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Birth in Focus: Stories and Photos to Inform, Educate and Inspire

(12 reviews) Write a Review
Becky Reed, foreword by Ina May Gaskin
2016 | paperback | 208pp | 220x170mm
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Birth in Focus - front cover

Birth In Focus offers the reader a chance to see birth made real. Water birth, breech birth, twin birth, Caesarean birth – all are shown in ‘photo stories’, with accompanying text written both by the woman and her midwife, and sometimes also the partner or a child who was present.

Clear images of the birth process provide an excellent educational tool for students, as well as offering inspiration to those who may not have had the opportunity to see birth in this way. A chapter on reflection points for practitioners will help professionals and birth supporters explore further the issues highlighted in the individual stories.

12 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5

    Posted by Jas Jones on 12th Mar 2017

    This book is so close to my heart! It's pictures and stories show the beauty of birth in such an awe inspiring way. A fantastic resource for anyone working with birthing women and indeed women themselves, allowing them to truly believe in the empowerment of birth.

  • 5
    The joy of birth

    Posted by Jo on 13th Feb 2017

    Birth in Focus is a unique and glorious book. My hope is that through its existence a calm and happy home birth will become ever more widely available.<br />The purpose of the book is practical, it educates and demystifies. But equally its realisation is poetic, exciting, and very touching. In reading this feast of adventure stories I often had a smile on my face and a tear in my eye simultaneously. I was spellbound.<br />This book is a record of how birth can be a gentle and joyful experience and it is also an aid to bring that about. Ê<br />We see the intact perineums stretching beautifully and smoothly thanks to the peaceful, unhurried atmosphere. We see the leisurely cutting of the cord by dads and children. Like the mothers giving birth we have total trust in the skill and experience of the midwife. We see women surrounded by their loving friends and family, feeling safe and empowered as they give birth.<br />People who have not previously looked closely at this area of life may be startled initially but thereafter they will be enthralled and reassured. This book deserves to reach the widest possible audience, and it will bring about much good.

  • 5
    THE birth book

    Posted by Daisy Dinwoodie on 27th Nov 2016

    Of all of the birth books I have recommended, including Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Baby Catcher, New Active Birth etc, THIS one is the one I will always now suggest women and their partners see and read. It is easily the loveliest, most informative, beautiful book I have read on birth. I learned so much, and all without feeling as though someone was trying to teach me. The narrative style of personal perspectives and heartfelt accounts of birth are so raw, honest and warm that I felt myself there. I needed to stop during and after each story to feel all the emotion raised in them. Each story is truly unique and beautifully supported by Becky and her team. There is also no 'right way' to birth nor any preaching.<br />The only downside to this book is the sadness I (and I am sure hundreds of other women who knew it firsthand) feel that the Albany Midwifery Practice is no more; that this type of continuous care and support is now a thing of the past.

  • 5
    Beautiful and necessary

    Posted by Rebecca Schiller on 20th Oct 2016

    Birth in Focus is a beautiful and necessary book by a midwife who has seen the reality of safe, positive, respectful birth and wants to share that with others. The stories are engaging - a fascinating insight in to how birth feels to a woman, her partner and the midwife who is supporting the family.<br /><br />The photos are real slivers of an often-unseen world. An empowering and realistic snapshot of the beginning of life and motherhood that I believe could give women confidence in their bodies and those caring for them a sadly all-too-rare insight in to uninterrupted birth.<br /><br />I cried from the first page to the last and gobbled it up in one sitting. I'm looking forward to reading again and I know I'll be lending this brilliant book to friends and family. Thank you Becky - you are an inspiration.

  • 5
    That's the way to do it

    Posted by Rosamond Palmer on 27th Sep 2016

    At last, itÕs happened, a wholly accessible presentation of wonderful birth stories. Becky Reed has created a book which literally illustrates that giving birth is a joyous celebration. When mothers and mothers to be are given continuity of care and midwives are allowed to exercise and develop their skills, then giving birth is a positive experience and not a (potentially doomed) medical procedure.<br />I know IÕm biased because my daughter Lilly and my granddaughter Amelia feature. There is a photo of them on page 24/25 and the expression on AmeliaÕs face seems to be saying: ÓHey Mum, look what we just did.Ó <br />It is a sorry state of affairs that in this country most women view their birthing experiences with negativity. It wasnÕt what they hoped for. Not all the stories in ÒBirth in FocusÓ tell of everything going to plan, I laughed and cried as the birth stories unfolded and new decisions were taken. What prevails through all of the stories is that the clients trust Becky and The Albany midwives to help them make informed choices. <br />The photographs are amazing and shining through all of them is the womenÕs dignity, their power and the love that is shared when humanity gains a foothold. The AlbanyÕs client base of multicultural London reflects a diversity of mums with a diversity of presentations. IÕd be hard pushed to think of a mum to be who didnÕt relate to at least one of the contributors.<br />I wish we lived in a world where similar stories to the ones contained in this book are the norm. This book is an insightful example of how women carry the joy of the day they gave birth with them for the rest of their lives.<br />I celebrate all those who contributed to this book. I hope health professionals, parents to be, NCT teachers and PHSE teachers read this book and then share it. ItÕs an inspiring read.

  • 5
    A beautiful chronicle of births

    Posted by Elizabeth on 20th Sep 2016

    I was absolutely blown away by this book. I started by flicking through the photographs, thinking to read it later, but I was soon sucked in by the pictures and before I knew it had read several birth stories! The births themselves take many varied forms; are told from several perspectives, including the midwife and the mother; and accompanied by graphic photographs from the perspective of the midwife. The angle makes the photographs graphic but not shocking, and my children were interested in them without being upset. The accounts of the mothers really give an insight into how this kind of dedicated maternity care, so rare in our system, can have enormous outcomes for the families using maternity services, even where pregnancies are considered high risk and consultant care is included in the care package. A moving work of art and language.

  • 5
    Birth in Focus

    Posted by Kate Pearce on 19th Sep 2016

    This book, with its moving stories and natural photographs, courageously puts the 'art' back into midwifery in an age which defensively relies on 'science' alone. It really does inform, educate and inspire and is proving very popular with midwifery students and colleagues at the University of Greenwich!

  • 5
    Great education tool

    Posted by O Wiseman on 16th Sep 2016

    As a community midwife and Parent Education facilitator BIRTH IN FOCUS is now part of my essential kit. Amazing resource for anybody interested in what giving birth is really like.

  • 5
    Inspiration for a Student Midwife

    Posted by B. Stoddart on 14th Sep 2016

    This book is a real inspiration, showing women beautifully birthing their babies in the surroundings they have chosen. As a student midwife I am consistently confronted with a fear of birth from midwives and doctors and it is the confidence in women that Becky illustrates so well in this book. The pictures are incredible, so raw and so personal but I can see myself using them to help women achieve a confidence in their own ability to birth their babies. I wish I could thank the women personally for sharing their photos and their stories but it will have to suffice to thank Becky for this wonderful tool and inspiration. I can't recommend it enough for student midwives (as well anyone involved in birth) to show them how beautiful, calm and powerful labouring women can be if they are trusted. I can only hope that I can one day practice like the Albany midwives did, with relationships with women at the centre and with trust and respect of their choices. This book will certainly be with me on the way to that goal.

  • 5
    Congratulations! It's a JOY!

    Posted by Rix on 10th Sep 2016

    Love this book - I want everyone to see it! Young people - it should be a school text book - medics, homeopaths, osteopaths and of course midwives - I hope it goes on the compulsory reading list for midwifery students. <br />Every birth is a positive and wonderful experience. Footling breech, home birthed twins, hospital births, cesarean sections. They all show that if your maternity care is calm, empowering and woman centred - the experience of birthing becomes a joy and not a trauma. Thanks everyone for your generosity in allowing us in to share those amazing stories - and thanks Becky for doing it and Pinter & Martin for publishing this crucially important and timely book.

  • 5
    Both useful and beautiful

    Posted by Karen Hall on 9th Sep 2016

    What I love the most about this book is all the different perspectives. We have a collection of personal stories and photographs, mainly - inevitably - of births that take place at home. There are births in water, breech births, twins and a caesarean; and the stories are told both by midwife Becky Reed and by the mother, and then in several cases also by the partner, a sibling, and even a grandmother. It gives such a fascinating, colourful, and relentlessly positive picture of birth, in all its amazing variety.<br /><br />The stories are then used to illustrate and provide anecdotal evidence for the final chapter, which all too briefly explores the theory of normalizing birth, giving a good overview of relevant research, and a great introduction to the subject for parents-to-be and birth professionals alike. <br /><br />This is a book that is both useful and beautiful, and therefore it has a place in every home!<br /><br />[Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Birth In Focus from the publisher Pinter & Martin.]

  • 5
    Birth in Focus

    Posted by Becky Brien on 7th Sep 2016

    I haven't put the book down since I bought it. I have been showing it to midwives and pregnant women, So much that it's already dog eared. The photos are inspiring and touching and it shows what midwifery is truly about.