is no different to a foetus is a bizarre and flawed one.
Even if you believe that an unborn baby (i.e. one that is still in the womb) can be aborted at some particular number of weeks, it’s a stretch to consider there to be no difference once born.
On a logical level, of course, you can argue that the difference is a mere matter of hours. On an ethical and human level, the difference is immense.
From reading excerpts, it seems that there’s a distinction between a ‘human being’ and a ‘person’.
What Is An Individual?
The report suggests, “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus [sic] in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”
This leads them to the suggestion that it’s “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”.
They define ‘person’ to mean “an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.”
This debate is deeply worrying. Academics are free to have discussions about what it means to be ‘alive’ and a person, but when it metamorphoses into the suggestion that newborn babies can be killed if they don’t meet the expectations of the parent, we’re coming dangerously close to the abhorrence of child sacrifice. The god we sacrifice to? A society which suggests that humans are only valuable based on what they do and what they can contribute, rather than on the very basic premise that they are alive.
The deeply shocking report concludes that “what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.
These sorts of arguments are not new. In fact, thinking logically about it (which seems to be the main concern of the publishers, who dismiss the idea that the majority of humans would have a moral viewpoint on it — or at least a notion of what is acceptable and unacceptable in a supposedly developed country) it’s merely an extension of the thinking that calls for a longer time frame for abortion.
Yet it is perhaps one of the starkest indicators of the value those, particularly in positions of power, place on human individuals.
Poor Reflection On Our Society
Our society is deeply flawed when it suggests that babies who do not meet an acceptable level of ‘perfection’ can simply be done away with on the grounds of inconvenience or financial burden on society.
The report singles out certain disabilities, such as Down’s Syndrome, with the implication that it would be far better to euthanise (kill) them at birth rather than let them live. That’s despite the fact that many recognise that people with such a disability are still incredible, valuable members of society with much to offer. And, regardless of that, they are human beings.
Has history not already taught us, time and time again, how wrong it is to discriminate to the point of life and death against certain races or abilities?
Let’s hope and pray this kind of thinking never makes it beyond the walls of academia into legalised action.
You can read the entire report here.
Via The Telegraph
Christenings are a wonderful time. Not only is an important part of a baby’s growth, it is also a time to bond and strengthen the relationship you have with people who care. So at your baby’s Christening there will be many people. In this article we explain who all the people involved at a Christening are.
“The Little Guest Of Honour” – Your baby! The whole day is about your precious loved one. All eyes will be on them as the ceremony takes place. You will need to carry him or her around and make sure they are their best behaviour throughout it all.
One little tip – make sure they are well rested both before and after the ceremony. This is important especially since you might be having a party afterwards. Making sure he has had his nap will make everything go smoothly.
Some people choose to dress their baby up in Christening gowns. This is very cute and traditional, but it is optional. If you do not get them a Christening gown you can simply dress them in some nice clothing.
The Minister – The pastor or minister will be the one leading the ceremony. You will need to schedule everything through him or her and the church. Some people are nervous about meeting with them. Don’t be – they do this all the time, and can be a wonderful ally in getting it all planned out and carried off without a hitch.
Make sure to get in touch with them a few weeks minimum before you want your baby to be Christened. This way you can sure you get a good time for the event. This is especially important if you want the service to occur after a regular Sunday church sermon with the whole congregation in attendance. Generally there is only time for one or two Christenings at that time, do don’t miss out.
The Godparents – What would a Christening be without the godparents? They are an integral part of the whole event. Godparents are responsible for the child’s wellbeing in both a spiritual level and a physical level should something happen to the birth parents. It is an exceptional honour to be named as someone’s godparents.
Godparents traditionally give the gift of a Holy Bible or a silver spoon. Their role is mostly symbolic but not to be undertaken lightly – they might have to fulfil their duties, so only choose a trustworthy couple to be your baby’s godparents.
The Guests – You will obviously want to share this special event with as many people as possible. So when you make your guest list, think about who would deeply care to see your baby grow and mature. Extended family should be invited even if they cannot attend. Close family friends are also appropriate to invite because they care about your family. The guests are expected to bring some nice Christening gifts, so after the ceremony remember to write them a nice thank you note. Many people make this thank you note come “from” the baby. This is a nice gesture and they are sure to appreciate it.
The amount of time young children are kept strapped in buggies or car seats should be kept to a minimum, while developing an active lifestyle should be a priority.
Not only is the amount of exercise a child a significant factor in avoiding obesity, but it’s also linked to healthy brain development.
An active lifestyle should be encouraged from birth, including playing on activity mats or going swimming. Once a child can walk they should be moving around for at least three hours every day.
Some parents may find it hard to believe that their child could fail to be active for just three hours every day, yet it’s a sad fact that some young children are not encouraged to exercise. Recent figures from the Department of Health suggest that just one in three children aged between two and 15 get the recommended amount of daily exercise.
The chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, said that there was considerable evidence that allowing children to crawl, play or roll around on the floor was essential.
“Play that allows under-fives to move about is critical and three hours a day is essential,” she said.
“I think there are parents who are not aware how important it is for their children to be physically active for a minimum of three hours,” she continued. “Other parents are very busy and may not see how important it is to get that prioritisation and balance right.”
Sadly, that’s not always the case. Baby Hospital (ITV1, Tuesday 21st June 2011) followed three single mothers as they struggled to cope with the reality of a premature birth.
This fly-on-the-wall documentary was filmed inside Liverpool Women’s Hospital, considered to be a centre of excellence for neonatal science. Here, consultants and nurses give the absolute best medical care possible for babies born significantly early. Sadly, many children are born with illnesses and medical complications too difficult to treat, with inevitable deaths a part of everyday life at the hospital. Thankfully, many babies do make remarkable progress and become healthy enough to leave the hospital.
The documentary, sensitively narrated by Sue Johnston, first introduces Amy. Already a mother to five children, she had a tumultuous pregnancy. At 18 weeks, she separated from her husband of six years. At 20 weeks she contracted swine flu, a disease that poses significant and life-threatening risks to both mother and baby. At 27 weeks — four months prematurely — she gave birth to Alfie. He weighed just 1lb 6oz.
The fact Alfie survived at all was a miracle. As it is, he had severe problems with all the major organs — heart, lungs, kidneys and liver — as well as suspected brain damage. From an initial “50-50″ survival estimate, he gradually declined in health, suffering a burst lung, losing weight and gradually slipping away.
Amy’s rollercoaster of emotions, in which she spent a huge amount of time at the hospital and, as such, felt torn between her family at home and staying with Alfie, lasted five days before he passed away. Before that, his family gathered for a fairly impromptu baptism. Amy’s oldest son recounted how much Alfie had impacted the whole family despite him living for less than a week.
The documentary also followed two other mums. 28-year-old Rachel gave birth to Tyler two weeks early. She already has two other children fathered by two other men. Although she keeps in touch with Tyler’s father, and they remain friends, she laments, “Everyone wants the support of a man, but it’s hard to find one in Liverpool.”
Katie gave birth to Michael but found it hard to visit him in hospital because she already has two other children, lives 14 miles away and relies on public transport.
Michael needed heart surgery, to which Katie gave written consent, but it was often weeks between visits. “People look down on me but I’m not bothered by what they think,” she says, adamant that Michael is in the best hands right now and, when he comes home, will get the same 24 hour support her other two kids currently receive.
Thankfully, both Michael and Tyler survived and went home with their mums.
Dr Chris Dewhurst, Consultant Neonatologist, sympathises with the situation many lone parents find themselves in. He rebuffs the stereotype that women become pregnant in order to get a house and benefits. At the same time, he worries about the life that awaits some of the babies discharged from the hospital.
Lead Sister for Neonatal Developmental Care, Jan Waugh, is also upset when parents can’t come to visit. She sees the benefits associated with human touch, massage, and skin-to-skin contact, saying that it’s vital for babies. If they don’t get it, particularly from a parent, they miss out and don’t grow as well. The touch, which helps in bonding a parent-child relationship, can even prevent infection and reduce pain.
The documentary is sensitively made and doesn’t come across as being judgemental. The staff give the best to the 1,000 or so babies who come into the hospital every year, regardless of their background or the social situation their parents are in.
I was also careful not to cast quick judgements over the parents featured. It would be easy to wonder how a mother might stay away from the hospital, or lament the wider situation of lone parenting, but neither is particularly helpful.
Parenting as a lone mother (or father) is a juggling act even with healthy babies and children, particularly if extended family or close friends are in short supply. I simply can’t imagine dealing with the extreme emotions of having a very ill baby, trying to look after an existing family, and deal with all the other issues that everyone goes through.
I welled up during Alfie’s hospital baptism. My hope for that family is it draws them closer together. Even the snapshot this documentary provided suggested it might. The death of a child might seem like the end, but in fact it’s just as much a beginning, though not one any parent would choose.
To the watching world, and eventually to the hospital and the medical professionals who looked after them, those three mothers and babies will become mere statistics. Yet the documentary captured part of life that, mercifully, most of us will never have to cope with.
If you’re in the UK, you can watch the programme on the ITV Player until mid July.
Did you watch the documentary. What did you think?
It sounds like a doctor’s recommendation from an episode of Friends, but in fact there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest a number of activities can help bring on the start of labour.
Of around 200 women who responded to a survey undertaken by a US Midwestern hospital, over half took it upon themselves to speed up labour’s onset by their own means.
There’s no medical evidence to suggest that these techniques work, though the exact trigger for the start of labour remains unknown. It’s likely caused by certain hormones produced by the foetus, and though it’s not impossible that external factors might have some influence, it’s still generally outside of mum’s control.
Jonathan Schaffir, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study noted, “despite all of these women trying to go into labor and end their pregnancies, it winds up mostly being something moms have no control over.”
He suggested that, although many of these techniques would cause no harm, “Obstetricians and midwives may want to offer some additional reassurance to make patients feel like they don’t need to pursue these other techniques.”
The Friends reference may not be so far from the mark, in fact. Most women reported that the advice came from family and friends rather than medical professionals.
When I talked with a male friend about this, he suggested that only a man would have dreamt up the notion of eating spicy food and having sex. Who knows? It’s not exactly clear where these stories came from, but they do seem to be fairly widely used.
At the end of the day, though, it seems Mother Nature knows best and, however uncomfortable it may be, labour begins exactly when She chooses.
We’d love to hear your pregnancy stories. Did you try to speed up labour? What method worked for you? Are these myths and old wives’ tales? Share in the comments below.
By Andy Merrett
Jun 20, 2011
The pain and heartache at losing seven babies is unfathomable and unimaginable unless you’ve been there. Stourbridge woman Karla Parkes had all but given up on becoming a mum after an extreme run of failed pregnancies, yet her fortunes have been completely reversed thanks to IVF and Mother Nature, reports the Sunday Mercury.
32-year-old Karla had one fallopian tube removed after an ectopic pregnancy — a complication in which the pregnancy implants outside the uterine cavity — and was told the other tube was badly damaged. To all intents and purposes she was barren.
By 2008, after five miscarriages and two ectopic pregnancies, Karla and her partner turned to IVF although they were doubtful of success.
“By the time we got round to IVF there was so much going on that I didn’t really feel upset about going through the process,” she said.
Karla is convinced that IVF restored her fertility. After Mia was born via IVF, Karla conceived naturally and is expecting her second child very soon.
The couple are convinced they would have remained childless were it not for the help and support they received from the Sandwell local authority.
“There’s no way that we would have been able to pay for the process,” Karla explained. “We probably would have tried to get a loan but even then we would have found it difficult.
“We were overjoyed when we were told we would get two treatments for free. However, had it not been for that we could very well have found ourselves childless.
“It’s awful for couples out there who are desperate for a child and have been told they won’t be funded by the NHS.”
This wonderful success story also highlights the sad reality of IVF treatment in the UK, as we reported last week. Some 70% of NHS trusts and care providers are ignoring official guidelines on offering infertile couples three chances at IVF, while the criteria and requirements vary wildly and are often irrelevant.
Congratulations to Karla and Adrian for the wonderful additions to your family. We hope other couples may receive the treatment they so desperately seek.
We’ve covered Cuddledry’s cute and practical products before, including the bath and body range for pampering mother and baby, and the Cuddledry sea creature range with built-in SPF 50+ sun protection. Still, there’s nothing like a celebrity endorsement, so we were pleased to hear of Ben and Marina Fogle’s love for the product. Their two young children seem to like them too.
“They are really fabulous and have been constantly in use since they popped through our door. I love the quality – they’re so soft and thick and both our children love cuddling in them while we dry them. Having thought we had bath time sorted, I now don’t know how we survived so long without them,” said Marina.
Baby Iona and 18-month-old Ludo love the Cuddledry and Cuddlemoo Toddler Towel.
If you’ve ever struggled to lift a slippery baby from the bath and into a small towel you’ll appreciate just what a juggling act it can be! Cuddledry’s unique, award winning apron design keeps you dry and leaves both hands free for safer lifting, making bath time easier and more enjoyable for you and your baby. Made with unbleached, organic cotton and natural bamboo fibres, the Cuddledry is silky soft and super warm – ideal for snuggling and cuddling your little one dry.
The Cuddledry apron is available to buy for £24.99 from Mothercare, John Lewis, Harrods and Debenhams as well as the Cuddledry website www.cuddledry.com.
It comes in a range of four subtle colours – oatmeal, natural white, soft pink and soft blue – all fibres are unbleached and coloured using natural dyes. Funky babies can also now enjoy the Cuddledry in cute cow print and wild giraffe: £29.99.
It’s not hard to picture the scenario, whether or not you’re out and about with a baby. He needs changing but you don’t know where the nearest facilities are, and he’s letting you know in no uncertain terms about his discomfort.
Thankfully, help is at hand with the new iPhone app from UK parenting charity NCT.
Free to download, it already features over 5,000 baby changing sites at supermarkets, train stations, shops, restaurants, libraries and local authorities, all star rated by popular parent vote.
With the iPhone’s built in GPS and Google Maps, it’s easy to pinpoint the nearest facilities.
As a guide to others, after visiting a changing station, you can confirm it’s open and rate it on two sets of criteria depending on its hygiene condition:
- How clean were the facilities, rate using 1-5 stars;
- Would you use the facilities again, rate with yes/no answer.
If parents know of a facility that isn’t yet listed, they can add it to the database, benefiting everyone.
The charity hopes to make the app available for other brands of smartphone in the near future.
More information is available at nct.org.uk/babychanging.
Bringing Up Britain sees BBC Three exploring the complex and varied lives of youngsters parenting in Britain today.
The season, airing from Tuesday 12th April, features a wide range of new and original factual programming, including the emotional stories of Jono (What If My Baby Is Born Like Me?) and Steven (Gatwick Baby: Abandoned At Birth) to practical advice and debate programming like Fast Food Baby and Cherry Healey Investigates – Is Breast Best?
Two thousand babies are born everyday in the UK and soon-to-be parents up and down the country are learning to cope with the biggest challenge of their lives.
Helping them to understand the stark realities of their new-found situations, and reassuring them that they aren’t alone, BBC Three is building on the success of previous collaborations with BBC Learning who are producing a series of short videos featuring young parents sharing practical, peer-to-peer tips and advice.
Barely an inch of the United Kingdom has escaped the cold blast of snow and ice over the past week, so it’s more important than ever to know how to keep the littlest members of your family snuggly warm and safe when out and about.
Thanks to BABYBJÖRN, makers of clothing and accessories, we have four handy tips for keeping the winter chills away from your baby.
- Easy-on, easy-off outer layers provide an extra buffer against winter weather. Once your baby is dressed in his outfit for the day, you can simply slip him into a snowsuit before heading out.
- Cover up head, fingers and toes. Even the warmest jumper can’t make up for heat lost from an uncovered head. And babies’ tiny hands and feet are particularly vulnerable to cold exposure. Pull some mittens on the hands and some booties on the feet. (And if your baby sucks on his hands, be sure to keep an extra pair of dry mittens handy!)
- Once indoors, take at least one layer off your baby so he won’t perspire. Otherwise, the dampness will make him colder when you get back out in the winter air.
- Do NOT wrap and button your coat around your baby carrier. While it might feel instinctual, to do so actually endangers your child. It is important that babies are warm enough in their own clothes, and that your carrier is worn over your own coat.
And just to demonstrate BABYBJÖRN’s Cover for Baby Carrier, we have two lovely models (well, four really) showing it off. Look, it’s just as stylish for the dads as well as the mums, so there’s really no excuses.
More practical than a blanket, the Cover for Baby Carrier will stay put in all weather conditions, protecting your baby from the elements. The soft, breathable fleece fabric will keep out the wind, rain and cold and keep baby’s fingers and toes toasty. The removable reversible hood allows you to carry baby facing forward or backwards. The cover fits all BABYBJÖRN Baby Carriers and can be left on the carrier when you take the baby out, or used as a blanket for car seats, prams and buggies.
BABYBJÖRN Cover for Baby Carrier is machine washable and available in City Black and City Blue, RRP £29.99.
From one simple product, the baby ‘brag’ book, Alexandra Currie has grown her company A Little Square into one of the UK’s best-loved baby gift destinations.
Five years ago, Alex arrived in London from New York, pregnant as well as on foreign soil. Searching for new mummy friends became top priority for Alex, and sure enough over the next few months a diary of baby showers ensued. Alex was shocked at the lack of desirable baby ‘brag’ gift books or mini photo albums that she had taken for granted in New York; the sort that would fit into handbags or baby bags and enable her new friends to show off their babies to their very best advantage.
It wasn’t long before Alex and her artist twin sister devised a plan to fill this gap in the UK market and hand-paint gorgeous, baby ‘brag’ products. And so it was that A Little Square, and its first product the “Baby Brag Book”, was born.
They launched their website www.alittlesquare.com in 2005, selling a host of gorgeous hand-painted brag books, albums and photo frames. The response from parents and friends was phenomenal, they had clearly found their niche and the orders were coming in faster than they could paint.
Today, A little Square has grown in to a treasure trove of fabulous yet affordable baby gifts and is fast becoming the destination for trendy mummies looking for something a little bit different.
Although Alex has introduced lots more UK brands over the years, the site predominantly sells fabulous finds from across the pond. “My sister and I always took for granted all the amazing products that were available to us in New York when shopping for baby gifts, but when we arrived in the UK we realized there was a big gap in the market for affordable gifts. I love that I can hand pick the best US brands—such as Angel Dear, Sweet Cheeks and Gund—and make them available to all the UK mummies, alongside our own collection.”
Since their launch in 2005, A Little Square have broadened their collection to include children’s clothing, shoes, hair and skincare and even more accessories. Alex has always had a good eye for exciting products and loves sourcing items that are not sold on the High Street. “I am constantly on the look out for new finds to bring to our customers and I’m updating our collection on a weekly basis, so parents know they will always find something new and interesting at A Little Square,” explains Alex.
A Little Square have recently added a small collection for mums, including underwear from the gorgeous Milib and skincare from BooBoo.
To view the full collection visit www.alittlesquare.com
There’s a common belief that having a baby will improve a marriage, and although that isn’t always true, current research suggests that a new baby improves the couple’s love life, gains them new friends, and creates closer family ties.
The poll, carried out by Aptamil, discovered that, although two out of three mums find motherhood to be harder than they’d imagined, they also discovered improved relationships.
Two-thirds of mums said they were supported by their own mums in the busy first weeks, while 50% relied on other family members.
Interestingly, although new friendships are often formed with other mums, thanks to the shared experience, one in ten mums said they never saw their current friends because of how their lives have changed.
Dr Ellie Lee, a senior lecturer in social policy at the University of Kent and expert in parenting culture, commented, “Given that parenthood often comes with a ‘health warning’ about the new stresses and strains it brings for mums, dads and their relationship with each other, it is striking that many mums report that having children has created a new closeness to others.”
Christine Northam from Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship support, said, “Having a baby can be a wonderful experience for a family, we often see couples whose relationship has flourished because of a new arrival. Family ties strengthen and close family members can be re-discovered. That said, tough times will arise when bringing up children, but it’s important to remember that if couples work together they increase the chances of having a happier family.”
Aptamil is still looking for views on being a modern mum. Visit aptamil.co.uk/21mum to take part in the online forum.