Life

Marie Louise McConville: We need less judgment and more support for mothers please

 "I chose to bottle feed both of mine, as my mother did with us, and I never ever felt any shame over my choice and have never regretted it."
 "I chose to bottle feed both of mine, as my mother did with us, and I never ever felt any shame over my choice and have never regretted it."

Don't you wish some people had an off-switch?

I'm thinking in particular about those who feel they must express an opinion on anything and everything, despite how it makes someone else feel.

Personally, I have never received more unwanted advice than when I was pregnant.

I was never so sick of hearing the words `You should'.

Most of the time I just felt like telling them to "shut up" and blame my hormones for the outburst.

The thing is, mothers are under so much pressure these days to live up to the perfect stereotype, which doesn't exist.

They should have a natural birth, should bounce back into shape 48 hours after giving birth and most of all, should only breastfeed their baby because if they don't, they have failed.

Personally, I chose to bottle feed both of mine, as my mother did with us, and I never ever felt any shame over my choice and have never regretted it.

Of course, it is not the same for others.

The lovely Kate Ferdinand revealed recently that she has been bottle feeding her son, Cree, however only chose to reveal it now, when he is three months, because she was "worried about admitting it at first".

I was so annoyed when I read this.

Doesn't a new mother have enough to deal with when they have a baby without worrying about being judged?

The 29-year-old, who is married to former footballer Rio Ferdinand, said she felt under so much pressure that she kept her feeding choice a secret.

Posting on social media, she wrote: "I chose not to breastfeed Cree, for so many reasons and I was worried about admitting it at first as there is so much pressure to breastfeed, but thankfully now I just know that a fed baby is a happy baby and Cree is the happiest little soul and we are so grateful.''

And rightly so, why is it anyone else's business how Kate chooses to feed her child?

Of course, she is not the only one on the receiving end of judgment.

Last month, reality TV personality Dani Dyer spoke about how she felt like "a failure" because she had to have an emergency C-section to deliver her son, Santiago.

I just felt so sad reading this.

Why does it matter how we have our children?

Surely the most important thing is that the child and mum are safe and healthy.

I have never felt any shame about the fact that I had C-sections with both of mine.

It was what was recommended by the doctor and I have never felt the need to justify it to anyone.

I just feel so sorry for both Kate and Dani that they started off motherhood feeling guilty because society said they should.

Surely it's time we live and let live because unless your halo is sparkling don't try to topple mine.

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So there you have it.

Finally, the news that a lot of men have been waiting to hear - six packs are out and `dad bods' are in.

According to new research carried out by Dating.com, the vast majority of people prefer men with a soft and round body shape with only 15 per cent of participants saying they favour the 'Ken-like body type'

So, you can all forget pushing yourself to the absolute limit at the gym. Turns out, women like a bit of padding.

Bring on the `dad bods', they definitely give the best cuddles.

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Albert Square is getting a new resident - and it's a familiar face.

Best known for playing the glamorous Marlene in the wonderful Only Fools and Horses, Sue Holderness is set to join the cast of EastEnders, where she will play a love interest of Billy Mitchell.

The 71-year-old star, who played Boycie's long-suffering wife on the popular comedy series, will take on the role of Estelle for a short stint in the coming weeks.

Fans will see her arrive as she oversees a photo shoot with Billy and his daughter, Janet.

Discussing her new role, Sue said: "I was absolutely delighted to have been given the chance to visit Walford.

"It felt very surreal to be popping into the actual fish and chip shop, Ruby’s club, The Queen Vic, and wandering around the iconic Albert Square. I was ridiculously excited about the whole thing.

"After more than fifty years in the business it was my first time working on a soap and I loved the whole experience."

The actress played Marlene in Only Fools and Horses from 1985 until 2003 when it ended.

She also appeared in the spin-off show The Green Green Grass and has also had parts in Doctors, Holby City, Casualty, Cold Feet and Heartbeat.

And now, she is set to whisk Billy Mitchell off his feet.

Well, we wish her luck with that.

**Competitions will return in the coming weeks