A new book by midwives from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board aims to promote confidence in the birth process and redress the balance of negative media around birth.
Written by Emma Mills, Clinical Research Midwife and Louise Taylor, Consultant Midwife, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Your Birth: Stories from midwifery led areas is a collection of birth stories written by women, about women, for women.
In 2017 Louise was the project lead and Emma the research associate for the national project ‘Your Birth- We Care’. Data from the survey showed that women wanted to hear positive stories from other women and recognised that within the media they were experiencing a lot of negative messages around birth. Tea parties were held to disseminate results of the survey with service users, and each meeting resulted in women sharing positive birth stories, like the one’s below:
‘To say my whole birthing experience was incredible from start to finish is an understatement. Some people looked at me like I was crazy when I have said how much I enjoyed my labour and the entire birth experience, and in some ways I feel guilty. I felt guilty that I had such an uncomplicated labour where others had struggled and I was afraid to share my story. It took a friend to remind me that amongst the ‘horror’ stories are always the positive ones and they are the ones we should be sharing more often. It isn’t boastful or conceited, it’s our story!’
‘That magical moment just can’t be described in words’
‘So with the lights dimmed and it seeming like we were the only ones in the hospital, me, our midwife and my husband started working through labour. It felt as organic as possible’
A positive birth environment, kind and compassionate support, and access to balanced evidence based information enables women to take control of their births. When this happens, women are more likely to have a birth with low intervention, full of positivity and the joy that becoming a new parent should bring.
The intention of the book is to redress the balance of negative media around birth and give women the confidence to believe in their bodies, to feel positive as they approach birth and to consider a midwifery led setting as an option.
All stories are written in women’s own words. The authors hope that women, their families, midwives and anyone with an interest in birth will get some inspiration, positivity or calm from reading the stories. A priority has been made to ensure that the book is as accessible, readable and affordable for all women regardless of social, educational or financial background.
All royalties from the book will be invested into midwifery led services at the health board including training for midwives in yoga and hypnobirthing, as well as improving the birth environment.
Emma and Louise were recognised for their outstanding work on this project at the recent Wales & South West Maternity & Midwifery Awards where they scooped the Innovation Award for the book.
Your Birth: Stories from midwifery led areas is available from the 10th October 2018 on Amazon.