Thoughts on: Birth in Focus, Becky Reed

“Looking at birth”

Becky Reed has captured something quite magical in these pages. The way she describes her own birth story makes my own heart flutter with the excitement I felt at the first signs of labour.

The photos are incredibly, humanly beautiful - the imperfect lighting and non-professional quality making them all the more powerful in my opinion.

If you are not used to looking at photos of birth then it may take a moment for your brain to adjust to the very intimate and often unseen view of a baby being born. If you can give yourself some time to re-calibrate and adjust, like you do when you get up for a wee in the night, sort of just stand there a moment blinking and waiting for things to settle, and while you wait, read the words I think the adjustment will be smoother than you think.

There are so many brilliant examples of normal birth and the environment that leads to that. This might not be the first book I gave to a nervous birth partner, but I would love it to be in the ones that a birth partner read in preparation for supporting a birth. How much strength it could give a partner to know that what they are seeing is normal, that this knowledge could allow them to relax and give all of their strength to the birthing woman.

The last chapter of the book discusses the outcomes of the Albany midwives who were able to practice continuity of care, respected midwives’ and womens’ autonomy, promoted normal birth and knew the importance of environment. Inspirational information for woman centered care in maternity services.

I am sitting here now after reading the book, feeling a little hollow. I feel sad that this book does not represent what birth professionals are seeing daily. I am sad that this is not the norm and that everyone cannot have Becky Reed as their midwife. That’s not to say there are not amazing midwives doing excellent work and giving quality care every day, but so often they are hampered by frameworks and expectations and exhaustion.

And follow the link if you would like to read more on the fascinating Albany Midwifery model of care: working in partnership with women.