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In Scottish Gaelic, of which my great-grandmother Isabella Douglas spoke just a few words, Cailleach (pronounced kar-lee-ack) means old woman. Cailleach derives from the Latin pallium, for woollen cloak, which became the Gaelic adjective caille, veilled. Cailleach carries the sense of an ‘old-woman-alone-in-herself’, or ‘old-woman-healer’. 

I’d like to share my personal writing, lift back that cloak. (For my ongoing professional work for parents with babies and toddlers, and the Neuroprotective Developmental Care or Possums programs, please visit Here, I'd like to share thoughts and quotes which inspire courage, which speak to my values, which nourish the life of the soul. 

I’ve been writing all my life, actually. This is not just professional writing, such as my research papers or NDC/Possums programs or The Discontented Little Baby Book. (Or Breastfeeding Stripped Bare, which is about four-fifths done!) In 2009 I was proud to receive a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for an Emerging Manuscript (Fiction), and here I share from this and other more personal and literary work – including from my PhD in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies and the as yet unpublished Bone Mother: A Memoir in Milk.

I'm also keen to share reflections on my attempts as a generalist doctor to make a contribution toward health system change, in the hope that this might encourage you as you make your own unique contribution to a better world. We all have to pull hard together now in our little rowboat of human life, since the planet herself is crying out for our help. 

I hope you will join me! Sometimes I lay my hands quietly, with her consent, on a patient’s tender flesh, and see that somehow my hands have turned into a Cailleach’s. 


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