Women matter.

“No baby should have to grow up without its mother,” the adverts for Christian Aid Week proclaim dramatically.

Every morning this week, I’ve heard the same advert. It’s talking about women dying unnecessarily in childbirth. And this hits home to me. Maybe I’m being egotistical here, but I can’t help but put myself in the position of one of those women.

I had a long and complicated labour. I had an infection that, if I hadn’t had access to the monitoring and medicine we’re blessed to have in this country, would probably have killed me. (As it is, they caught it in time, put some miraculous antibiotics through my IV, and I was able to continue my labour, delivery and recovery.) But for a different roll of the dice 31 years ago, I would have died in childbirth. And it would have been a tragedy.

But not just for my daughter. She would have, hopefully, gone on to lead a full life. Yes, being motherless would not be the ideal way I’d want her to grow up, but her father and her grandparents would have done a fine job raising her. Her whole life would be ahead of her.

You know who it would have been really tragic for? Me. If I’d died, the worst tragedy would have been that my life was cut short. There’s a lot that I still want to do and experience. I’m not ready to go yet, and I certainly wasn’t ready to go when I was labouring to bring my daughter into this world.

Women have value in themselves. We are people in our own right, and that should be enough of a reason to want to stop us dying unnecessarily in childbirth. Not just because it’s sad for our babies. Because so many of these deaths are preventable, and no human being deserves to die a preventable death.

I don’t believe that Christian Aid are discounting the mother’s humanity. Their adverts talk about the achievements the mothers have had, the adversities they’ve overcome. So why, when it comes to getting people to put their hands in their pockets and support them, do they suddenly forget about the mother and focus on the baby?

Is it for the same reason that women find it harder to be taken seriously by doctors when we’re in pain? Or the reason that maternal mortality in the US is going up, not down – particularly for women who aren’t white? The reason that it’s so hard to get maternal health, both mental and physical, taken seriously, as long as your baby’s been born healthy?

Is the reason that we are just not the priority? We’re just the mothers of the next generation? What about our daughters? Who are they?

I don’t know, but it’s not a pretty picture. And we need to fight this mentality. Because we’re already seeing in the US what will happen if we just roll over and let it be.

We need an army of empowered, angry women to be able to do it. Not just for the sake of their children. The mothers matter too.

How much do rabbits cost?

Rabbits cost so little. Rabbits are an easy pet. Let’s get the kids a rabbit for Easter.

Sound familiar?

Last call to get the message out there: please, please, please do not buy a rabbit as an Easter gift. They are not an “easy”, “cheap” or “starter” pet.

How much do rabbits cost?

When Ned came into our lives, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. He cost £25, and we probably spent around £100 on supplies (cage, carriers, food, etc.). Considering that was to share with his brother, seems pretty cheap, right?

Hahahahaha.

No.

Let me tell you the full cost of Ned.

At his first vet visit (free at our vets as it was his baby check up), they noticed that his lungs were crackly. Antibiotics for seven days and come back in a week for another appointment. (£30 and £24.)

This continued for three weeks (£30 and £24 each time). We applied for insurance for him, and this was now a preexisting condition. So he’s not covered for this. But better get the insurance anyway, right? (£10/month.)

Oh, better get him vaccinated, too. (£80.)

He and his brother fight and we can’t have Ned neutered as he’s too ill. They won’t bond while one is still intact. We separate them, so now two rooms in our house are dedicated to rabbits. They’re both lonely, so we get them soft toys and spend all our time with them. We’ve not been on holiday since 2015.

Ned continues to decline. He has a runny nose, breathes through his mouth and his eyes weep with pus constantly. We try more and more medication, not always authorised for rabbits. (£Is anyone adding this up any more? Some of them were pricey.) We have pretty much weekly vet visits for eight months. (£24 each time, plus the cost of whatever antibiotic or anti-inflammatory he’s on this time.)

Our vet refers us to a specialist. 50 miles away. (£Petrol.) He sedates Ned for x rays and tear duct flushing. (£400.) More medication. Zithromax finally works on him. (£Adding this up is soul destroying.) We do this twice. (£Double it.) We start to see improvement! Yes!

Then Ned hits his head and gets an abscess. (£24 vet visit, £pricey antibiotics as he’s now developed a resistance to most of the most common ones for bunnies.)

He’s finally well enough that he’s hit puberty. Ruins a carpet. (£300.) After a couple more specialist consultations (£30 x 2), we feel confident enough to get him neutered, and the vet does his tear ducts again while he’s under. (£300.)

It’s been a year since his last vaccinations. Oh, and now there are two lots, one for the new and even more terrifying hemorrhaging disease! (£80 and £80, double it if you have two rabbits.)

Is anyone adding this up? I tried to once. It wasn’t pretty.

We could have stopped at any point. We could have taken him off the medication and stopped taking him to the vet and watched him slowly choke to death, because that’s what would have happened. Or we could have paid a reluctant vet to put him down.

But then we wouldn’t have Ned in our lives now. Our beautiful Ned, who plays with our toddler so happily, who binkies so high sometimes you think he’s going to take off, who sneaks into the airing cupboard any time our backs are turned, who loves nothing more than to climb up our backs and sit triumphantly on us. And that’s why I don’t add up the cost, because I’d have paid twice what I have just to have him in my life.

He’s still got extra needs – his very flat face means he has malformed tear ducts, which leak regularly. He needs his face washing by humans sometimes, and by Barbara Rabbit every single day. He is now resistant to several kinds of antibiotics.

And if you’re thinking, “Well, I’d just get a healthy rabbit. This is really rare”, then think again. We thought Ned was healthy. The super cute, flat faced mini lops are really prone to these issues. And even our “healthy” bunny Gingee racked up a few hundred pounds’ worth of vet bills in the weeks before he died, apart from his usual preventative care.

Rabbits are really not a cheap or easy pet. We think they’re worth it.