New book features Limerick women’s voices self-advocacy during childbirth

Danilly Carvalho (right) with other authors of the Giving Birth in Ireland book. Photo: Aoife Long.

A NEW book, co-written by a number of Limerick women, aims to shed light on the experience of giving birth in Ireland and highlight alternative ways that women can chose to give birth.

Giving Birth in Ireland was the brainchild of Su Huschke, a birth doula and health researcher, and brings together the stories of different women, including mothers, midwives, and doulas, covering all topics around giving birth in Ireland.

The book covers home births, induction, c-sections, and what to expect from the postnatal ward, among other topics.

The group, called the Irish Birth Movement, aims to educate and empower women about all the steps involved in giving birth in Ireland and how to advocate for themselves during the process.

One of the authors of the book, Danilly Carvalho, who lives in Ardnacrusha, told the Limerick Post about her own experience.

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“My chapter is about saying no to induction. I was on the home birth scheme, but you can only go to a certain time on the scheme and once you go over that deadline you go back to the maternity system. If you go into labour, you go back to labour in the maternity,” Danilly explained.

Danilly said that she wanted to wait for her baby to be born naturally, but faced a lot of pressure from doctors who wanted to induce her because she was overdue – despite her and her baby both being healthy.

“I was 42 weeks and, because of that, I had to start considering the maternity to birth,” she said.

“On my last checkup there before I went into labour, I got a lot of pressure from the doctor there. That was on a Wednesday morning and he was saying that he would make calls and see if there was a room available.

“I left the room, I went to the front of the building, and I broke down crying.

“I went back in and I said ‘no, but I’m willing to negotiate’, and he said we’ll induce you on Friday morning at eight o’clock.”

The Limerick mother went into labour that evening and the planned induction was called off.

It was through Su Huschke’s research that she met Danilly and, through their conversations, the idea for the book – in which each chapter tells the story of a different mother – came to life.

“There’s some really raw personal stories, you have the research evidence, the common intervention, everything is there that explains how the maternity system works,” Danilly explained.

Giving Birth in Ireland is available online from the Sheelagh Na Gig bookstore in Cloghjordan, County Tipperary, and the group is looking for more local bookshops to stock the book.

All funds raised from sales go back into the project itself and the printing of further copies.