A heart warming account of life as a midwife, from Maria deciding to become a midwife at 15 after her youngest brother was born to fainting during the first three labours she attended as a student!
The book follows Maria through her career from her initial training as a nurse and deciding to move away from home (Newcastle to Surrey) in order to pursue her career. Following her journey to work at different hospitals and becoming a mum herself. The journey sees Maria transform into an assured and accomplished midwife.
The book tells of the variety of situations midwives can experience, caring for wealthy mothers to-be or those just a few streets away who are living in socially deprived areas and sometimes even squalid conditions.
Maria also encounters delivering the babies of and caring for women who are prisoners, drug addicts or drunks and those who have been suffering from physical abuse or mental illness.
Working in a London hospital with many multicultural patients from very diverse backgrounds and situations, Maria conveys an open mindedness that must be so essential in such a caring, person centred profession.
The story of each birth is told honestly and without judgement and the book is a fascinating insight into what it’s like to be a midwife. One thing that strikes me is the many different people and personalities midwifes can encounter. From the inspirational people who find positives from the most awful of circumstances to those who show no respect for the professionals that are trying to care for them or their partners. Even one woman who howls like a wolf and takes a bite out of her placenta!
The book also describes how Maria and her colleagues have worked hard to inform and encourage women to breastfeed in areas where the success rate was extremely poor and despite not receiving funding creating campaigns to get the message across. And what a difference caring midwives can make in the community, from encouraging more education to supporting woman from deprived areas or abusive relationships and even helping those that feel as if they are alone to connect with others.
The final pages of the book remind us of the recent staff cuts that have been made and how more midwives are needed to ensure women have a safe and positive birth.
One wonders whether, due to the shortage, the midwives of the present day and the future will have such fond memories of their careers and if they will be able to provide the level of care and enthusiasm for their jobs, as Maria clearly has, if they are not properly supported.
If you are curious as to what it’s really like to be a midwife then this book is a definite read. Easy to read, the book takes you through the highs and lows of what working in this profession can bring and what a wonderful, yet demanding, job midwives do.
(Headline, paperback, £6.99)
Review by Jill Westhead, morethanmummies.com
Disclosure: More Than Mummies was sent a complimentary copy of this book to review. All views expressed are that of the reviewer.
Available on Amazon
If you would like to win a copy of Tales of a Midwife by Maria Anderson we have one to give away see for more details. Closes midnight 28th May 2012
We have a wonderful article on our website The Royal College of Midwives Petition – Why I became involved by Louise Williams if you would like to find out more about the current shortage of midwives.
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