For all your days & nights…

My niece will be 9 years old this week. My tiny muffin is growing at record speed. She is the oldest of my niblings. The first perfect little person one of my siblings created. The first mini Kerr to steal my heart. Our wee goddess is not so small anymore. She does however remain utterly incredible. Which is why I give you this Ode to Athena.

Athena is girl who wins gold medals in her very first Jui Jitsu competition. She speaks with that Aussie tone that makes almost everything a question, but always make her point clear. She can mimic a Glasgow accent expertly & she turns it on with perfect comic timing. My muffin has always been precocious. She walked & talked before most; her tongue has rarely been quiet nor her person still since.

Bias aside this child blows me away. Her vocabulary is impressive. Her creative talents prodigious. She excels in every subject, but more importantly, she’s kind. My Athena will brook no cruelty. Be it mean names or rough handling, tiny animal or a giant Daddy, no feelings shall be hurt. She cries foul. This Goddess rules her world with benevolence.

My baby girl now has longer legs than her Mama and as much sass as you’d expect from a kid who’s ancestry includes a Scot and a Zimbabwean. She can always come up with a game we can play via FaceTime and she still ends every call with beep, beep, beep, love you. At almost 9 she has already worked out that Disney love stories are bull & clocked it’s important to watch the news. So much of the baby Athena is gone. She now prefers jeans over party dresses and ipad games over my little ponies. My little one is big and brave and so so smart, but she’s not grown yet. She still wonders if maybe I should have married a dragon and to my utter relief she still has time for long running video calls with her old Auntie.

No matter how incomprehensible her text messages get, Athena will forever be my muffin. I’ll always know where her select freckles lie. I’ll never forget the days she fell asleep in my arms. I will always love her more than my heart can handle. She has been wowing the world since even before her first breath. I’m certain she has many more wondrous feats in store for us. She hardly needs to be told, but,

Baby be a giant,

Let the world be small.

Go gentle…

This year World Mental Health Day has intersected with Baby Loss Awareness week resulting in lots of media/online talk about both subjects. Obviously, this presses pretty much all of my buttons as my mental health has historically (& currently) been so interconnected with my losses.

I believe society’s discomfort of miscarriage increases the distress experienced by those who live it. Feeling that I could not talk about my loss certainly compounded the trauma of my first miscarriage. There is a massive crossover between mental illness & baby loss, I believe part of that is how we treat people who have to deal with either issue. I also believe that making really simple changes in attitudes would allieviate so much pain. Miscarriage & infant loss will always be horrific, but if we allow people to openly explore & process those losses long term mental illness can be avoided. Or at the very least recognised & treated. 


Miscarriage  & other types of baby loss affect many people. We can all help make their lives easier by following these straight forward suggestions.

1. Acknowledge the loss.

Many people feel so uncomfortable about this kind of loss that they simply don’t acknowledge it. I know that this often comes from a good place, one might fear upsetting a grieving parent or intruding on their privacy.  I get that, but trust me, the silence is worse. If you know that someone has miscarried a simple ‘I am sorry for your loss’ goes a long way. Having people recognise that you have suffered a loss is massive. Too often those of us who have experienced miscarriage are  left feeling that our child only existed for us. Having people in your life affirm that the life you carried was real & had worth is extremely valuable. 

2. Really listen. 

Asking someone how they are, sending love etc is a good gesture, but if you really want help, listen to their response. When I lost my first baby what I really needed was to talk about it. I desperately needed to express how I felt & what I was struggling with, but never felt it was ok to do so. Burying those emotions compounded my trauma & led to a complete breakdown. If someone needs to talk about their experiences, please let them. 

3. Respect the grief.

When you have a miscarriage you grieve. Your grief is not only for the baby you have lost, but also for the life you have been planning. Grief is a very personal thing, everyone does it in their own way & on their own timetable. Wether that involves a memorial service, commemorating an anniversary, a tattoo or even never speaking of it again, please respect that. Don’t judge or rush.  Be supportive of whatever your grieving friend needs . There are no right or wrong ways to heal, even if you feel uncomfortable with someone’s chosen expression of grief. Just be kind & remember it is not your journey.


4. Don’t hide baby news.

I understand the urge to shield loved ones from pain. Certainly be sensitive, but share & celebrate your baby news. I can guarantee that although it may sometimes be painful I never want to dampen anyone’s joy. Losing a baby is hard, but it does not prevent me from being thrilled for other people. Any tears I have to shed will be done in private & are only my concern. I want all good things for everyone that I love. I absolutely adore the beautiful little people my siblings & have friends have been blessed with. I have never met a person who had suffered a loss who felt any differently. 

There you have it. Four straightforward pieces of advice that may lighten the load of someone who is suffering. All you have to do is swallow your discomfort, listen & be respectful. Surely, that’s not too much to ask? 

This week I have been mostly..

Catching up with things including my fav Friday night shows. I was delighted to see Robbie Williams on Graham Norton. As I laughed along to his stories & did some sofa dancing to his new I song I realised how much I love Robbie. Queue a day of Robbie tunes old and new (thanks Apple Music) & I have decided he is seriously underrated. Don’t believe me? Read on. 

Let’s start with his latest offering, Party like a Russian. This is prime Robbie; a little social commentary, a little humour & lot of William’s cheeky charm. The lyrics are cleverly simple, but effectively taking a pop whilst not going overboard. The music has an incorrigible beat & some sinister Russian sounding strings (it’s actually from Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet) going on. All in all it’s a winner. 

And now, I want to take you way back. All the way to ’97 when I was 17 & the Robster was on his 1st album. Old before I die fitted my life at the time. I was heading into my last year at school & I already had an unconditional uni place. The pressure was off & the party was on. The care free, let’s get wasted attitude of the song was my exact mood. Throw in a wee go at the Pope & this teenage ex catholic’s heart was content. 

A few years down the line & we were still in tune when Strong hit the radio waves. I was dealing with what i’ll call a turbulent relationship & trying very hard to pretend all was well. Thus, the lyrics ‘you think that I’m strong, you’re wrong’ were poignant. With this song Robbie had captured the essence of being close to the edge with his signature humour. Images of him dancing like his dad & jokes about Oprah, take the barb from the topic. Robbie always knows how to take a fairly depressing premise & make an anthem you can’t stop singing.

Now a leap to a happier place. Go gentle was written for his daughter. It’s loaded with familiar protective father material, but with some truly lovely insights thrown in. When I listen to this song I understand what he’s feeling. Go gentle through your life is good advice for any little one. It’s simple, but at the heart of what we want for our kids. Namely, to be happy & take as few bumps as possible. The lyrics are sweet & loving, but also articulate something that I have been feeling. My niece is 6yrs old, she is confident in her abilities & appearance. I never want her to lose that assurance. For me the words,

‘Baby, be a giant,

Let the world be small’.

sum up what I want to say to her. When the time is write I definitely will & then I can share some ‘old’ music with her too.

Sexed up is a song I have quite possibly misinterpreted. When I originally heard it it brought to mind the feeling of knowing your relationship is over, but not being able to fully detach. In particular, when you’re pretty much sick of the sight of each other, but keep fucking anyway. I am assured by friend that it doesn’t mean anything like that, but there you go. The point is I love this song. It’s one of the tunes I sing in a loud voice when I need to vent my frustrations. I think he has perfectly captured that feeling of needing a break up intervention. The soaring melody combined with the caustic lyrics make it a perfect turn it up & pour the wine song.

I can’t talk about Robbie without declaring my love for Rock DJ. This song does to me what he is singing about. The minute I hear the intro I want to dance. This is ultimate cocky Robbie & that’s I like him best. Never before or since I have been attracted to a skinless man ripping his flesh off. I think that says it all.