‘My Daughter’s Body’ was written by Jennifer Franklin (photo below) who graduated from Brown and Columbia. Her full-length collection, Looming, was published by Elixir Press in 2015. Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Boston Review, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, The Nation, The Paris Review, poets.org, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, Salmagundi, Southwest Review, and Verse Daily. Franklin is co-editor of  Slapering Hol Press and she teaches poetry workshops at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and lives in New York City.

This poem is part of my ongoing feature of feminist mothering poetry from the book ‘Borderlands and Crossroads’.

If you saw her, you would think she was beautiful.

Strangers stop me on the street to say it.

If they talk to her they see that beauty means

nothing.

Their sight shifts to pigeons on the sidewalk.

Their eye contact becomes as poor as hers. They

slip away with varying degrees of grace. I never

know how much to say to explain the heartbreak.

As her smile sears me, I hold her hand all the way

home from the swings. The florist hands her

a dying rose and she holds it gently, without

ripping the petals like she does to the tulips

that stare at us with their insipid faces,

pretending that they can hold my sorrow

in their outstretched cups because I knew them

before I knew grief.

They do not understand that they are ruined for me now.

I planted five hundred bulbs as she grew inside of me,

her brain already formed by strands of damaged DNA

or something else the doctors do not understand.

After her bath, she curls up on me for lullabies—

the only time that her small body is still.

As I sing, I breathe in her shampooed hair and think

of the skeletons in the Musée de Préhistoire

in Les Eyzies.

The bones of the mother and baby rest in a glass case

in the same position we lie in now.

They were buried in that unusual pose,

child curled up in the crook of the mother’s arm.

The archaeologists are puzzled by the position.

It doesn’t surprise me at all. It would be so easy

to die this way—both of us breathing our last

breaths with nursery rhymes on our open lips,

the promise of peaceful sleep

There are some serious advantages to choosing to forego the usual retirement home for your parents. Have a look at what home-based care can offer.

Reasons to Let Your Mom and Dad Stay Put

If you have an ageing parent, I am willing to take a bet you have spent a couple -or more than a couple- of sleepless nights, worrying about what the future holds for them. When faced with the intimidating task of caring for the elderly, many of us don’t even know where to begin. But, actually, the answer may be as simple as letting your mom and dad stay where they are, and allowing them to age gracefully, and comfortably, at home.

The Benefits of Home-Based Care
Beyond the cost saving factor, home care allows your parents the chance to stay in the home they know and love. By surrounding them with a safe environment, you could also be prolonging their health, not to mention the wonders this would do for the wellbeing of your whole family.

Whether you decide to hire in professional carers or not, home-based care provides a good array of advantages for both the recipient thereof, and the family extending it. I have offered a number of considerations that will hopefully help you make a more informed decision about keeping your aged parents at home.

Home Care Encourages Recovery

No matter what the duration is, staying at a hospital is a traumatising experience. Undergoing rapid-fire medical procedures can leave older people in a compromised state, and there is nothing to beat rehabilitation in the comfort of one’s own home.

Being in an environment that is familiar allows someone to be on the receiving end of the best kind of support in terms of healing both the body and mind, and research shows that home care speeds up recovery times. There is also a significant reduction in the chance of re-hospitalisation being required when people recuperate at home.

Home Care Saves Money

While moving your parents into a nursing home is the traditional solution, this kind of institutional care comes with a huge price tag attached. A good rule of thumb is that eight hours, or less, of home care per day will be a lot less expensive than that same care in a facility would be.

Staying in a home environment also helps to keep the brain active, and although there are so many different forms of entertainment on offer, with games even being developed to identify the early signs of Alzheimer’s, nothing beats the mental stimulation of constant social interaction.

Home Care Keeps Your Family Together

When sickness strikes, the familial bond is the one to take centre stage. Families are a vital source of support technically, mentally, and emotionally, for the aging, but what is often overlooked is how much these older members of our tribe give in return.

Staying engaged in daily tasks, and helping with chores around the house will keep your mom and dad a lot more sprightly for a lot longer, and will create memories that your children, if you have any, will cherish for a lifetime.

You can enjoy unrestricted visiting hours, and find new ways to interact with your mother and father as you both explore the new dynamics of your changing relationship, and as much as you would be helping them, there is no doubt in my mind that they would be helping you, too.

(This is a sponsored post)

So this is what that has happened to me this week. I ignored all the warning signs and ended up in an ambulance on Friday.

I started to feel abnormally cold at work and was falling asleep. This escalated into severe chills over the next two days which left me shivering uncontrollably. Turning the heating up to 80 degrees, plus sitting next to a portable heater with three layers of clothing did not help. I took myself off to the GP and was diagnosed with a kidney infection and given antibiotics.

However, my relief was short-lived. Only hours later my chills became much more severe. I thought I was going to collapse. The GP came out and declared that I was indeed in danger of collapsing and quite possibly hitting my head on something because my blood pressure was extremely low. He called an ambulance who told me upon arrival that they would only take me into hospital if I was deemed serious enough. After 10 minutes the Paramedics decided that they could not stabilise my vitals nor guarantee my safety so I was taken in.

If only I had heeded the warnings of my severe chills instead of putting it down to stress or overwork or a brewing cold.

At the hospital the blood technicians were unable to draw blood after 30 minutes of trying because, I was told, my body was severely dehydrated and my blood pressure was too low. “It’s like you don’t have any blood”, one technician told me. The consultant whom I was assigned to managed to get blood out of me some hours later after I had been administered some treatment.

Contrary to what people think severe chills are not just associated with kidney infections. In fact after a scan my kidneys were declared clear. I have a viral infection instead. I have lost a stone in 5 days and this wasn’t the way that I had envisioned losing weight in the new year.

I have also learnt that water is not the best way to hydrate yourself, milk is the best option. I have switched to drinking Alpro Soy with Coconut and my energy levels have started to crawl up. I am no where near normal but am getting better.

Helpful medical related posts to read:

https://symptomchecker.webmd.com/multiple-symptoms?symptoms=chills%7Cfatigue%7Cnight-sweats%7Cshaking-chills-(rigors)&symptomids=51%7C98%7C337%7C202&locations=66%7C66%7C66%7C66

https://www.livestrong.com/article/200419-what-are-the-causes-of-chills-and-night-sweats/

 

The way one pays tax is the great social divider in the world of corporate capitalism. PAYE employees have no say in the tax system, how much they pay and how their tax is used. I should add National Insurance contributions to this list too. Corporations, on the other hand, are run by fat cats on high salaries and bonus systems that are outside the PAYE system.

PAYE employees are treated as plebs and fed a right-wing ideology about how a smaller state would suit us all. Yet, our taxes are used to prop up companies headed by mega rich people. Carillion is only but a current case. There will be more to come this year, I am sure, given the plethora of PFI contracts in existence in a political structure that favours private enterprise over public investment.

Shades of crony capitalism are often a feature too in these company collapses. Cue Philip Green, chairman of Carillion, who worked for David Cameron.

All this while our NHS is collapsing from lack of funding. Our public services are being cut to a wafer thin level. Our children lack access to world class state education and to mental health services. Women suffering from domestic abuse suffer from a lack of refuge services and access to legal funding to seek justice.

Lib Dem Leader Vince Cable has suggested that shareholders take the loss upon themselves rather than the tax payer. Shareholding is an integral part of capitalism so why can’t accepting losses and risks be translated into a reality rather than just being text that appear in company brochures as part of a due diligence process?

I for one am fed up of being a PAYE punchbag of capitalism as I am sure that you are too.

Make your views known at an Open Mic session which I am holding on 20 January in Central London for mothers with something to say about how their lives are being affected by politics. How are austerity policies affecting you? Are you having difficulty getting an appointment with your GP for you or your child? Are the NHS cuts having a debilitating effect on your life? Are you worried about the quality of education that your child is getting? Do you have a disability or a chid with a disability and are struggling to access help? You may have something else to talk about.

I founded a group called ‘Mothers for Progressive Alliance’ with the backing of Compass, a left-wing think tank. The launch event was held in November 2018. The Open Mic session is the next step in giving mothers’ a say on what it is that affects them and how a Progressive Alliance can offer solutions.

The event will be held in an open and democratic manner in a supportive, friendly and safe setting. Children are most welcome. There is also wheelchair access.

There will be speakers on how the education system is failing girls and how the legal system stigmatises mothers in custody cases. Come and add your voice.

Details: Saturday 20 January 11am to 1pm. No 108, Doreen Ramsey Court, The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LN.  Refreshments will be provided.