Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Festive Knitting and Reading

This week I am really enjoying reading the final Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. I'm only a few pages in but it's rather gripping! I've been saving it for a while to treat myself, and this is just the right time to dive in.

My first pair of socks are going well, and I have cast on for another pair. This time for my tiddly toddler, a much smaller task! The red swatch is for the boys' bluejay cardis. After the socks I will be more than ready for a l bigger project.

Wishing you all a happy and holy Christmas, and joyful new year.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Book Review for the Brave

It's been a while since I posted, and I think last time I showed you the little blue pullover. Well here it is again!

This little guy is the reason I haven't been around: boy has he been keeping us on our toes! After Sausages had a nasty cough for two weeks little Bob got it, and it turned into bronchiolitis. I remember Sausages having it as a baby, but not this bad. It was a very scary time during which we watched our little man fight for each breath. I am so grateful for the support of the NHS. Our GPs and the local pediatric nursing team were absolutely wonderful, and our family were fabulous too. I'm really glad we decided to move to be near them.

I finally finished the Gilded Flicker shawl. This was a test knit for Jennie, but I finished it nearly a month after the deadline. After taking this photo I was able to pin the longer edge into more of a curve, and I'll take some action shots for you when it's dry. This is very elegant, and puts me in mind of Jane Austen. I did watch "Death Comes to Pemberley" while knitting it, which might be why! I will be sending it to live with my rather elegant cousin Adelaide as a belated wedding present.

In need of a quicker project before I embark upon matching Bluejays for the boys (one from the baby pattern, one from the child pattern, same yarn), I cast on my first ever socks! Knitting socks is one of those things I have always meant to do but never got around to, and I thought I would seize the moment. These are the Rye socks from the Simple collection by Tin Can Knits. These are the largest size. I don't really know what possessed me to knit my first pair of socks in big man size, but there we are. Hopefully these will be a Christmas gift, but I haven't finished the first sock yet. I have to say it has been a pleasant experience, and I am sure there will be many more socks to come.

Now for the serious part: I have recently finished reading a most interesting book, Why Perinatal Depression Matters, by Mia Scotland. I am quite open about the fact that since Sausages' birth I have suffered from post-natal depression. It is the reason for my switch from academic career person to stay at home mother. When I saw this book being published I was very keen to get my hands on it, mostly because I thought it might be a way to help people who have NOT gone through depression to understand what it is like. I think the book does an admirable job of this, even though it is a herculean task. The chapter headings are: Understanding Depression; Brains and Bonding; What is Perinatal Depression; Fathers; Everyday Psychological Wellbeing Techniques; and Recovering from Perinatal Depression. I feel that this breakdown offers a good account of the important aspects of perinatal depression. One of the main themes of the book is one I wholeheartedly espouse: the idea that today we are expecting too much from new mothers. Many traditional societies have a set period after birth during which the mother is required to do nothing but care for the baby and recover from the birth. This often involves staying at home, or even in bed. Family members will rally round and care for the rest of the family and the home, and even the mother herself, bringing her meals etc. In this country we love a television programme about births in the 1950s, when new mothers lived in the communities they grew up in, surrounded by experienced women they had known all their lives, who could step in if things were going badly. Today having a baby can be an isolating event, and there is a lot of pressure to get back to normal, do the housework, have dinner on the table when your partner gets home, get your old life back. People treat maternity leave like a holiday, rather than the essential time of recuperation, care and bonding that it is. This book also focusses quite a lot on perinatal depression in fathers, and at first I was a bit irked that it was such a large part of the book, but I was fascinated to learn about the behavioural and hormonal changes in men over time that Mia believes have led to a rise in perinatal depression in men. I would really recommend that professionals, friends and family supporting new mothers who may have perinatal depression read this book, and that mothers themselves do when they feel able. It's probably not a good book to read on a bad day. There are no perfect answers to the struggle with this illness, but understanding is a great weapon in our arsenal,along with self awareness and self care.

To read something more lighthearted after that I whizzed through Amish Knitting Circle Christmas: Granny and Jeb's Love Story by Karen Anna Vogel on Kindle. A sweet but not terribly interesting story, and a window into another way of life. Up next will be the last Terry Pratchett I think. I've been putting it off because I know there won't be more to follow it, but I feel worn away by the past couple of months and I think it will be just the tonic I need!

Lots of lovely things from me this week. Are you ready for Christmas? Are you celebrating another festival? Do stop by and let me know what you're making and reading, and how you take care of yourself!