I was invited to write about my experience giving birth to children for wwwbirthdebate.com.
B!RTH is an international theatre festival developed by the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and The Oglesby Charitable Trust to provoke debate on a global scale and question one of the key issues of our time, the vast inequality in healthcare across the world. The Royal Exchange Theatre has commissioned seven leading female playwrights from across the globe (Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Syria, UK and USA) to explore this issue through their country’s approach to childbirth.
Here is the article that has been published.
I have had 14 children
Where did you give birth or where was the birth you witnessed?
Can you describe where your/the birth was?
I have had 14 children, all of whom were born in maternity centres in Northern Ireland.
Who was present at your/the birth?
My husband and a midwife.
Can you describe the experience of giving birth or watching the birth?
I am a mother who has given birth to fourteen healthy children. I have the blessing of living in Northern Ireland, where family is valued and we have free health care. When I went into labour with all of my children I attended the local maternity unit. I was always so glad when my labour pains started. I trusted the experienced midwives to look after me. I had faith each time and knew it would not be long until I would nursed my new infant. I always enjoyed my stay in the maternity centre. I remember that the staff were kind and that I and my new baby were well cared for. It was like a holiday and rest for me every time! Oh, how I enjoyed the tea and toast the midwife rewarded me with after I gave birth. I then enjoyed a long sleep, relieved that all was well with me and baby. I stayed in hospital as long as I could.
I only asked for gas and air to help me with the labour pains near the delivery. Thankfully I did not need any epidural pain relief or need to delivery any of my babies by Caesarean Section. I did not have any stitches for thirteen of my fourteen children and my wonderful and supportive husband was at my side for every delivery. Each delivery of the new baby was a special time for us both.
My babies ranged in size from seven pounds to twelve pounds and there were no complications with any deliveries. I breast fed thirteen of my fourteen children, most for up to twelve months. I recovered well from each delivery without complications.
During my labours I did not have any monitors attached to me. The midwives just listened to the heart beat every other minute or so. I felt secure that my baby was going to be well. I believe my faith in God kept me safe in childbirth. However, I also appreciate and so thankful for the skilled doctors and midwives that took good care of me during my labours.
My daughter Mary, who is a doctor, has published three blogs on the same website. Also my daughter Hannah who is a midwife.