Caroline Brewser: Active birth changed my understanding of womanhood and my family’s birth story

It’s the birth experiences of our mothers that are most likely to shape our image of what birth will be like. And for those of us born from the 1960s onwards, the story tends to involve a woman in a hospital, subject to control by those around her, undergoing a ‘procedure’ to extract a baby […]

My perfect NHS home birth: Mia Taylor tells her story

My waters popped on a Sunday afternoon. I was on my exercise ball, watching television, roast dinner in the oven. I’d say ‘popped’ rather than broke as that’s exactly how it felt. There was no great gush or waves of contractions; a mere pop and some suspect fluid – had my pelvic floor finally succumbed […]

Motherhood, birth and creativity

Parallel creation: Lucy Pearce reflects on how motherhood can inspire creativity I drew and painted and moulded clay sculptures like a woman possessed during the latter stages of my pregnancy. Deep, primal feminine images sprang forth. And then, after the birth, I felt like I had been washed ashore in the foreign land of motherhood with […]

Exhausted, scared and alone: Sue Willis describes her post-natal anxiety

Post-natal depression, once hidden and taboo, is now far more widely recognised and understood. Professionals are trained to recognise the signs, undertake diagnostic screening using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and, at least in theory, to provide the necessary support or treatment. Post-natal anxiety, on the other hand, has yet to be fully recognised as […]

Contraception: Are there natural ways that work?

Rachael Hertogs searches for alternative methods I feel let down by medical contraception. Doctors ‘sell’ it to you as a simple and convenient way to enjoy sex without getting pregnant, but that hasn’t been my experience. When I asked about natural contraception my doctor told me that the dose of hormones in the pill would […]