considering a babymoon? read this first.

There’s a trend these days for couples to enjoy a “babymoon” before their babies are born – that is, to have a little getaway, enjoy some quality time together and relax before that little bundle of joy arrives and sleepless nights set in.

It’s a cute idea for those who have the time and resources and let’s face it, what new mum or dad isn’t at least slightly anxious about impending parenthood?

I’m all for the idea in theory but there’s one really big thing to think about that a lot of people seem to be forgetting: their travel insurance.

Being an expectant mum myself, I’m seeing lots of women considering babymoons which is great, but what concerns me are two trends: travelling without insurance, or travelling with insurance and assuming baby is covered. Here’s a little newsflash that surprises a lot of people: baby won’t be covered if you travel overseas.

For Australians, travel interstate is fine because pregnancy will always be covered by Medicare (the joys of being a citizen of a country with such a scheme). If you travel on a cruise though (even if it’s a domestic cruise) or you fly out of the country this is where expectant parents really need to consider the risks far more thoroughly than they have been.

On a standard policy (bearing in mind this is a generalisation, however it is based on experience and in-depth conversations with several insurance companies) a woman with a single pregnancy would be covered up to about 26 weeks (depending on the policy) provided she has experienced absolutely no complications whatsoever. This 26-week limit means all travel must be completed by then, NOT that you must depart by then. It’s usually about 18 or 19 weeks for women pregnant with multiples.

But here’s the trick: while the mother is covered, the baby isn’t. This means that the mother could go to the hospital complaining of pains and be treated but the minute the decision is made that the baby is to be delivered, that’s it. Cough up the dough because the insurance company won’t be.

Consider the risks of this: what if a mother went to say, Fiji or Bali for a week at 25 weeks, fully intending to be home by the 26 week mark. While away, she goes into spontaneous labour and needs to deliver. At 25 weeks the foetus is viable and is born alive, but now needs three months of round-the-clock care in the NICU of the hospital. Sorry, but those parents will be paying. Not to mention having to stay in that country for the whole time, paying for food, accommodation etc and not going to work. Can you imagine?

Or, on the most awful end of the scale, consider the tragic case of the lady who this week delivered her baby at 24 weeks on board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane. The plane needed to be diverted to Denpasar and unfortunately the baby passed away. No post-natal care would be provided for this woman and the repatriation cost of her baby’s body wouldn’t be covered either.

As ridiculous as much of this may sound, I’m yet to come across a policy that works differently (but if you happen to come across one let me know!)

My advice: ALWAYS read your Product Disclosure Statement, ask as many questions as you can and really consider if a particular policy is right for you – or indeed, if the risk is worth it.

how will history remember Gough Whitlam?

One day in high school my friend and I were being naughty and listening to an iPod during Maths class. Our teacher tapped us on the shoulder and pointed out this poor behaviour and, being cheeky, we replied “but this band is named after our favourite politician”. When our teacher asked about the band and we told him they were called the Whitlams, he was so excited. Gough, he said, had saved his life. You see, the day Gough Whitlam was elected (the 2nd December 1972), our wonderful Maths teacher was due to be shipped off to Vietnam to join the most unpopular war effort. Number one on Whitlam’s agenda as Prime Minister was to withdraw our troops, and he did.

I read more about Whitlam and his time as leader of our country but of course at the height of my interest I was only 16 or 17 years old and hardly able to comprehend the complexities of his term and the time period in which he was leading our country (he was elected 16 years before I was born and dismissed three years later). I once brought him up in conversation with my grandparents, staunch Liberal voters their whole lives, and learnt that our relationship would be better off if I never spoke of the despicable Gough Whitlam again. He was a mongrel who nearly ruined us all.

Two generations of people with totally different opinions, and yet they really do represent the divisiveness of Whitlam’s term. Mired by scandal, intrigue and possible corruption, I can now understand where my grandparents were coming from. However as an admittedly left-leaning individual myself (not far left, just a little!) I do still have a lot of admiration for the reforms Whitlam and his government implemented, particularly with regard to the working environment they had to do it in.

His legacy includes so many turning points in our nation’s evolution but the ones that speak to me are the ones that show a degree of humanity: introduction of universal healthcare, improved access to tertiary education, abolition of conscription and the death penalty, the introduction of no-fault divorces and welfare payments for the homeless and disadvantaged. Some of these social justice issues are currently in Australian political news again as they are under threat and I can only hope that, upon reflection of Mr Whitlam’s life, we are reminded of why his Government brought these policies in to begin with.

A few years ago I read an interview with Mr Whitlam in the Sunday paper where he was asked where he wanted to be buried when he died. His answer? “It doesn’t matter – I’ll only be in there for three days.”

A funny bastard too – that’s how I’d like to remember him.

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image courtesy of SBS/Getty

i have a dream… that australian women’s media was not run by wowsers and wackos

There’s a certain Australian website enjoying mass popularity at the moment that works on the theory of “quick news” – the kind of news you can quickly browse as you finish your coffee. It’s aimed at women and particularly women with children. The idea is excellent.

The problem however is that in the need for “quick news” they often lose something really important: editing.

Countless times I’ve clicked through to an intriguing article only to stop reading halfway through because the errors frustrate me; in the rush to produce something that entices people to click the output quality drastically decreases and I feel this sells the many intelligent women out there who give this website their time quite short. Other articles seem to be written by women getting angry about something for no reason just to get people viewing and commenting – and so many commenters are manipulated into taking the bait.

Today in the shower (where I do all my best thinking because who doesn’t?) it dawned on me: I have a website. It’s just a little blog I mess around with and at this stage it’s going nowhere fast, but why should that always be the case? And really, the only reason why that is the case at the moment is because I haven’t narrowed the page down to have a clear purpose. What’s stopping me from creating something similar?

So what am I going to do about it? Well… baby steps. I’m going to start by setting myself a goal: I want to work up to posting at least once a day about something topical. I want to gain the confidence to put my opinion out there knowing I have the intelligence to form a solid argument. Eventually (dream of dreams) I want this page to provide information and a forum for discussion without the wowsers or the clickbait.

Wish me luck… I’ll need it.

the new homeowner battle

In March, we bought our dream house in the hills just south of Adelaide (I say the hills, and it is, but it’s technically suburban Adelaide and is about 12km from the CBD… This is the beauty of our fair city). Being homeowners is a big new thing for us; we have a (hefty) mortgage and with that comes a new set of Grown Up responsibilities!

No matter how many times you walk through a place during open inspections or who you pay to get building inspections done before you sign on the dotted line, it would seem unlikely you will ever know exactly what you’re in for until you move in. This is definitely the case for us. The past couple of weeks have been big for us in that, at the same time we received our first ever council rates and emergency services levy in the mail, we also received an electricity bill for $1800! I nearly died. How in earth does that even happen. Well, this is how:

A) a pool:

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As you can see, the pool looks a bit on the sad side. The pump is shot and so is the salt water chlorinator (something I just learnt existed).

And B) this old electricity meter:

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Which apparently does not measure off-peak electricity usage (which we use for the pool). Hubby says this is completely common but I had no idea!

So now we need to add the cost of the pump, salt water thingy, and new meter to the ever-growing list of improvements… Unfortunately these ones are on the more urgent end of the list because I don’t think we can afford an $1800 bill every quarter, eeek!

So there you have it, Amelia has just learnt a few valuable lessons in what it’s like to own a home, how electricity works and how to give herself a heart attack. I hope baby doesn;t mind sleeping in a box on the floor because his nursery is on the backburner (don’t worry we’ll get him sorted).

my biggest fear in becoming a parent

The New South Wales government has just revealed a baby died last month from whooping cough and that the child was not vaccinated. Quelle surprise.

We are incredibly lucky to live in a country that enjoys affordable access to quality healthcare and yet we take it for granted. We have this sense of 21st Century entitlement to make our own decisions based on our own precious opinions regardless of whether those opinions are based on fact.

My husband and I are four months away from bringing our own child into the world and, quite frankly, I’m terrified. Hubby and I were raised in a generation where being vaccinated was the absolute norm, the anti-vaccination movement was on the fringe of society and not really gaining much ground and herd immunity was at its strongest. Fast forward twenty years and we see vaccination rates dipping below 95% (and much lower in certain areas) and innocent children suffering the consequences. These are the kids who can’t understand the issue yet so they can’t make the decision for themselves, or the kids who for medical reasons can’t be vaccinated, or the tiny babies who are just too young yet.

Science overwhelmingly supports vaccination in so many ways, but these aren’t the arguments I want to make right now. The fact anti-vaxxers use issues such as Autism to dissuade people from vaccinating also drives me nuts – not only because there’s no link but because these people then demonise conditions such as Autism when we know people who have this condition offer just as much love, beauty and life to our world as anyone else.

But the point I’m really trying to make is a personal (maybe selfish) one: I’m scared for my unborn baby. I’m scared of taking him to a park, a café, a playdate, and getting him sick with something that’s preventable but that he hasn’t been able to build immunity to yet. I’m also scared that he’ll grow into a healthy, wonderful child only to lose a close friend because that child has irresponsible parents who won’t vaccinate. I’m scared that this stupid argument will take hold and my child will grow up in a world where conditions like Autism are feared rather than embraced and understood, and where Science and facts are disregarded for no apparent reason.

I have all these plans to be a great mum but it’s so hard to accept that stupid crap like this, I can’t control.

thailand’s proposed tourist ID bracelets

Just over two weeks ago, two British tourists were murdered on Koh Tao, a picturesque island in the Gulf of Thailand. The (grisly) circumstances still remain something of a mystery which isn’t helped by accusations of local police bungling the investigation.

Coupled with ongoing protests throughout the country (but mainly centred in the capital, Bangkok), tourism numbers appear to be down. I’m waiting for cold, hard statistics to come through on this before I leap out of my chair and blame a particular issue for the decline but the Thai Government is obviously worried because they’ve come up with an idea:

ID bracelets for tourists.

That’s right: Thailand’s Minister for Tourism has proposed the use of ID bracelets with a traveller’s accommodation details and, eventually, some sort of electronic tracking device.

Granted, this isn’t his only idea – curfews and local “buddies” were also suggested – but I want to hear people’s thoughts on heading to an island like Koh Tao or Koh Phangan and being issued with an electronic ID bracelet to avoid getting into trouble. An extension of the type of paper bracelet one wears for admission to music festivals or a nod to Big Brother?

Share your opinions below!

back in the saddle

I promised myself towards the start of the year that I would commit to this page fully and never let it slide. That I wouldn’t let it sit here without being updated, nurtured, and allowed to be the best it could possibly be.

Well, you know what they say about promises.

I again find myself sitting here wondering how to apologise for the two months of neglect. I hope many of you out there can understand that sometimes life gets in the way; maybe you’ve lost someone close to you and found it hard to move forward (not that I wish this upon anyone); or you’ve experienced the joys and frustrations of early pregnancy (that’s right folks!); or you’ve bought a house and started doing some renovations and realised just how time consuming it is… Or you’ve piled all this and more on your plate without knowing how to juggle everything!

So without further ado, I pronounce this the start of more flygirl: more thoughts, more reflections, more disastrous kitchen fails, more everything – I think this blog can be so much better than what it is.

Thanks for sticking with me, you can’t begin to know how much I appreciate it! xx