Friday 28 October 2016

Anna Nolan: Pregnancy police should button it unless they've been there, done that

Pamela Flood
Pamela Flood
Emma and James in Married At First Sight
Conor McGregor
Scott Disick

The pregnancy police are a funny lot. Ready to pass judgement on any issue related to pregnancy, giving birth or bringing up a baby.

They do it with the fake intention of knowing what's best for the child but in fact it's just good old-fashioned condescending arrogance.

Whether you breast feed or bottle feed, whether you want a home birth or a hospital one, they won't hold back on how you are doing it wrong. Or kinda doing it right ... maybe.

These pregnancy puritans aren't afraid to make any mum feel like the worst mother that ever changed a nappy.

I'd say a few of them rubbed their hands together with glee, ready to gossip galore, when they read about Pamela Flood being pregnant with her third child.

She will be 44 when she gives birth. Ooh, a late 30s first time mom. Ooh, two children in her 40s. What is the world coming to?

I know Pamela. We were in the same year in school. She's deadly and she deserves every ounce of happiness she gets.

But even Pamela talks about the difference in having a baby in your 40s. She said recently: "I wouldn't say to anybody who is planning a family to wait until you are in your 40s because obviously you are rolling a dice with certain issues."

Dr Pixie McKenna from the TV show Embarrassing Bodies also spoke recently about having a child in her 40s.

Apart from the drastic change to her lifestyle, including chronic tiredness when the child became ill, and her social life pretty much coming to a halt, she spoke about the lack of friends who were in a similar position.

Either her pals had children who were much older, or were still leading the life she now envied (spontaneous post-work drinks and the likes).

I have lots of nieces and nephews, all conceived by parents whose ages ranged from teenagers to 40-somethings at the time of conception. I have seen the pros and cons of both situations.

The younger mother has a strength and stamina that is envious to all over 40. She can bounce back quicker when sleep is at a minimum and tantrums are at a maximum.

But she will envy her pals who are still living the life in their 20s and 30s.

On the other hand, the older mother has had more freedom in her 20s and 30s. But there is no way getting around the fact that older mothers worry that when their child hits their 20s they will be hitting retirement age. I have had friends who tell me that this notion can get them down.

We are having children later and later these days. It is in no way unusual for women to start a family in their 40s. It is neither better or worse than having it beforehand.

But if you think its going to be a bed of roses, just ask Pamela or Pixie. Unlike many in the pregnancy police they've been there, done that and bought the baby bib.


TV show proves some people will do anything to hear those wedding bells


You go and campaign the bejaysus out of the country. You walk and debate and maybe even come out for marriage equality. 

You reconsider what you thought of this civil right and decide that everyone is entitled to it. You find a new respect for marriage and you, with the majority of Ireland, take a stance, vote in your droves, and make history.

And then Channel 4 go and produce a new series that sees strangers meet at the altar for the first time, and get married.

As I sat down to watch the first episode of Married At First Sight I was so far up on the high moral ground I could almost feel my head touch the ceiling. But alas, it was an entertaining programme. Damn them. I sank right back down into a lowly 'morals going right out the window' position.

It was fascinating. A panel of experts, including a vicar, brought together three couples who they deemed were ideal for each other. One couple didn't make it, but two were followed as they prepared to get hitched. It became clear how 'unlucky in love' they were. And how desperate they were to go down the traditional route of tying the knot.

As the day got closer and closer, their excitement built. At any stage you expected them to turn to the camera and say "Are you all mad? Of course I'm not going to marry a stranger". But something kept them moving forward.

It was probably all the rituals they were going through, rituals they may have gone through a million times in their heads. The buying of the dress, or the suit. The hen night and the stag party.

The wedding episode is on this Thursday. I don't imagine any of them will do a runner beforehand.

Marriage is alive and well. And rather than mocking the institution, Married At First Sight highlighted the fact that some people will do anything for the wedding bells and happy ever after.

Sorry Conor, but I just don't get the hype


I feel like the only person in Ireland who didn't get caught up in the whole Conor McGregor hype last weekend.

I didn't care much for the fighting talk beforehand - the swagger and lip service all seemed a little contrived to me. The hipster hairdo and the flash suits might have made this guy more appealing but personally I like my sports stars to let their skills do the talking.

By all accounts his MMA encounter with Chad Mendes was a good fight, but thumping the bejaysus out of someone doesn't really rock my boat. Maybe it's just me.


It's all got far too real for Scott


The reality television world went into a tailspin last week when Scott Disick was seen with his hand around a woman who wasn't his girlfriend Kourtney Kardashian.

The scary thing about reality TV is how the public feel they own the characters who feature on it - that they're their best friends or worst enemies. Poor Scott's Twitter feed was filled with the most vitriolic and threatening comments after the pics emerged and Kourtney split from him. It was something else.

Not only will Disick now have to handle a falling out with reality TV's most famous family, he will also have to deal with the wrath of millions of upset viewers. Maybe it's time he opted for a life off camera.

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