I’ve been using performance poetry as a creative medium to speak about childbirth to groups of midwives, student midwives, doulas, obstetricians and the public.
‘Spoken Word Poetry’ has existed for millennia to change attitudes and beliefs and I’ve found it’s a great way to convey the message that pregnant women need to be listened to, offered choice and supported in their decisions.
I’ve spoken at some amazing conferences, midwifery study days and birth events both within the UK and internationally.
I’m pictured below at a conference in Norway with Ina May Gaskin and Dr Sarah Wickham, both outstanding thought leaders and writers in the field and whose work I always recommend. The conference was called ‘Women’s Rights In Childbirth: Take Back Control 2016!
It was my 1st International poetry venture!
If you’d like to hear some of my poems, this one went crazy viral on Facebook. It’s about Bullying in Midwifery.
💥I was asked to write it by a midwife friend who had been bullied in the workplace so I asked on a #Facebook forum for victims of bullying in midwifery for the lines used against them.
It was probably the longest thread I’ve ever created!
💥I wanted REAL voices
💥The poem was created with as many of the lines as I could. And reduced it all down to 5 minutes.
💥It’s both epic and alarming
💥I hope by writing this the bullies recognise themselves and stop and those who are bullied realise it too and seek support and understanding.
💥It’s called “Illegitimi Non Carborundum” – Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down
Here is ‘Addiction To Convention’. I uploaded this version to the @WeMidwives 2 minute twitter chat.
The next poem, I can’t take all the credit for. I co-wrote it with Ben Mellor, an award-winning Manchester based spoken artist.
It’s called “It’s Not Because” and it was written to promote the series of crowdfunded videos I made after the birth of my 2nd child featured on the BBC1 documentary “Childbirth All Or Nothing”. I felt I had more say!
This one’s called The Being Midwife and it’s inspired by the work of Consultant Midwife Dr Tracey Cooper and the amazing One To One midwife who was at Seraphina’s birth, Emma Healey.
I wrote this one for the Birthplace Matters campaign.
I have a few more too and am writing one that directly addresses midwifery students and one about the language we use in the birth room and around pregnant women.
I aim to educate, inspire and connect with parents to be, birthworkers and society at large.
To book me for an event or to register your interest, feel free to send me a message.
Women deserve to know they are strong.
Students and birth workers must reflect on whether they are helping the women get the birth SHE wants.
The ‘powers that be’ need to collect what is known, appropriately fund and implement workable guidance so midwives can work in a way that feels right to them giving women the best chance of birthing the way they want to.
We need more midwives, continuity of care, true woman centred care, sensible paperwork and protocols that are evidence based as opposed to risk averse.
From the top down, and from the bottom up; that’s the way things are going to change.
You can see some of my poems in MY SHOP brought to life by the fabulous artist Stephanie Green.
Some events I’ve performed at so far include:
The Women’s Voices Conference, London 2017
The 12th International Normal Labour and Birth Conference, Grange Over Sands 2017
KG Hypnobirthing Conference, Manchester 2017
Manchester Homebirth Conference 2016
The Women’s Voices Conference, London 2016
Women’s Right’s in Birth, Drammen, NORWAY 2016
Green Gathering Festival 2016 (Radical Wales Stage)
The Yard Open Mic, Alderley Edge 2016
The Wonder Inn Open Mic hosted by Gideon Conn 2016
Women and Wellbeing Festival 2016
Bradford Midwifery Society Conference 2016
MAMA Conference, Ayrshire 2016
Doula UK, London 2016
Salford Midwifery Society Conference, March 2016
Manchester Home Birth Conference 2015
Harrogate Midwifery Study Day, 2015
Home Birth Group, Wythenshawe 2015
Positive Birth Group, Altrincham 2015
Green Gathering Festival, Chepstow 2015