Since the last column, life has changed considerably in my household.
As many of you know, our baby daughter Orla was born five weeks ago.
My husband and I have been touched by the kind wishes and congratulations.
Orla has already sampled train travel so that I could take part in the Home Affairs Select Committee meeting last week into the border checks scandal.
However, as the last five weeks haven’t involved a weekly commute to London, I’ve been able to spend more time based in the North East.
We’ve come such a long way in terms of facilities for parents. We take for granted the changing facilities, accessible buses and the fact that many shops and cafes now actively welcome mothers nursing their babies.
I’m grateful to those who campaigned to make this happen and the benefits it brings to family life in this country.
Click here to view the original article published by the Sunderland Echo on Wednesday 23rd November 2011.