"No cause was ever won . . ."

This has been a challenging week and I thought I would not achieve anything for the postcard campaign. It was the second week of the children’s school holidays with David and I taking shifts to cover a busy office and childcare. That was difficult enough but then suddenly we could download no Aquabirths emails – a bit of downer when it is your business and your main means of communication. And then the ‘crowning turd in the waterpipe’: David’s computer died taking all his emails with it. I looked at the 1950 postcards and was defeated by the enormity of the task in the face of the sludge of life.

When I feel like this I always think of that amazing woman, mother and suffragette. Born into a poor farming community in 1871 and living and working in the northern industrial towns. Despite working long hours, she educated herself and became involved in the suffragette movement and political justice campaigns of the time. Hannah knew what it was like to be a working Mum working for social change. She once said: “No cause was ever won between dinner and tea, and those of us who were married had to fight with one had tied behind our backs . . . .”

And then I know that, it has always been the same. Attending meetings with a child on the hip and another sat on the floor next to you. Fitting your day between school runs, tea time, bedtime. Writing and organising with constant interruption from life and children. I remember realising I could not even have a baby without planning around such things! 4 days overdue with my 5th child I realised this baby could only be born between 9.30am-2.30am and 8.30pm and 6am, because David had to be available to do the school run!

But in the midst of despair the tide turned: I got a phone call from Radio Leeds, would I like to come on an evening chat show and talk about the latest stuff going on in my life – would I! And a local GP signed a card and said he would be happy for me to have them displayed at his surgery – mind you i want more than that – he is an active Lib Dem – and what is the Lib Dem’s policy on Maternity Matters implementation? independent midwives? and how do I get the message across to the PCT? And finally next week I am de-cluttering my home on TV to promote AIMS, Thursday, BBC1 11.30am. I wish I had had the postcards when they were filming that – mind you they were jumpy about anything ‘controversial’ – but it provides another excuse to talk.

Now for rhubarb crumble and tending Stan’s ‘hurtie foot’! ” No cause was ever won . . . .

Hannah Mitchell quote in ‘Women and Politics’ by Ann Kramer, Wayland 1988 – a book that ever girl should read, or have read to them.

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