More than a quarter of parents rely on Alexa and other digital assistants to read to their children before bed.
Tess Holliday has opened up about having an abortion following the birth of her second child when she was in the midst of postpartum depression and “experiencing suicidal thoughts”.Following the restrictive abortion laws that have been passed in several US states, the Mississippi-born model spoke about her own termination, describing the decision as “awful” but “necessary” for her mental health.“I had postpartum depression and then severe delayed postpartum and that’s what I was dealing with,” Holliday told People. “When I found out that I was pregnant again, I thought there’s no way I could do this. I was already, for the first time, experiencing suicidal thoughts. I literally didn’t want to go through any day at all. So, the thought of having to do it, to go through all of that again, destroyed me.”Holliday told the publication that she wished she didn’t have to share her story, but felt obliged to speak out against the abortion laws that are making it incredibly difficult, and in some states impossible, for women to terminate their pregnancies, even in cases of rape and incest.“In my home state of Mississippi, we had the one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, the highest rates of school dropout, and it kind of blows my mind that all of that can be happening, but yet we don’t get taught sex ed in school,” she continued. > View this post on Instagram> > YouKnowMe- I’m from Mississippi, living in California, married with 2 kids, & I had an abortion. If I was still down south, I might not have been able to get the abortion I wanted & needed. My mental health couldn’t handle being pregnant again & I made the best decision for ME & ultimately my family. It wasn’t the “easy thing to do”, it was excruciating on many levels, but necessary. Do I regret it or question my choice? Not at all. – I’m not alone either. Did you know the majority of abortions in Alabama in 2017 were already parents? Did you know 1-4 women have had an abortion? This isn’t something that only affects women either, In the words of my friend @alokvmenon: “Abortion is a queer issue. Abortion is a trans issue. Abortion is a non-binary issue. A lot of people still mistakenly believe that only cis women & heterosexual people can get pregnant / have abortions & this rhetoric erases queer women, trans men, and non-binary people who have a disproportionately difficult time accessing abortions.” .. – Abortion is healthcare & folx living down south need safe access to abortions. I just donated to @yellowfund which is a grassroots organization funding safe abortion access in Alabama & if you can, please consider donating to them or @abortionfunds, @prochoiceamerica, @sistersong_woc ❤️ Don’t let these old white men tell us what we should do with our bodies. prochoice abortionisahumanright> > A post shared by T E S S H🍒L L I D A Y (@tessholliday) on May 16, 2019 at 8:38am PDT“I feel like we’re shaming people for needing to get an abortion, but then you’re not actually educating them beforehand. “We need more education and we need to talk about all of this more.”Holliday’s interview comes after she first posted about her abortion on Instagram on Friday, describing the experience as “excruciating”.The body positivity spokesperson went on to encourage her 1.9 million followers to make a donation to the Yellowhammer fund, a grassroots organisation that is raising money to give women safe abortion access in Alabama, which now has the strictest abortion laws in the US. It has banned the procedure in all instances unless it is necessary for the mother’s health.The law came into force after the state senate voted 25-6 in favour of the bill earlier this month. All 25 of those who voted in favour were men, with a compilation image of their faces having now been shared thousands of times on social media after Rihanna posted it on 16 May, writing “shame on you”.> take a look. these are the idiots making decisions for WOMEN in America. > Governor Kay Ivey...SHAME ON YOU!!!! pic.twitter.com/WuAjSVv6TH> > — Rihanna (@rihanna) > > May 16, 2019“Don’t let these old white men tell us what we should do with our bodies,” Holliday’s post concludes.
Overusing a baby car seat - by leaving children in them too long and usingthem outside the car - can put your child at increased risk of death, a new USstudy suggests
A couple left their newborn baby in a taxi as they brought the child home from hospital for the first time. The parents got out of the vehicle with their eldest child, aged one, but forgot to remove their baby from the back seat. Hamburg Police said in a Facebook post that the couple had paid the driver and said goodbye before realising what they had done.
Chloe was diagnosed with hemangioma, a strawberry birthmark, which grew to the size of a grapefruit.
"I can understand that people are nervous about asking for help for fear of judgement, and how that sense of isolation can quickly become overriding and debilitating for any new parent.”
There can be few better opportunities for imaginative play than a playhouse.There’s no end to the pretend scenarios and games kids can play when they have their very own space that feels just like a mini version of a grown-up house.You won’t be surprised to learn that playhouses don’t tend to come cheap.But you may be surprised to learn that you can now get them for under £20 (for a cardboard one) and as cheap as £70 (for a plastic one).Even wooden ones – once unaffordable for most – have come down in price in recent years.When you measure up for your playhouse, allow some extra room around the edges, especially as you might decide to add to it in the future, for example with a mud kitchen accessory. Check how hard it is, and how long it will take, to assemble and if you’ll need a helper. With the really comprehensive ones, there’s probably an option to have it installed for an extra cost. But also consider what maintenance will it need; how long will it last your child, in terms of age suitability – and don’t forget to check out safety features and how robust it is Plum deckhouse wooden playhouse: £299.99, John Lewis & PartnersHow long to put together: 1-2 hours with 2 adults Dimensions: H138cm x D136cm x W136cm Suitable from: 3+Part of a new range for 2019, this stunning wooden playhouse comes pre-painted in a teal or pink wood wash with a whitewash trim finish and looks an absolute picture, especially if you hang bunting across the front. There’s a wooden decked mini veranda, Perspex windows, swinging front door, air holes for ventilation, wooden floor and apex style roof – everything you need for safe and dry play. A smaller version, called the Plum garden hut, is available for £199, which doesn’t have a working door, floor or roofed veranda.Buy now Chad Valley foldable wendy playhouse: £70, ArgosHow long to put together: under 1 hour Dimensions: H111cm x D102cm x W90cm Suitable from: 3+You’ll have this one assembled in record time and what’s more, you can disassemble it and rebuild it anytime you want in under five minutes, making it a very versatile option for smaller gardens and for transporting to other gardens. It can be used both indoors and out and it comes with window and opening doors. Aimed at three-year-olds and over, it offers hours of fun with an affordable price tag, although we wouldn’t recommend it for windier days outside.Buy now Plum wooden children’s teepee hideaway: From £239.99, Robert DyasHow long to put together: 6-8 hours with two adults Dimensions: H230cm x D150cm x W150cm Suitable from: 3+This sturdy tepee is as good as it gets for little adventurers. Available in two sizes (2.3m tall or 3.3m tall) and made from wood, you can leave it looking natural or go as wild and wacky as you like by customising with paint or stencilling. With the larger size, the whole family can fit in. It includes a floor, which means you can camp out in it, too. But be warned, it will take two adults at least six hours to build.Buy now Hobbycraft colour in cardboard playhouse: £17, HobbycraftHow long to put together: under 1 hour Dimensions: H81cm x D91cm x W91cm Suitable from: 3+This is a great idea for younger kids who are prone to pouncing on any large boxes they can get their hands on to turn them into dens. Not only does this white cardboard turn into a great castle themed playhouse in practically no time at all, but children can then colour it in with paints, pens or crayons to give it a really personalised finish. Double bubble in terms of play value then – result. And there are alternative versions available too, including rocket and shop. But it’s only good for outside on sunnier days.Buy now Step 2 neat and tidy cottage: £245.98, AmazonHow long to put together: 2 hours Dimensions: H118cm x W130.2cm x D89cm Suitable from: 18 monthsThis design is at least 10 years old, but it is testament to its popularity that it’s still in production. Unusually for a plastic playhouse in this price range, there’s a floor – great for keeping things clean – and the working Dutch door and windows mean children can see out from all sides and (perhaps more importantly) you can see them. Fun features include pay phone, mailbox, kitchenette detail, kitchen seat and working doorbell. Not the easiest to put together, though, with some trick corners to reach, but the kids’ faces will make it all worth it.Buy now Backyard Discovery Victorian inn playhouse: £524.80, AmazonHow long to put together: 5 hours with two adults Dimensions: H173 x W188 x D167 cm Suitable from: 2+Play shop, house or restaurant with this versatile wooden playhouse. Made from top quality cedar wood, the pre-painted Victorian-style is attractive and the open design with big windows and bench maximises both inside and outside space. Highlights include the front porch, built-in kitchenette (with accessories including toy food), hatch and quaint flower box. The wood comes pre-cut, pre-drilled and pre-stained. Buy now Little Tikes go green playhouse: £249.99, Little TikesHow long to put together: 2 adults, 1 hour Dimensions: H130cm x D94 x W150cm Suitable from: 2+If you’re looking for a way to encourage your offspring to start thinking about saving the planet from as young as possible, then this playhouse (despite, ironically, being made from plastic) is an excellent choice. It has a roof section where you can grow grass, a planting box to grow real flowers and vegetables, a solar powered light, recycling centre with bins and a sink using water from a rain barrel, while accessories include watering can, shovel and rake. It’s a shame the panels aren’t a bit thicker, though.Buy now GBC fort sandpiper playhouse: £1,903, GBC GroupHow long to put together: 4 hours with two people Dimensions: H281cm x D255cm x W300cm (small) Suitable from: 4+This is by far the most expensive in our roundup, but it’s the equivalent of a stately home in the world of playhouses and looks and feels like prime real estate once painted. Our favourite features include the four Georgian-style acrylic windows, solid timber roof with red or green felt, roomy porch and proper staircase with handrail to upper level. And there’s plenty of attention to detail too, with all doors fitted with anti-trap strips to save little fingers. If you can’t face building it yourself, they have an installation service available, but it will set you back an extra £100 or thereabouts. Available in two sizes.Buy now Waltons rocket playhouse: £599.99, WaltonsHow long to put together: 4-6 hours with 2 adults Dimensions: H2.72m x D1.88m x W2.51m Suitable from: 3+Watch your kids blast off in this fun rocket playhouse, which includes a 10-year guarantee against rot and free delivery to most areas. The timber sides and sand felt roof means it can withstand most weather and the doors have safety features. Aimed at age three upwards, it should see them through many years of play as the headroom is more generous than most. But it doesn’t come painted – you’ll need to do that bit yourself, and it will need treating on an annual basis. There’s an installation service available for an extra cost, along with a recycling option if you need to get rid of an old one.Buy now Little Tikes cape cottage: £104, Little TikesHow long to put together: around 1 hour Dimensions: H120cm x D93cm x W122cm Suitable from: 2+If the Chad Valley foldable playhouse that we review here doesn’t feel quite sturdy enough for your needs, but you don’t want to get into paying out megabucks for your plastic playhouse, this may appeal. For not much more than a hundred quid, you get a robust, easy-to-assemble playhouse for three-year-olds and over with arched door, windows, brick detailing and mail slot. It’s quite compact, which might put some people off, but for compact gardens it may go in your favour.Buy now TP Forest cabin wooden playhouse: £199.99, TP ToysHow long to put together: 2 hours with 2 adults Dimensions: H146cm x D131cm x W118cm Suitable from: 18 months +This is a great price for such a well-made wooden playhouse. Aimed at kids aged 18 months to six years, it’s made from FSC certified timber – either European pine or spruce – and has a wooden floor and roof, Perspex window and door and small veranda. Do check out TP’s mud kitchen playhouse accessory – it will set you back an extra £50, but can be attached on the back, complete with hob area, pans, whisk and sink. Be warned you’ll need to treat this house with wood stain or treatment inside and out before use.Buy now GBC Malvern lodge: £1,048, GBC GroupHow long to put together: 6-8 hours with 2 adults Dimensions: H227cm x D183cm x W183cm Suitable from: 3+This wooden cottage gets the thumbs up for featuring an upstairs (more mezzanine really) section, with ladder and balustrade, which makes it feel a lot more roomy and exciting inside than many other wooden playhouses. We also like the spacious veranda and stable door, as well as the coloured detailing (you choose which colour). It comes with acrylic windows and all the safety features you’d expect, including protection against trapped fingers, and the wood has been treated throughout. There’s an installation service available, but it costs extra.Buy now The Verdict: Children’s playhousesThe Plum Wooden Teepee Hideaway is well-made, looks fabulous and great for littluns with a great sense of adventure. We also like the fact that it’s available in two sizes. For something cheaper, the Chad Valley Funtivity Playhouse has a huge amount of play value.
"Sarah McCorquodale was the reckless one, the wild one, the one who was expelled from school, very much in the kind of Harry mould."
The summer swap comes after new research reveals cucumber is one of the easiest ways to up children's fruit and veg intake.
"I was smuggling binbag up my crack as I swallowed. I had every intention of smiling but turns out clenching and looking sexy isn't as easy as it looks."
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have welcomed their fourth child. Kim described the latest addition to their famous brood as “perfect” hours after her sister Kourtney Kardashian confirmed Kim's surrogate had gone into labour during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres show. “So, my mum doesn’t even know this, but Kim’s surrogate went into labour, so she’s at the hospital,” Kourtney said.
Sophie Wood had never truly appreciated the feeling of soft carpet underneath her toes. Nor the luxury of boiling a kettle without being watched, chopping an apple with a knife, or using a hairdryer. But six weeks after being admitted under the Mental Health Act (1983) to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU), she was slowly starting to remember the minutiae that make life interesting.“For weeks, I’d had someone sitting at the end of my bed watching me, monitoring exactly what I ate, the medication I was taking, and how I was caring for my baby,” the 35-year-old tells The Independent. “I felt like a prisoner. At the beginning, all I wanted to do was escape.”After longing to start a family for years, this isn’t exactly how Sophie had envisaged the first few weeks of motherhood. In April 2016, Sophie gave birth to her daughter, Isabella. Like the majority of new mums, she fully expected long sleepless nights and problems latching in the early stages. “I didn’t sleep at all for three to four days after giving birth,” she admits.“While I was excited and elated to have a baby, I felt entirely responsible for looking after my daughter all the time. I became obsessed with checking she was breathing. Every time she cried I went to pick her and feed her. I felt I needed to be with her, constantly.”These may sound like the concerns every mum feels after giving birth, but Sophie and her husband soon realised her experience of motherhood wasn’t the norm as her obsession soon turned into delusion. Unbeknown to Sophie, she was suffering from postpartum psychosis (PP) – a severe form of mental illness which usually begins in the first two weeks after childbirth.National charity Action of Postpartum Psychosis (APP) estimates that more than 1,400 women experience PP each year in the UK (one to two in every 1,000 mothers). Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, restlessness, confusion, and a manic mood.Dr Trudi Seneviratne, chair of the perinatal faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says it’s often difficult to pinpoint whether someone is suffering from PP or the “baby blues” (when women experience low mood and feel mildly depressed after childbirth) given the natural fluctuations in mood due to hormone changes after a woman gives birth.However, Seneviratne notes that 75 per cent of women who suffer from PP often exhibit behaviours that make them appear overly-energetic. “They might write down a list of ideas all at once, become busy and obsessive with certain concepts. Their sense of taste, smell and hearing may also become heightened.” What is postpartum psychosis? Postpartum psychosis (PP) is a rare but serious mental health illness that can affect a woman soon after she has a baby, the NHS states.It is estimated that over 1,400 women experience PP each year in the UK (one to two in every 1,000 mothers).Symptoms of PP include hallucinations, delusions, restlessness, confusion, and a manic mood.Dr Jess Heron, director of the national charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis concurs, adding: “The early symptoms of PP can be difficult to identify because many women feel a little bit elated and sleep deprived in the first few days after having a baby. There are some mums at particularly high risk of PP: mums who have previously experienced an episode of bipolar disorder, or a previous postpartum psychosis.”That said, for around half of women – including Sophie – PP can come completely out of the blue.“The only way I can describe PP is like an iceberg,” she says. “If you look at the pictures of me after I’d given birth, I looked like a perfectly normal and happy new mum holding my baby. Underneath I was suffering from chronic anxiety and confusion.”While Sophie still doesn’t know what triggered her PP, she believes the lack of aftercare she received in the first few hours following childbirth played a key role. After undergoing an emergency caesarean section as a result of her daughter being in breach (when a baby is born bottom first instead of head first), Sophie found herself becoming increasingly distressed.“It was around midnight when my husband was booted out of the hospital and I was put on the general ward with other mothers and babies,” she recalls.“It was pitch black and I was connected to multiple tubes and a catheter. My daughter was screaming and I really felt incapable of helping her. I kept pressing my buzzer but no one came to help. I could see she might need feeding but my milk hadn’t come in. I panicked.”That night, Sophie tried to breastfeed to no avail, resulting in her nipples becoming raw and bleeding. A midwife later told her that “this feeding malarkey” might not be for her. “It was excruciating,” she says. “I beat myself up about it so much in the first few days.“My daughter gradually started to lose weight because I couldn’t feed her. I felt I was it was my fault as I couldn’t give her the natural thing she needed. I felt I was failing as a mother.Four days after coming home from hospital with her child, Sophie experienced her first psychotic episode. After falling asleep amid exhaustion, she recalls having a horrific nightmare. “I woke up screaming in a hot sweat and shaking. My husband ran up the stairs to find me babbling nonsense. I told him I felt unsafe and that I didn’t know what was going on.” Sophie could feel herself getting jittery, battling racing thoughts and talking quickly.> It was so sad for my family to watch me go from being happy, organised, and positive about becoming a mother, to someone so anxious and fearfulMoments later, Sophie’s husband found her doing the Michael Jackson-inspired moonwalk across the landing (“I wasn’t even aware I knew the entire Thriller routine”), before forcing him to watch the Lion King. “I remember holding up my daughter like the monkey on Pride Rock showing Simba to the pride. “Look, she’s ours, she’s amazing,” I kept repeating to my husband. The couple recognised how out of character Sophie’s behaviour was and were increasingly concerned. “I felt like I was coming in and out of dream world,” she says, describing her mental state at the time. “My husband knew something was wrong and told me he thought I was having a psychotic episode but he was naturally scared to call anyone in fear social services would take me and the baby away.”Despite visiting A&E that night, Sophie was told she was experiencing the normal anxieties of becoming a new mum and needed sleep. After being handed a cup of tea and a sedative, she was soon sent home.Over the next few days, her mental state deteriorated rapidly. She began hearing voices in her head and was convinced her brother had died. She even lost the ability to speak and spent hours watching her wedding video on repeat. To this day, she still has the in-depth business plan she wrote out on her phone about a new invention she’d created to help new mums suffering like she was. “I genuinely thought I was the new Richard Branson,” she jokes.Eight days after giving birth, Sophie was forced into an ambulance and admitted to an MBU which provides support for mothers who experience severe mental health difficulties during and after pregnancy. She remembers her husband breaking down into tears as he signed the forms to have her sectioned.“It was so sad for my family to watch me go from being happy, organised, and positive about becoming a mother, to someone so anxious and fearful,” she says. “No one saw it coming.”During her initial stay at the unit, Sophie feared male staff would hurt her and she couldn’t bare people looking at her with Isabella. “I was tearful, quiet, and fearful. I ended up singing a lot to myself. It was a very lonely time,” she says.Despite taking numerous forms of medication including mood stabilisers, attending group therapy, mindfulness and group counselling sessions, at no point during her time in the facility did anyone tell Sophie she was suffering from PP. She says: “I used to ask people ‘what’s happened to me, why am I here?’ They used to tell me I was unwell which I thought was ludicrous. ‘Unwell’ is what you are when you have a cold or food poisoning.”While Sophie showed signs of improvement during her time at the unit, her battle with PP was far from over. She suffered from chronic anxiety and feared going outside. For the first month after leaving the MBU, she called the crisis team on a daily basis. “I was traumatised. I kept having flashbacks of what had happened,” she says. She didn’t step foot into a supermarket on her own for six months.Heron says: “Women go on to make a full recovery, however, the journey to full recovery can be long and difficult.”According to the NHS, most women will require treatment for PP in hospital, ideally at an MBU. Treatment may include medication, psychological therapy, and on extremely rare occasions electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).Seneviratne says: “Ninety per cent of sufferers will make a good recovery thanks to a combination of medication which can include anti-psychotics, that have mood stabilising properties, and sedatives that help them to sleep. However, while medication is important, so too are psychological therapies.“The term ‘psychosis’ is a hugely stigmatising term as it can be a reason why people don’t seek help early enough – PP is a severe condition. It’s important to talk openly about PP and give families the platforms to do so. Sufferers should in no way feel embarrassed about sharing their experiences.’’As her treatment continued, Sophie underwent counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and was finally diagnosed with PP some four months after giving birth. She came off her medication 11 months later and has attended numerous meet-ups and peer support groups through APP to share her experience. With hopes to have more children in future, she has also discussed several contingency plans with her doctor on how she can try to avoid suffering from PP again.“We’ve spoken about the need for medication, making contact with a perinatal mental health support nurses, birth plans, bottle feeding – anything so I can feel as calm as possible if I fall pregnant,” she says.As a result of her experience, Sophie has also become a media volunteer for APP and is setting up a blog to detail her journey through future pregnancies about how she plans to prevent PP, if she can, for women, families, and healthcare professionals.“It is not the ‘baby blues’ or a bad patch, rather a serious mental health condition. The earlier you get intervention, the healthier you’ll be. It takes a long time to recover from this illness but it is possible, there is hope.”To find out more information about postpartum psychosis, click here. For more help on the condition, contact www.app-network.org
Today is World Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, an annual day dedicated to raising awareness of the debilitating condition and of those who suffer its effects.The condition, which affects Girls creator Lena Dunham and former Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young, as well as an estimated 10m other people in the US, causes chronic pain. Read on for everything you need to know about fibromyalgia. What is fibromyalgia?Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition characterised by chronic pain and tenderness across the body.While there are some common symptoms, such as fatigue, everyone experiences fibromyalgia differently, with some cases more severe than others.It’s fairly common, according to the charity Arthritis Research UK, which claims that up to one person in every 25 may be affected.The symptoms for fibromyalgia can be very similar to inflammatory or degenerative arthritis, however, the conditions are not linked.There is no specific test for fibromyalgia, meaning it can often be difficult to diagnose. Who is affected?Fibromyalgia can affect anyone at any age, though it typically affects roughly seven times as many women as men.It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50. What causes fibromyalgia?It’s not clear what causes fibromyalgia, but researchers suggests it’s related to abnormal amounts of particular chemicals in the brain which disrupt the central nervous system and the way pain is processed in the body.Others speculate that the condition is genetic.According to the NHS, in many cases, fibromyalgia is triggered by physically or emotionally stressful events, such as giving birth, having an operation or bereavement. What are the symptoms?The most common symptom experienced by people with fibromyalgia is widespread chronic pain, which may be more severe in the back and/or neck. Other symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, hypersensitivity, spasms, diarrhoea, dizziness and muscle stiffness.Fibromyalgia can also affect your mental wellbeing, causing something known as “fibro-fog”: problems with memory and concentration. How is it treated?There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, however, it can be managed through treatment, which varies depending on your symptoms.This can be a combination of painkillers, antidepressants, cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling.Some sufferers may also be advised to embark on specific exercise programmes and relaxation methods in order to help manage and alleviate the pain.For more information on fibromyalgia, visit Fibromyalgia Action UK, a charity which supports people with the condition.