Confessions from the gyno’s chair: What it’s really like to start maternity leave in Germany…2 weeks before Christmas

Whoever said maternity leave was easy obviously did not start their 36th week of pregnancy in soupy 5° C, surrounded by Stollen, ‘evenings’ that commence at 3:45pm, the heady scent of Bratwurst and Gebrannte Mandel wafting through the air at the Christmas markets and itchy wool stockings. And so it begins. Mutterschutz. This is the official period 6…

Darkness and Light. Time and Place in the life of a refugee

His body, lying flat. His arms and limbs, lifeless. This was the picture of that little boy whose life was taken by the sea, a little boy who compelled the world to sit up and take not just notice. But action. He was not just a photo. He was and always will be, a boy. His name was Aylan. His older brother Galip and his mama, they too were taken by the sea, for all the world to see.  I was wondering how to approach this blog post, as I had started it a few days before the little boy’s death when news emerged of the plight of the Syrian refugees who perished in a truck at the hands of human traffickers .And now I have added in some other parts to reflect my anger, hope and pride not just as a writer, but also as a mama, at what is happening in Berlin and Germany with the tide of new refugee arrivals.