What Does It Feel Like Being Born is a memoir about having babies, juggling family life and accidentally becoming an activist.
I wrote it because, despite all the talent surrounding me, I couldn’t convince others to write it! Even as we were living it, I knew it was a fantastic story that deserved to be told.
But I didn’t perceive myself as a writer then. A communicator, yes, maybe even a connector, but not someone with the stamina to write a full-length book about something as complex and controversial as the human rights issues surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. That was someone else’s area of expertise, not mine.
But if there’s one field where I can claim to be an expert, it’s my own personal story and the events that occurred in my orbit as I rubbed shoulders with some of the most passionate, clever and political people I’d ever known and admired. Eventually, I arrived at a point of no return. I would start writing, with no great promises, and see what came out.
Fear and memoir are fractious neighbours and for years I fretted about exposing myself, my family and other people I loved. I picked at the edges to avoid embracing the full-frontal impact of the story I knew to be true. What if I get sued? What if I offend? What if I open old wounds? Well, I realised that telling only the sweet half of the story wouldn’t do the real story justice.
So I took a leap of faith and wrote the damn thing with all the raw and visceral stuff that was real to me. I flailed in the middle, feeling I’d walked into quicksand but with some mentoring from two magnificent writers (Leisl Leighton and Louisa Deasey) I finally got to write The End.
With 2020 being the year that it is (the 25th anniversary of the Brisbane Birth Centre, International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife AND a global pandemic) I realised it was now or never. With assistance from Shawline Publishing Group in Melbourne my book has finally made it into the world.
From November 20, 2020 it is available in bookstores and online. If you can’t find it, please ask for it.
And in Janurary 2021 I will be recording an Audiobook version, since my readership are likely to be busy new parents, midwifery students and other maternity services professionals. I hope it satisfies.
It’s 1999 and Jodie doesn’t want children. When her husband threatens, baby or bust, she resists. But 30 is approaching, and her eggs aren’t getting younger.
By chance, Jodie gets access to the only public Birth Centre in South East Queensland; one of two in the entire state. She is profoundly changed by her baby’s beautiful birth and becomes an advocate at the hospital while a larger, national campaign for birth reform is growing.
Having babies herself and supporting others in birth, Jodie uncovers the secret women’s business that conservative obstetricians deny and resist.
In Australia, one-third of all births are caesarean and one in ten women experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. If reproduction is a feminist issue, welcome to the forgotten women’s movement.