About The Book

The Birth Journeys book

Stop listening to horror stories. Be encouraged and inspired! Birth Journeys is a collection of 29 diverse birth stories by Australian women (and men) written to encourage, inspire and reassure you. Find out how beautiful and powerful every birth can be by reading these positive, uplifting and truthful stories.

Birth Journeys is not a collection of ideal or perfect births. The stories in Birth Journeys reflect a wide range of experiences: caesareans, VBACs and births in hospital, birth centres and at home. They include first births, second, third and fifth births, twins and emergencies.

The stories were handpicked with feedback from mothers, midwives and educators to share different positive and inspiring journeys. Birth Journeys shows that a caesarean can be an empowering and positive birth as can a drug-free water birth. While a ‘perfect’ birth is not always possible, every woman deserves and can achieve a positive birth.

The beautiful and powerful stories in Birth Journeys share the physical and emotional experiences of pregnancy and birth with great honesty and warmth. These stories prepare you for birth in a way that a guide to pregnancy and childbirth does not. Instead of focusing on timings, measurements and medical descriptions, the stories in Birth Journeys share the human experience of birth with sensitivity, honesty and joy.

Birth Journeys offers ideas you can use for preparing for your own positive birth — the best beginning to motherhood.

Birth Journeys also contains informative contributions from some of Australia’s leading midwives, academics, doulas, birth educators, organisations and authors including Dr Sarah J. Buckley, Dr Hannah Dahlen, David Vernon and Gabrielle Targett.

See the full list of professional contributions

Birth Stories

The Wise Woman

Iman is a fully veiled Muslim woman. Her first birth begins as a negative and frightening experience, yet it ends in an incredible and positive birth. Iman is heading towards an emergency caesarean until her wise mother-in-law arrives and completely turns it all around.

The Long Swim

Kellie's longed-for IVF baby is born in hospital quickly, naturally and simply, just as she imagined. This story shows the power of a positive attitude. Kellie's labour is like the beach swims she loves to take: strenuous and challenging, but also exhilarating and rewarding.

Answered Prayer

Linda’s beliefs about birth change dramatically when her 'hippy' neighbours share the joy of their recent birth. She remains open to new ideas and possibilities in pregnancy and labour. Linda comes to understand that birth is normal, natural and very exciting!

The Gift

After overcoming infertility, Hanako has a beautiful pregnancy and a calm and confident natural birth in her local birth centre. It transforms her — she decides to become a midwife and to share the gift of calm, confident and beautiful birth with other women.

Midwife to Mother

Bree is a midwife. She is at ease with birth, yet she is still swept up in the uncertainty and enormity of her own first birth at home. During labour, Bree must make the shift from the observant midwife to the labouring mother who surrenders and yields to the experience.

Mind the Shoes

Although proud of her first labour, Marigold is motivated to prepare for an even better experience for her second birth. After a beautiful and enjoyable pregnancy, she goes on to have a straightforward water birth. Marigold is confident and at ease with birth.

Mother's Love

Pregnancy, birth and the experience of motherhood changes Elaine, giving her new confidence, trust in herself and in birth. Elaine takes an active role in her care and overcomes hurdles by trusting her body, knowledge and experience. Her second birth is calm and peaceful.

My Monkey Self

Christina’s journey is one of healing and accepting responsibility for her wellbeing and birth. After a traumatic first birth, Christina understands that she needs to feel protected and unobserved during labour. She chooses a model of care and the carers that will meet her needs.

Water Baby

Christian's second daughter's birth is a water birth in hospital. His story shows that pregnancy and birth can be a wonderful journey for men too. The tenderness, love and pride Christian has for his wife and children shine through in this simply told, beautiful story.

Mother's Day

After her first baby is born, Michelle begins a journey of learning about pregnancy and birth. She realises the importance of known, trusted carers and a safe, nurturing environment for a positive birth experience. She has a wonderful second birth at home.

Instinctive Birth

Chrissy changes over to a new homebirth program provided by her birth centre. Chrissy’s story shows that birth is a natural physical process. A woman’s body instinctively does what is needed when the process is uninhibited by fears or unnecessary interventions.

Unstoppable

Early in Tania’s second pregnancy she is plunged into life as a single mother and she struggles to cope. Tania has so much against her, but she never gives up. She chooses to be strong. Just when she feels she can’t go on, birth takes over. Like Tania, birth is unstoppable.

Continuity of Care

Michelle’s homebirth story teaches us that the birthing woman’s relationship with her carer is paramount. The continuity of care Michelle receives enables her to feel safe and secure. This is important when she has to transfer to hospital after the birth.

How I Met You

Chris shares the story of his second child’s birth at home in a moving letter written to his daughter. He writes with warmth and humour, but beneath the surface there are insights into the experience of pregnancy and birth from a dad’s point of view.

Patience, Surrender

There are many lessons to be learnt from birth. Sarah seizes every opportunity to learn and reflect on her feelings, her needs and her experiences. The result is an empowering first birth and an even more powerful second birth, both at home.

Sharing Birth

Miatta’s third birth is a straightforward, normal birth in hospital with her family present. Miatta's story reminds us that birth is a precious gift to share across the generations. Birth is not only about mother and baby, it affects families, communities and cultures.

From Experience

Annette’s first birth is a shattering, traumatic experience. Her second birth is a beautiful, empowering natural birth. These two births happen in the same hospital – the contrast between them is remarkable. Why are they so different and what has changed?

Beautiful Birth

Michelle’s second baby is born at home as the sun rises over the hills on her parents’ farm. As she surrenders to labour, Michelle is surrounded by the love, encouragement and support of her husband, mother and midwife. The mood is serene and reverent.

A Splash of Magic

April’s second birth is very fast – her baby is born in less than an hour. She has a planned unassisted homebirth. She feels safe birthing at home with only her family present. She knows she will labour best when she is uninhibited: no interruptions and no outside observers.

I Am Woman

The anger and hurt Jessica feels after her first birth is palpable. She feels betrayed, violated and damaged. She seeks a different outcome for her second birth. Jessica’s journey from pain and bitterness to accomplishment, strength and joy, is moving and compelling.

Beacon of Light

Despite antenatal and postnatal depression, her husband’s alcoholism, her marriage breakdown, severe placenta praevia and her physical and emotional violation by a health professional, Natasha has the positive and intervention-free birth she dreams of.

Transformation

Christine’s VBAC story reveals the internal struggles of preparing for birth after an emergency caesarean. She has to deal with the legacy of her caesarean and let go of her doubts and fears about birth. Through this journey her feelings towards birth are transformed.

Prepare, Persevere

Donna’s first baby was premature, born by emergency caesarean after her waters broke at 34 weeks. Donna was told she would never be able to birth naturally. Her second daughter was born vaginally after a long, challenging and fulfilling labour in hospital.

Triumphant Birth

Despite her past trauma and the hardships of her second pregnancy, Jo is indomitable. Her story is powerful, challenging and emotional. It culminates in her triumphant vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) at home.

Double Surprise

When Carrie discovers that her fourth baby is going to be twins, her world is turned upside down. Life is busy with a new car, house extensions and preparing for two new babies. Carrie shows that it is possible to have the birth you want through calm, confident communication.

Making a Choice

With declining health and growing anxiety, Jaimie chooses an elective caesarean. She feels empowered through making her choice even though it is not the birth she had planned. Jaimie goes on to have a positive caesarean birth experience.

The Moment

Rebecca’s second birth has not gone to plan. There is a complication and her baby needs help to be born. Rebecca’s story teaches us that even an emergency caesarean can be a powerful and beautiful birth experience when a mother’s wishes are met and respected.

Empowered

Hellena is a strong, confident and experienced birthing woman with a firm belief in unhindered natural birth. Through needing a caesarean for her fifth birth, Hellena shows that each birth experience is an opportunity for us to be enriched, challenged and to learn.

My Journey

Leonie's second birth is a homebirth. It was such an amazing experience for her that it led her to produce this book of positive birth stories, to share the joy of birth with other women, to show that positive birth is possible and that each women deserves it.

This is the holy grail for first-time pregnany mums. No other book will give you the confidence and comfort that this book does. Birth Journeys truly does encourage and inspire! (Samantha Brock, planning her first pregnancy.)

I'm LOVING your project! I will definitely be buying a few copies of the book for my own Doula Library! We need as women to encourage these positive birth stories to ensure first time mums (especially) and women who have had difficult experiences understand it CAN be different! (Sallee S.)

An inspiring book! After three years of trying to come to terms with my daughter's traumatic birth, this book was the final piece of the puzzle for me. I'm so pleased that women will have the opportunity to read such honest and beautiful stories. Thank you. (Sarah B., Brunswick Heads)