Showing posts from November, 2011


NICE guidelines are recommending that women ask for a caesarian birth if they so wish. Many women would prefer to have a caesarian because they think it is quick and painfree, despite the fact that they are opting for major abdominal surgery. What is it about labour and childbirth that has put them off? Stories of 24 hour labours and poor pain relief abound, but we don't often hear about the shorter labours, with or without epidurals, or the women who choose to have a natural birth with a birthing pool and actually enjoy the experience. Then there is the psychological difference to both mother and baby between the apparent simplicity of a caesarian and the work of labour with its ultimate reward.


The Times' correspondent in Kabul, Jerome Starkey, organised a scholarship to his old school Stowe for a boy from an illiterate family. This was a brilliant feat requiring courage, the will to succeed and a lot of complicated bureaucratic paperwork.

Education should be a basic universal human right irrespective of gender. Unforunately in Afghanistan girls are so often excluded from school. It would be even more wonderful if Stowe School could now offer a scholarship to an Afghan girl.


Shopping is one of our major leisure activities, we live in a rich country where consumerism reigns supreme. There is a feelgood factor in walking down the street with a glossy branded carrier bag, it gives us gratification, entitlement and status. Shopping reinforces our sense of identity, and confirms our sense of worth. First we focus on the chase, on finding the right item. Then there is the ritual of paying, usually with a magic plastic card. Afterwards we get the satisfaction of success, the feeling of reward, like winning a prize.
Shopping can resemble bulimia when this behaviour becomes a repeated compulsion with only temporary relief. One experiences a pleasurable feeling of anticipation, the rush of an adrenalin surge, an endorphin high, a feeling of satisfaction and relief. However this may be followed by feelings of disappointment and let-down, guilt and shame, emptiness and anxiety. Then one starts all over again. That is addiction.

I found a packet of contraceptive pills on my 15 year old daughter’s bedside table. I feel shocked. She’s underage, how can she be having sex? Should I talk to her boyfriend’s parents?
The person to talk to is your daughter, however awkward that may be. At least she’s taking care not to get pregnant. Ask her if she is fully aware of sexually transmitted infections, in particular chlamydia. Find out what her true feelings for her boyfriend are. Explain to her that sex is not just about having fun. Ask her if she would like to ask you anything. Unless you think she is being used or exploited there is no point in confronting the parents. Your little girl is a young woman now, making choices of her own, you will have to get used to it.


Antonio Horta-Osorio, 47, who was brought in to sort out Lloyds Bank, has been signed off for the rest of the year with severe stress. Successful CEOs and leaders are usually high-functioning, intelligent, ambitious and driven people who often have a strong streak of perfectionism and obsessiveness. This is how they succeed, but their way of working can put their mental health at risk. They are often in denial of the strain they put themselves under and when they break down they feel they have failed. This comes with guilt and shame.
Major stress symptoms include depression, anxiety, insomnia, agoraphobia, tearfulness, panic attacks, mood swings, loss of concentration, impaired decision-making as well as headache, digestive problems, backache, palpitations, increased use of alcohol and drugs.

Recovery takes time and requires a fundamental re-think about priorities and work/life balance. It may involve a 2-6 week stay in a clinic where the use of laptops and mobiles is restricted. Health…


Lack of attention
Lack of affection
Lack of communication
Not feeling valued
Need for excitement
Need to rebel


I am a widower in my 50s and I have been lucky enough to meet someone of a similar age who seems to fancy me. After several weeks of courtship we both feel ready to sleep together. My question is: should I use a condom? I am seriously out of practice and never liked them much in any case.
Dear Joe
Yes you must use a condom. The fastest growing body of sexually active people diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections are in your age group. Antibiotics deal with most STIs but do not forget HIV. You and your partner may have been celibate for quite a while but better safe than sorry. Include her in the process. Perhaps she could help you put it on and you can have a laugh about it. Your first sexual experience with her will be a big step for both of you. Enjoy.