This book tells the inspiring story of Virginia Howes and how she came to be an independent midwife, which she has been doing for 14 years. It’s not a typical career path though: young mum, kissogram, midwife! It’s written in a lovely, friendly, down-to-earth style, and you feel as though you are sitting down and having a nice cup of tea and a chat with Virginia as she tells her stories.
Virginia’s book gives a good insight into hospital birth and working on a maternity ward, from describing her own birth experiences (I assumed she must have had all lovely positive home births which is not the case) and while she was training. I know things have improved since then but I do feel that a lot of what is considered normal practice in hospitals is done for the convenience of the hospital staff, and not necessarily to the benefit of the mother and baby. There is also an element of luck involved as to what type of midwife you get when you arrive – one that wants to be in control of the situation or one who is happy to take a woman-centred approach.
However the absolute best thing about this book is the birth stories. If you’ve ever had a baby, are expecting one or would like to have one, this book is full of lovely stories that will bring a tear to your eye. Some are heartwarming, some funny, some dramatic and some very sad. They are all well worth reading. If you’re a midwife or thinking of becoming one you should definitely read this book and think hard about the type of midwife you want to be.
This book also makes me a bit sad that not all women have access to this kind of care during pregnancy and birth. Having had Virginia as my independent midwife during my second pregnancy, I know from first-hand experience that it makes such a difference to have continuity of care and have someone that you know and trust, and who knows you, your history and your wishes, at the birth. It was lovely to be treated like a person rather than a disaster waiting to happen. Sadly this type of care might not be available much longer as Independent Midwifery will become illegal due to EU Legislation which means independent midwifes have to have insurance – yet no insurance is currently available for them to buy!
I read this book in under a week – no mean feat with a 3 year old and a newborn baby in the house! I found it unputdownable, and I’ve already lent it to one of my friends who is expecting. It was really interesting to learn about Virginia’s life and what led her to become a midwife. I’d just like to know if my birth story might feature in one of Virginia’s future books!