Wedding staff tell: how not to start a marriage

We love a fairy tale wedding, and judging by our reality TV (Married at First Sight), we take marriage seriously. (Sure, we won’t have marriage equality on the grounds that it disrespects the tradition of marriage, but we’re happy to watch shows where brides score other brides’ weddings out of ten (Four Weddings) and two couples duke it out as their marriage deteriorate before our very eyes (The Seven Year Switch).

As impartial, unsentimental observers, they can spot the telltale signs of conscious uncoupling from the get-go.

Here are the warning signs wedding staff notice:

How to (really) pull ourselves up by our bootstraps

As Trump puts his cabinet together and the world waits to see what happens when the most powerful nation on earth decimates what remains of its social services, I came across this report on the long-term effects of childhood abuse. (I know, cheery. But my next post is a fluffy one, I promise)

I’m all for pulling ourselves up by our boot straps. Being an adult means taking responsibility for our own prosperity, happiness and health. (Yay for that, hello to my friends on the Right) … And yet:

The ritual every parent should do with their kids before the age of 7

Do all new parents have that ‘better do this perfectly so they don’t complain about me to their shrink’ paranoia? Though I’m gradually learning to accept that I’ll mess this stuff up, here’s my interview with a few people with more wisdom than I on what all parents can do to raise emotionally stable and happy kids. (and if you have any other tips, let’s hear ’em!)

How to deal with a well-meaning naysayer

The well-meaning naysayer is here to help. They are here to ensure you don’t put off having a baby (‘If you leave it too late they’ll come out deformed or not at all!’), or a wedding (‘I know he’s not perfect, but you don’t want to be left on the shelf, do you?’), and don’t even think about upgrading or switching careers (‘be realistic, competition will be tough, there’s no security!’). “I’m just saying it because I care,” is their motto and heaping fear is their method.

What pregnant women don’t tell you (and a temporary goodbye)

I wrote this column at the start of my pregnancy when I felt freaked out, like I was playing host to Sigourney’s ALIEN, and guilty about not having any maternal feelings. If this is you, THIS IS NORMAL. Maternal feelings DO come in their own time (sometimes six months after the birth), and I’m happy to report that I’m now quite bonded with my little alien. Which is fortunate, as his foot is lodged somewhere round my liver, and is due to come out literally any minute.  I’ll be taking a little break from the blog while I figure out food/cuddles/poo/keeping-cats-off-baby’s-airway, but I look forward to coming back when normal brain function returns. 

Before getting pregnant, I viewed pregnancy the same way I viewed the gluten-free: something other people did and were smug-annoying about.

Things I wish I’d known:

What your doctor is really thinking

As a writer (and human) I’ve always been fascinated by the private thoughts of those I make myself vulnerable to.

(And have even confessed my own now not-so-private thoughts as a yoga teacher.) What’s really going on in my doctor’s mind when I peel down my pants? How do they really feel about people with addiction, obesity, things up their butts and other so called “self-made” health issues?

My favourite interviews always yield something surprising. After speaking with ER doctor Peter (not his real name) I was struck by how very real he was, struggling with workplace bullying (as many of us do) and trying to find the balance between professional detachment and the very human response many of us would have when confronted with certain cases. Who knew doctors—the demi-Gods of our society—were just as fallible, vulnerable, and struggling to do their best within their limitations, as the rest of us?

Here it is, in Peter’s words:

Inside sex addiction treatment

As a writer, you don’t always finish a piece and think ‘Jeez, I’m glad I did that one’. But was fascinating and humbling to talk to these three lovely people about their experience, and I hope some readers get something out of it:

WHAT comes to mind when you think of sex addicts in recovery?

Sleazy men in trench coats trying to have sex with nymphomaniac Girls Gone Wild? Platoons of strippers who love their jobs more than is healthy? Or perhaps it’s the image of yet another celebrity caught in a cheating scandal, vowing to “get help”?