Monday, December 30, 2013

The $6 Co-Payment - Why The Liberals Just Don't Get It

There's no denying health care costs in Australia are very high - and will continue to increase as the baby boomers enter retirement age - but the government has flagged a terrible (and hitherto unannounced) solution: charging a $5 copayment for people to visit the GP. After warnings that people will instead go to hospital emergency departments, a charge to attend there has been suggested as well. Whilst some are disavowing the idea, many Liberals are digging their heels in. $5 isn't that much after all, and poor people shouldn't expect everything for free.

Now, it may be hard for someone on a skiing holiday in France to understand just how much difference $5 can make to someone who's barely getting by. (The adviser who recommended the charge condescendingly, and inaccurately, compared it to "the cost of a burger and fries" - because that's what they imagine poor people eat). The dole, for instance, is $35 a day to live on - that has to cover everything; food, rent, transport, medical care. A politician or government adviser would have absolutely no comprehension what that's like (are there any members of federal parliament who have been unemployed, or on a pension?). Our Prime Minister is approaching his 20th year in parliament, most of it on ministerial pay; you cannot tell me he can possibly have any idea what it's like to keep a family of four on $42,000 a year. Or less. No wonder $5 seems like nothing to them.

Another factor raised is that this measure will cut down on "unnecessary" visits to the doctor. Is there any evidence that all these unnecessary visits are taking place? Part of the problem is that many employers require a doctor's certificate for even a day's absence (I had an employer who said I'd need to get a doctor's certificate to leave work at 2pm with severe pregnancy nausea - meaning I had to go to the doctor instead of going home and passing out on the bathroom floor, which was all I wanted). With the increasing casualisation of the workforce, many employees are already losing a day's pay if they're sick. It seems a bit bloody much to slug them with a charge to get a doctor's certificate as well.

But the Liberals really, really hate the idea of their money being used on services for the less fortunate. Conservatives treat their money like a toddler treats their toys; you can explain the concept of sharing, that they've got more than they need and the little boy over there has none and it wouldn't hurt to give him some, but they will still scream "NO! MINE". They love to pontificate about how hard they work, as if they really work harder than the single mother of three who works 30 hours a week at Woolworths and can barely afford the petrol to get to work, and then what happens if her kids get multiple bouts of gastro and bronchitis over a winter? Oh but they'll say, people shouldn't have kids if they can't afford it...but abortion is wrong, the easy convenient way out. The cycle of hatred is endless. Most of the well off can't admit, even to themselves, that through health and education and relationships, they're the winners of a lottery that too many other people are losing; then, through cuts to education and health care, they further hamper the chances of those who've already started the race behind; that through economic rationalism, they've destroyed the social contract that says if you work hard and are a good person you will get ahead - and then they claim their success was due to hard work and if only poor people tried harder, they could be successful too.

If the health care system is struggling financially, increase the Medicare levy on high income earners. And when I get back on my feet financially I'll happily pay it. I can't say I'll have much time for the class warfare whining of the wealthy, who apparently look at the social problems caused by the U.S. user pays system and say "ooh, yes please". In health, as in education, we're sliding further down the path of a two-tier system and it needs to stop, now.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

So, You Don't Believe In Global Warming

You don't believe in man made global warming. You think the whole idea is rubbish.

In other words, you believe that the vast majority of scientists, universities, governments, international insurance corporations, international banking, and the media are all in on an massive global scam to just make shit up. And there is more money to be made from this, apparently, than by telling the truth that fossil fuel burning has no ill environmental effects and we can carry on using them.

And only you and a few other brave souls are brave enough to see through this.

And they call the Greens fringe dwellers...

Anyway, if you're struggling with the concept of how there can be global warming when you remember very hot days from your youth, and we still have cold days now, this handy simple chart sums it up:


Although I do notice those who say "so much for global warming LOL, it's snowing in Egypt" never say "well, maybe I was wrong" when we have yet another record-breaking heatwave...

~~~~~

Also, a word on our Facebook page. I resisted setting up a blog Facebook page for a long time, but I've recently set one up, and post stuff there that doesn't quite make a full blog post, but is interesting anyway (well I think so). You can also comment on posts there if you have trouble with Blogger's commenting system. So pop over and hit like, I'm not going to tie you up and force you, and I could, cause I've been going to the gym lately.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The ABC Isn't Lefty Indoctrination - This Is Lefty Indoctrination

Ah, the poor old ABC. Seems like no matter what they do, people aren't happy. From the anguish of the left that Howard era hawk Peter Reith features so prominently on political panel show The Drum, to the eternal accusations that the national broadcaster has a leftist bias. Now they're in power, Rupert Murdoch and his cronies will stop at nothing to crush the ABC, culminating in the bizarre accusation this week by that frothing love child of Andrew Bolt and a particularly ravishing cane toad, Piers Akerman, that the harmless darling of preschool programming, Peppa Pig, pushes a weird feminist agenda.

Accusations that the ABC has a secret plot to indoctrinate kids with a socialist line are nothing new. We all know Jemima from Playschool is a lesbian - she wears overalls, after all -  and what about the Bananas in Pyjamas? Obviously an unemployed homosexual couple; they never get out of the pyjamas and go to work. And let's not even think about all the coming down the stairs.

Look, it's true that in Peppa Pig women have jobs. They even go to a recycling centre - run by a woman. And whilst right wingers may think that kind of thing makes Baby Jesus cry, it's not actually lefty indoctrination. Having a two year old, I see many, many hours of ABC 4 Kids, and none of it looks like lefty indoctrination to me. And I should know. Because I am trying to indoctrinate my child.


Baby G, at age two, has marched (or ridden in an ergo carrier) against coal loaders, to show support for climate action, against mandatory detention, for pay rises for community sector workers. He has listened to his parents explain, to someone queueing up to vote and grumbling what a waste of time it is, why voting is a right to be cherished. He has been to Greens party events. He has been refused permission to carry a Liberal party balloon and been dressed in a t shirt saying THIS IS WHAT A FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE. He has overheard hundreds of dinner table conversations about lefty issues. He's even met Bob Brown whilst still in utero (okay maybe that one doesn't count, but I will proudly tell him about it when he's old enough to know nevertheless). We will continue to explain to him why we believe locking up asylum seekers is wrong, and why same sex marriage should be legalised, and why the original inhabitants of this land should be recognised in the constitution, and that as a white male in a rich country he is in a privileged position, and he has a duty to help those less fortunate. And I suppose we have to brace for a possible adolescent rebellion where he joins an evangelical church and the Young Liberals, but I hope not. I hope he grows up with real values and an urge to take action to make the world a better place. And this is what imbuing a child with lefty values looks like. Not an animated rabbit who happens to be female, driving a truck.

If you disagree with raising a child this way, that's fine; I don't recommend it for your child. I suppose if you're a paranoid conservative, everything seems like left wing bias. But can I say to the right wing commetariat that I know what leftist indoctrination of a child looks like, because I'm doing so. And ABC children's programming isn't it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Feminism on the Maternity Ward - The Right To Choose A Caesarian

As we hear of yet another instance of a pregnant woman apparently forced to give birth via c-section, I'm thinking of how many others there must be like me - women forced to give birth vaginally, denied their right to bodily autonomy by being denied the right to give birth by c-section as they desired. For those not familiar with my story, I requested a c-section late in my pregnancy due to psychological reasons at the public hospital I was due to give birth at, and was turned down. I ended up delivering by caesarian, but only after reaching 12 day post dates and a failed 48 hour attempt to induce labour. The full story is here. A hospital, seeking to keep it's caesarian rates down, deemed my reasons for avoiding vaginal birth unworthy.

A woman's right to bodily autonomy is not trumped by a hospital's policy to keep c-section rates down. There may be all sorts of reasons a woman wishes to deliver by c-section, very few of them being because she's "too posh to push". Maybe she's been hurt, traumatised, has a fear of pain, past abuse, suffers anxiety. It doesn't matter. It's none of anyone else's business. It's her call to make. Armed with the full knowledge of the risks of both vaginal and caesarian deliveries, it should be the woman's final decision to make if she desires to give birth by caesarian section. If she has suffered from abuse or trauma, she should not have to explain herself over and over to hospital counsellors and social workers, shouldn't have to beg, shouldn't have to leave a decision regarding her basic bodily autonomy in someone else's hands, shouldn't have to suffer to contribute to a figure in an end of year departmental report. Just about every decent person is on board with the idea that it is wrong to force a woman to continue with a pregnancy against her will. Why is it deemed acceptable to force a woman to deliver vaginally against her will? To tell her not everything in life can be controlled and vaginal deliveries are safer for babies and if she can't grasp either concept, maybe she's just not ready for motherhood?

This isn't a concept with much support in feminist circles, alas. Notions of feminist birth and empowering birth often focus on achieving homebirth or birth with as little medical intervention as possible. I'm very glad these voices are being heard. I'm glad we've moved away from the days when a labouring woman was admitted to hospital, shaved and given an enema, and left to labour on a steel trolley for days whilst her husband alternatively paced in the hall or went to the pub. I'm glad the right of women to have autonomy over their birth is changing hospital procedure. But sadly these policies and these women's voices are not speaking in support of a woman's right to choose a c-section. That right is little acknowledged at all, and living in a state where abortion still falls under the Crimes Act, let alone which recently passed laws infringing on women's rights by creating a fiction of fetal personhood, it is hard to imagine such a right being legally recognised any time soon. We'll keep seeing articles lamenting that the c-section rate is too high. But as feminism makes in-roads in the maternity units and birth centres, and more women are able to access the kind of birth they want, it would be nice to see avoiding forced vaginal birth is no longer seen as a privilege.

Edit: I've started a change.org petition to have the right to a c-section for abuse survivors in NSW hospitals enshrined in law.

Please sign and share.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sleep School: What Really Goes On At Tresillian

Sleep training is one of those emotive parenting topics (and what parenting topics are not emotive?). Should we attempt to get our babies into some sort of sleeping schedule, or leave them to sort themselves out? In the early days of parenting, I firmly came down on the sleep-training-is-cruel side. I left my online mothers group after being supportive came to involve mothers swapping tips on how to stay strong when leaving their six week olds to cry for up to twenty minutes. None of that for us, I thought. We co-slept till BabyG was old enough to go in his cot, which we kept next to the bed, and he was a dream sleeper. I don't know what other women go on about, with the lack of sleep, I thought; this is too easy.

Then the dreaded four month sleep regression hit, pretty much down to the day. BabyG went from waking up maybe twice a night, to waking up every hour - one horror night every forty five minutes - and being bloody impossible to get back to sleep. Naps went all out to hell, too - and so did DH and I. We became bickering, clueless zombies - and I was hit with the full slug of post natal depression and PTSD. Post natal depression can have a delayed onset, but I didn't know this until my excellent GP picked it up and arranged counselling, and strategies to deal with BabyG, and suggested we might all benefit from a trip to Tresillian. Sleep school? Not for us. Sleep training is not for babies who wear amber necklaces and cloth nappies and never get put down.

But the tears and screaming and threats of divorce became too much. So, when BabyG was seven months old, we went to sleep school. I was still afraid of what went on there, but something had to give. As it turned out, I was wrong about a lot of what goes on - and so are a lot of people, to judge from the comment recently heard in a uni tutorial about Tresillian being a horrible place where babies are left in cages to cry (really). So, here's my impressions of what goes on in sleep school. We went to the Tresillian at Canterbury Hospital; I imagine the others are much the same. Incidentally, it's not just a sleep school; they can help with a range of adjustment to parenting issues. I envy those to whom parenting comes easily; it sure as hell didn't for me.

BabyG at Tresilian, failing to be traumatised by the experience

The unit is on the Canterbury hospital campus, but completely separate to it. We checked in about 9am on our first day. It's a five day program, and arrival is staggered; so when you're on day 1, other parents are on days 2, 3, 4 or 5. There's accommodation for about ten families at once. You get your own room with queen bed and ensuite; each bedroom has an antechamber with separate access with cot and changing facilities, so staff can attend to your baby without coming into your room. Then there's a dining room, TV room, indoor and outdoor play areas (we were living in a flat at the time so we all loved this). First day is intake interviews, talking with staff about the problems you're having with parenting, and chatting with the other parents. I'm not a particularly loquacious person, but even I found it really valuable talking with other parents who were going through the same things, like feeling like a failure when it's 3am and you've been trying for ninety minutes to get your kid to sleep and having passing thoughts that you'd like to go back in time to the night of conception and use a condom. Tresillian does take kids up till age two at Canterbury - and up till 3 at other centres - but when we were there most of the babies were between 6 and 12 months old.

Anyway, after the staff (lovely nurses!) work out where everyone is up to, they give you a daily routine to aim for; either a four hourly routine for younger babies; or like G, being put on what is known as the toddler routine (he was only just gone seven months when we went, but like many post dates babies he's always been a big, well developed kid). The toddler routine had the aim of getting the kid to sleep through the night or near to it - seemed an impossible dream at that stage. Also, we got a much better idea of how much he should be eating. BabyG can be a greedy little pig when it comes to food; they put him on the portion size "we normally give to the big ten month old boys" and he wolfed it down. The babies' food is freshly prepared at the centre everyday, good baby friendly food with lots of fruit and veggies. They also have all formulas. The adults' food...it's hospital meals on trays. Sorry about that. The centre is quite close to Campsie and Belmore, so you can go for a walk (or drive) to get food there (you can head off for a walk whenever your kid is awake, which we did a lot as I like exploring new places).

The first night, you leave your baby with the nurses and head off for a full night's sleep. In theory. I'm not going to lie; walking away from him, leaving him in the care of others and not having him in the room with me for the first time since he was born, was damn tough and I cried a bit. But damn I did appreciate the rest. We had recently started comp feeding at this stage, so the nurses gave him a bottle at 10pm; if you're breastfeeding you can go in to do the dream feed.

Day two, you start learning to settle your baby yourself. And yes, this did involve a little bit of letting him cry, which again was extremely tough as it was not something we had ever done before. I explained to the nurses that we favoured gentle parenting methods and weren't in favour of leaving him to cry, so they kept his "crying times" down to a minimum.  I hated the thought of him crying and thinking we'd abandoned him, so I would say softly, "Mama's here, darling, it's time to sleep now". It took some work, over the few days we were there. We also worked on my baby wrapping, which I never got good at (DH was much better...in fact on our first date he told me he wanted to write a book on traditional methods of baby wrapping, and I pretty much stripped naked then and there. Luckily G grew out of wrapping not long after.

Also on the second day, you see a social worker. This was the only part of the program I didn't get on board with; I was already seeing a counsellor at the time, and that was quite enough thank you. But I imagine it's very useful for a lot of parents.

Over the next few days, you find your feet with the settling and feeding, and get to relax and just focus on your kid. It's nice to not have to worry about housework or anything; whilst G was sleeping, I got a lot of time to read, which I hadn't really done since he was born. Also, one evening during your stay, you can leave your baby with the nurses and head out for a date night; we headed to Burwood for a Sichuan feast. The nurses also didn't mind, in the evening, us letting them know if we were heading out to get an ice cream nearby. I was lucky that we lived nearby and due to DH's work, he was able to spend most of the stay with us; it would be trickier if you had to visit alone because your partner had to stay behind and work, as happened to a friend of mine who had to travel down from Newcastle.

By day five, home time, we were all feeling a lot better but apprehensive that we'd be able to make things work. But although there were some hiccups, we all got the hang of it and when we moved to Newcastle a few weeks later, G went into his own room and slept from 6pm to 6am with a dreamfeed around 10pm. We dropped the dreamfeed around age one (I think...). He's now two and a bit, and still an excellent sleeper. We  give him his dummy, say good night and I love you and almost every night, he climbs into bed and goes straight to sleep. And I say a little prayer of thanks to Tresillian and the awesome people who work there.

Look, it's not for everyone. Yes, it does involve some crying. But not too much; you don't have to harden yourself and ignore your natural instincts to be with your baby. And I can't calculate how many tears Tresillian has saved us in the past two years - mine and his. If you want to feed your baby through the night into toddlerhood, that's your choice and none of my damn business. But I know it was definitely the right decision for us, and if you've come here by Google and are considering whether it's right for you, I hope this has been helpful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Shoot Your Love All Over Me

In this era of divorce, family breakdown and uncertainty, it can be easy to beocme cynical about the prospect of ever finding true love. So thank goodness that News Limited still knows when to share a story of heartwarming romance with its readers, bringing us the tearjerking tale of Matthew Webb and Audrey Mayo. He accidentally shot her in the leg whilst taking shots at deer - now they're a couple. Aww. As the article says, love can blossom in the most unlikely circumstances. Can you imagine a more perfect start to a relationship?

He's a keeper. Photo via Gawker
Audrey Mayo and Matthew Webb officially became a couple on November 21. But that date is also significant for another reason. It's the day Matthew accidentally shot Audrey. The pair were hanging out on the roof of Matthew's mother's house in the small town of LaFayette, Georgia. He spotted some deer across the road and decided to try and shoot one. Ms Mayo stayed on the roof, but soon thought she heard Matthew calling for her. She climbed down from the roof, walked across the street and called out to him. "I was doing like a half yell," Audrey told timesfreepress.com. "I didn't want to scare the deer away." As he hunted in thick bushes looking for the deer, Matthew heard rustling and saw movement. He gripped his rifle, aimed and fired. "And then I heard a gunshot," Audrey said. "And then I felt it. And then I hit the ground."

Of course any decent hunter would be taking targeted shots at animals, not shooting at random at in the hope of somehow hitting the animal. But it would be petty to quibble when this lovely young couple have a whole bright shining future ahead of them. Well, mostly whole:

The bullet sliced through a vein that runs behind her right kneecap, damaging some nerves. She's currently on nine medications and the pain is often unbearable. "If she contracts a serious infection, her leg may have to be amputated."

Still, love conquers all, even cultural differences, such as the astonishingly blase attitude of many Americans to guns:

Audrey's family aren't angry at Matthew. The shooting was an accident, and he's even moved in with Audrey's family to help care for her. Despite the pain, Audrey's family have found a way to laugh about the whole thing. "Once we realised she was alive - and that she was going to be alive - we started to lighten up a little bit," said Audrey's sister, Rachel Mayo Greer.

I don't know. I reckon I'd be pretty freaking furious if someone shot someone I love whilst taking potshots at deer off the roof, but I guess that attitude is one of the drawbacks of living in a society with such restrictive firearms legislation. Who knows how many chances to be happy have been lost without bullets flying around, taking a chance they'll find someone's heart?  I can imagine a few of these stories to remind us that love blooms in the strangest places:

"He was doing donuts in the supermarket carpark when he ran her over - but the thing he really ran over was her heart!"

 "He was cow tipping in the back paddock when he accidentally pushed her over - but the thing he really knocked over was her heart!"

 "When his illegal meth lab blew up, he never realised he'd blast his way into her heart!"

But Ms Mayo and Mr Webb have been together a few short weeks only. We can look to couples whose relationships have stuck together down the years, through thick and thin:

"Their romantic story started when they shared the same parole officer as juveniles. But when in a remarkable coincidence they met again in the court system ten years later, they knew it was meant to be. Last week the fairy tale was complete when Brandeena married Jaysyn in a jailhouse wedding that brought a tear to the eye of the crowd of family, friends, and medium security inmates"

But seriously, I wish the happy couple all the best. I'm sure few couples have as sure a future together as a guy who takes pot shots at deer from the roof whilst high as a kite and a woman from a family who thinks that's swell. (News Limited saw fit to leave out the part about the drugs, but let's not let that tarnish the romance of it all), and when in years to come their five year old accidentally shoots their two year old with a gun Daddy forgot to lock away, they can all laugh and think back to how it all began.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Summer Fun With The HCCC

Received a letter in the mail this week informing me the Health Care Complaints Commission will not be proceeding with my complaint over events leading up to the birth of Baby G. The HCCC has come to this conclusion after a rigorous investigative process which consisted of asking the hospital, and specifically the nurse who initially refused the c-section, if they'd done anything wrong. Both the hospital and nurse have replied that they don't feel they didn't do anything wrong. Well that's okay then! Case closed. Be on your way. I especially like the part of the letter that says "the nurse denies being rude or condescending to you, stating that this is not part of her normal practice". Well of course she's going to say that isn't she. "Are you ever rude to patients?" "All the damn time, you bet I am! You've got to let them know their place".

Sigh.

I have asked for a review, based on the one thing I seem to have on my side right now: the nurse involved is now denying I ever asked her for a c-section at all. Funnily enough I have a letter from the hospital in which the nurse "remembers your meeting and request for an LSCS". So my hope is that even if the HCCC doesn't think refusing me the c-section breaches an acceptable standard of care, they'll take a less approving view of a nurse explicitly lying to them.

Nevertheless, I'm not too hopeful of anything coming of this - the HCCC and Nurse Midwives Board, do seem to be rather concerned with protecting their own. So now what? Civil action? Ombudsman? Going to the High Court of Bogan Australia, i.e. Today Tonight? I'm temperamentally disinclined to just let this go, as that does nothing to stop this happening to someone else. I've been seeking out stories of others who've been let down by the medico-legal system, to see how they've coped. But if they think I'm going to just let this go, I'm not. I won't.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Do We Really Just Hate Kids?

More of the "trouble with kids these days" from an acquaintance on Facebook, and whilst I've blamed the problems of kids these days on economic rationalism, this thread on Reddit made me wonder if the problem with kids these days is that we hate them. For a society that claims to venerate children so much, we sure show in so many ways that we don't actually like them.

Children and parenting are the other; to be kept marginalised and out of sight until the messy, unpleasant business of being a kid is done. It starts early, with complaints about pregnant TV presenters and public breastfeeding; graphic depictions of motherhood should be kept out of the public eye. Then there's the rise of the parent-shaming websites, attacking people for oversharing their parenting experiences. Whilst I wouldn't post about my child's poop myself, early parenthood does involve a great deal of the stuff and you do get a little obsessed (and that's me, who prior to having a baby became wildly embarrassed at the slightest indication that anyone had a digestive system). Parenthood can be very isolating especially those early days when you're largely stuck at home with only a non-communicative creature for company, and it's natural to use social media as a way to connect with people - especially at a time when you're so vulnerable to post natal depression. But the sites promoting mocking and judging of parents perpetuate the message that the messy details of parenthood are something to be ashamed of, and parents should just shut up about it all. It's all right to complain about things at work, or that jerk who cut you off in traffic, but not about the daily routine of caring for a baby. No one wants to hear about that.

If parents get it bad, kids have it even worse. Childishness is not permitted; children must restrain their childish behaviour at all times for the comfort of the adults around them. Children are spoken to in ways we'd never speak to an adult. Notice your partner is grumpy on an outing? Decide to ignore it till they cool down. A grumpy child? They're a spoilt brat, ruining the whole day, and we're going home right now. I've seen teachers on school excursions barking orders and insults at kids worse than anything in the army. It's not all teachers that are like that of course, but a few are. I saw a little boy hauled over the coals for forgetting his bus pass, in tears in front of the entire bus. Parents who want to toughen kids up. You have to show them who's boss. Kids are not seen as future adults to be nurtured, but wild animals to be restrained and trained. (And some of the parent shaming sites feature parents shaming their own kids - not okay). 

 And teenagers. If we don't like kids, just look at the narrative on teenagers. They're running wild, disrespectful. God help them if they leave home to escape abuse - they're being handed money by Centrelink because they're out of control and can't follow the rules. (Incidentally, I planned to write a term paper on teenage abuse last semester, but couldn't, because I couldn't find enough academic sources for a 2,500 word, first year essay. How sad is that?)

Anyway, enough of the child and parent shaming. I'm going to stop feeling marginalised. Children are messy, loud little creatures and I won't feel I should hide my son away. Oh, I'm still going to be a respectful person; quieting him if he's shouting at the top of his lungs, not changing him on food court tables, and so on. But as I said in my last post, respect goes both ways, and it's pretty disrespectful to hide away and shame a great chunk of the population simply because we find their childishness offensive. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

STFU Parents Should Know When To STFU

The media image of today's parents is as demanding, overindulgent creatures convinced that what they're doing in raising children is a rare and delicate work of genius. There's a tiny nugget of truth in there, and the blog STFU Parents is there to dig it up, as they hilariously lampoon self-righteous parents who throw hissy fits at strangers not being sufficiently attentive to their child, or share with their Facebook audience their children's bowel movements. Sometimes parents can be irritating jerks, just like real people.

And sometimes blogs that poke fun at parents' foibles can be irritating jerks, too. Sometimes STFU Parents ventures so far into "gosh, parents are so awful" territory they become self righteous and irritating themselves. I'm still shaking my head at the post which made fun of the mother of a special needs child for taking pride in her son's achievements, but the latest sanctimonious missive on how parents should behave is the sharing of links suggesting rules for visiting parents with newborns. Not permitted, according to STFU Parents. "Please stop sending visitation rules memos. We’ve already gotten them". Really? Then why have I heard so many stories of people visiting newborns and their parents who wait to be waited on, who show up with colds and flus and weeping conjunctivitis, who stay for four hours and leave behind a pile of dirty dishes? And maybe it's just a little bit hard to mention that with someone directly; posting a list of suggestions for visitors on Facebook is a less confrontational way to say hey, we're trying to find our feet with a six day old in the house, don't expect fine dining and witty repartee.

It goes beyond that. STFU Parents takes umbrage at those who want to follow public health advice, mockingly posting an email from a parent who apologises for being pesky, but asks you not to visit the baby before it's had their first whooping cough vaccination, unless you've had yours. Oh my god, following public health advice to prevent a newborn catching a highly transmissible, potentially fatal disease! That is so inconsiderate of the rights of the childless to spread their germs where they please.

"No one cares about your baby as much as you do". That's definitely something parents should bear in mind when their kid is singing at the tops of their lungs on the train, or just did a massive dump Facebook apparently needs to read about. But it just seems cruel and petty to say that to a parent who's only just had a new baby. I can just imagine what the author of STFU Parents is like visiting friends with a newborn: paying 30 seconds of attention to the infant, then launching into a diatribe about how she can't stand the new guy at work and, when her frazzled friend battling to establish breastfeeding after three solid hours sleep in the last forty eight fails to respond attentively, making a passive aggressive excuse to leave and holding court to her friends at a bar that night on how people become, like, so self-involved and inconsiderate once they have kids.

Look, parents are not inherently superior people to non-parents, and raising children is not the hardest job in the world. It is different to not having kids though, and I don't see too much wrong with requesting people to keep pertussis away from an unvaccinated newborn or indirectly requesting guests to not arrive expecting a full meal and entertainment. Indignant self-righteousness goes both ways, and as ridiculous as it is to send visitors to purchase and assemble your furniture just because you've had a new baby, a little more understanding should go both ways as well.