Promoting normal birth on the Throne of Words


When I was invited to Southlands High School in Chorley to talk about my book Catching Babies, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The email inviting me specified that the health and social care students in year 10 would ask me questions in relation to my career as a midwife. This was quite a different process to what I am used to; I usually give a short talk about my career and my book, and the questions follow. But this group of 40 14 years olds hadn’t read my book, but were as their teacher later told me ‘interested in healthcare professions’.

So I arrived at the school at 8.30 ready for the 9 o’clock bell and first session of the morning. I was warmly welcomed by one of the subject teachers, Jill. Jill explained that the students had prepared questions for me, and she thought the questions were bob on.

As I watched the girls (no boys in this group!) slope in, in couldn’t help propelling their teachers into the realms of the most esteemed group of professional workers; coping with this adolescent group on a daily basis. Respect.

But I was impressed with their questions. ‘What do you think about home birth?’ was the first enquiry. ‘What was your  scariest moment?’ ‘When I watch “One Born Every Minute” women say they can’t go on, what do you do in those situations?’

So. I was able to talk to these impressionable young women about birth. Birth as a right of passage, birth as a normal physiological process- a social occurrence not a medical procedure. I realised that this was a wonderful opportunity, and I was in a very privileged position.

I wonder what they thought?


6 comments on “Promoting normal birth on the Throne of Words

  1. Fantastic Sheena – imagine if someone with a similar faith in normal birth to you was to visit every school to do this. How amazing would that be?

    I would love to see this kind of true education happen at infant, junior and senior level – giving age appropriate information on womanhood, menstruation, contraception, concious conception and pregnancy…. I think the world would become a pretty different (and rather splendid) place…

    If you ever have a dull moment (irony intended) maybe you could do some more of this! xx

    • Thank you Jenn! Yes I think it would we a great idea, and would certainly increase the potential to normalise birth. Incidentally one of the teachers told me they use recordings of One Born Every Minute to demonstrate poor communication, and how damaging it is. Isn’t that awful? True I am afraid. Appreciate you taking time to comment x

      • Awful that such a bad example of communication can come from the birth world, but good that it’s been identified as poor and that these impressionable young people are being shown it in that context.

      • Yes true on both counts Jenn. We really do need to influence positively….Thanks for message!

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