Sun 10th Jun 2007 by Ben Palmer.

Last Thursday was Harry's birthday which means I've been a Dad for 6 years and 3 days, and I now know what it really means to be a parent. For the first 3 years and 3 weeks I could have been a much better one. Since then, though, I've been a Mum as well, and I have to take my hat off to all mothers for their patience and hard work. All of us Dads should.

Admittedly, I have a fantastic Nanny to help with the children during the day five days a week, but she's been on holiday and honeymoon for the last two weeks and won't be back for another three days (and counting), and our cleaner's away as well - so things have been fairly fraught around the house recently.

Car crashes, TV interviews, campaigning, Harry's 6th birthday and his party aside, when I haven't been working I've been cooking, cleaning, shopping, bathing, dressing, clearing up 'puddles', reassuring and loving for my children, and I'm exhausted. The house is a total mess, but our clothes, although not ironed, are clean. Harry has done his homework and he and Emily are bathed with clean hair and tucked up in bed.

At the children's party we went to at Battersea Zoo this afternoon, the birthday boy's Mum, Nicky, said to me, "I don't know how you do it, Ben. I really don't."

To me, the answer is obvious. I do it because I have no choice and because I love my children. I don't like the hand we've been dealt, but I'm sure as hell going to play it to the best of my ability.

I wish I hadn't waited until Jessica's death to take the opportunity.

tags: valley

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What is childbed fever?

Childbed fever is an infection of the womb in new mothers which can lead to septicaemia. If left untreated infection will cause organ failure and death - even in young, fit mothers.
What are the symptoms? »
Childbed fever: the facts »

What's the aim?

We would like every parent and every midwife and doctor to know that childbed fever is still a very real threat to a mother's life.
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Who is Jessica?

Jessica Palmer was a Mum. She died in June 2004, at 34 years old, of childbed fever caused by Group A streptococcus.
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