Stuff For Kids That Adults Might Love, Too

‘When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ — 1 Corinthians 13:11, King James Version.Yes, I know, nobody comes here for the Bible verses, but this one has stuck with me for decades. […]

Zan, Zandegi, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom)

The following words were written by a friend of mine, who is Iranian. Were she to record, or publish it herself, it could be dangerous for her family who are still in Iran. So, I’m doing it instead. The hope has always been there that one day, I could go back to Iran to see […]

Hope

‘Hope springs eternal’‘Where there’s life, there’s hope.’‘Hold On Pain Ends’ I don’t know about you, but I have been on the receiving end of these platitudes, and fake ‘positive psychology’ messages more times than I can count. I have a complicated relationship with hope. For many years, I sat in the quagmire of hopelessness, and […]

Grief (Part Two)

Last week, I wrote about grief, and about how I do not believe it is ‘love with nowhere to go’. This week, I want to write about grief following abuse. As people who were abused as children, it can be difficult to identify grief in the myriad emotions we are containers for. We have much […]

Grief

For many reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about grief recently. Well, when I say recently, I mean in the past few years. There are a few reasons for this: The recognition of Covid as a pandemic had more of us thinking about and – sadly – experiencing grief. There was the national (and, to […]

Experts By Experience

In the interests of full disclosure, I was a See Change Ambassador when it launched, in 2012. At the time, I was fully onboard with what they proposed to be doing: Using people with histories of mental ill health to smash the stigma that exists around these issues. In the years since however, I have […]

This week’s Guest – Niamh Ní Chonchubhair (S1, Ep3)

This week, I’m talking to Niamh Ní Chonchubhair on the Woman Up! podcast. Niamh is the CEO and Director of Axis: Ballymun, and – I have to be honest – this episode really sounds like a love letter to Ballymun. And, sure, what’s wrong with that?! I asked Niamh to join me on the podcast […]

The Trauma Of Parentification

Were you parentified when you were a child? By that, I mean were you given the responsibilities of parenting your parent/s or guardians? Of course, it is entirely correct to encourage, and support, children to undertake tasks and chores around the house as they get older. It is only right and proper that children are […]

Woman Up! Episode One With Aoife Martin

Nine year old me is thrilled with herself. Forty years ago, I dreamed of having my own radio show. In a desperate attempt to make that dream a reality, I spent the few pennies I had on low-quality blank cassette tapes. On these, I recorded myself (sometimes with a less than enthusiastic younger sibling joining […]

DONMs Liberation Course

Narcissistic mothers poison their daughters: They lie, undermine, ridicule, invalidate, and gaslight, us. For that, the DONMs Liberation Course is the antidote. This eight-week course will run from Monday October 3rd, until November 28th, from 7pm until 9.30pm (Irish time). Each session is packed full of learning, information, and the opportunity to practice what you’re learning. […]

Doula Services

Back in 2005, I returned to Ireland, and realised there were no practicing doulas in the country. As the only practicing doula here, I brought Doula Training to Ireland for the first time that year. Doulas are no longer an unusual feature in lives of families. I continue to practice, but I only work with […]

The Lilac Programme

For Parents Who Were Sexually Abused As Children For people who were sexually abused as children – roughly 20% of the adult population – certain life events can be particularly difficult. Among these are pregnancy and birth, as well as their child reaching the age at which they (the parent) were first (or first recall) […]

Choosing A Guide For Your Healing

  Amid all the chatter on- and off-line around ‘reaching out’; acknowledging that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’; ‘ask for help’ etc. etc. finding the appropriate healing guide for you is not always an easy task. What Do You Need?I think the first place to start is deciding the type of professional you need: […]

What Does A Rapist Look Like?

Then, there’s the false sense of security that Garda vetting provides. Garda vetting doesn’t weed out predators, it doesn’t give any indication of who is, and isn’t a rapist. Garda vetting just tells us who has a criminal record. Do you see the problem here? You could be a serial rapist, but because you have […]

‘Too Damaged By My Mother To Have Children Of My Own.’

Earlier this year, I surveyed 1,722 Daughters Of Narcissistic Mothers, with a focus on their own experiences of motherhood. This post is the first of two that provides an overview of the responses of women who completed the survey. Like many forms of child abuse and neglect, the truth of these relationships is bound in […]

Smear Campaign

CW: Child Sexual Abuse, Pregnancy Loss This year, European Cervical Cancer Awareness Week falls from January 28th. As a result, the past few days have seen my Twitter feed full of reminders that smear tests save lives; that cervical cancer is an awful way to go; that it is preventable; that a few minutes’ of […]

Baby Boxes Won’t Raise Birth Rates

(This is not a Finnish baby box!) A week ago, Katherine Zappone announced baby boxes would be given to all new parents in an attempt to increase the birth rate in Ireland. Baby boxes were first introduced in Finland in 1938, when infant mortality stood at 65 per 1,000. The boxes contained clothes, nappies, a […]

Pathways

For a number of years now, I have been choosing a single word to guide my coming year.  It’s a word I refer back to over the course of the following twelve months if I’m stuck, or feel I need to get back on course. For 2022, my word is Pathways. This year, I am […]

The Two Norries

I was very honoured to have been a guest on the award-winning podcast The Two Norries, hosted by James Leonard and Timmy Long for their 95th episode. You can listen to it here. As of now, I hold the record for the longest interview broadcast by The Two Norries! (Although we only managed to discuss […]

Be A Cycle Breaker!

One of the things I hear a lot from people I work with is that they’re afraid to have children because their own parents were abusive – whether that abuse was psychological, emotional, physical, sexual, or a combination of all four – and my clients are concerned that they, too, will be abusive. Sadly, I […]

Sex Education For Teenagers

I offer sex education for teenagers that moves beyond what is offered on the RSE curriculum. I address the issues of abuse, and – knowing that children and teenagers are more likely to disclose to a peer – offer participants information on how to deal with disclosure. Aware that teachers aren’t empowered to know how […]

Back To School

Yesterday, in Ireland, those who have completed their final exams at secondary level (known as the Leaving Certificate – or ‘the Leaving’) received news of whether or not they were being offered their most preferred course at third level. For many, it’s a day of relief, joy, and pride. For others, it’s a disappointment. I’m […]

Sex Positive Parenting

More and more frequently, in my discussions with other parents about sex positivity, parenting, and being sex-positive parents, I hear mention of how they are so sex positive that they have condoms in their homes for their teenaged children to use. ‘Better under my roof and using protection than out in a field, and not,’ is […]

Misogyny, Double-Standards and Witch-Hunts

As a woman, Ireland is not a great place to be. Not just because of the patriarchal hierarchy but because of the blatant denials that the patriarchal hierarchy exists in the first place. I’ve been giving this quite a bit of thought lately – not least because I am a woman and I have two daughters. […]

10 Lies Women Hear in Irish Maternity Hospitals

Women in Ireland are, finally, realising that they have – for the longest time – been sold a pup when it comes to how they are treated with regard to maternity care in this country. For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in mothering, maternity, babies and birth. Before I’d […]

Life Without Santa

Another Christmas day has come and gone, and I am pleased to report that Santa did not make an appearance. He never has. There is no such thing as Santa, as you well know. In Ireland, however, as in much of the Western world, this imaginary creature is a bigger, more important fixture in the […]