WRITINGS ON CHILDBIRTH AND MIDWIFERY
by Jane Beal, PhD
My work as a midwife inspires my work as a writer. I write birth poems, biographies of midwives, and reviews of books about childbirth and midwifery. My work appears in Midwifery Today, BirthWorks International, and International Doula as well as the anthology, All We Can Hold: A Collection of Poetry on Motherhood, and elsewhere. My birth poems have been collected in two volumes, Epiphany and Transfiguration; I am currently in labor with a third, Annunciation. My essays on the lives of midwives are being made available in a series of volumes called Midwives in History. In due time, I plan to write The Wise Mama Childbirth Book, for expectant families; The Cross-Cultural Midwife’s Handbook, for midwives working cross-culturally in the U.S. and internationally; and The Preeclampsia Handbook, on the prevention and treatment of life-threatening maternal high blood pressure occurring in the childbearing year. To learn more about my writing, see sanctuarypoet.net.
Epiphany: Birth Poems (Lulu Press, 2011).
My mother’s face is as round and white
as the full moon
and my face is her perfect mirror —
I am her identical baby twin.
She kisses my face, radiant and smiling,
and my eyes open wide in wonder!
Transfiguration: A Midwife’s Birth Poems (Lulu Press, 2016).
First there was a white wall,
and then there was a lily
with a green stem
suspended in mid-air.
The angel was invisible,
but I could see the petals,
fragrant, open, and white,
so clearly when he laid the flower
in my open arms.
Annunciation: A Mother’s Birth Poems
History of Midwifery
Midwives in History, Vol. 3:
From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
Louise Bourgeois Boursier (1563-1636)
Bridget Lee Fuller (1633)
Jane Sharp (1671)
Elizabeth Cellier (1680)
Justine Sigemund (1689)
Catherine Schraeder (1693-1740)
Sarah Stone (1737)
Angelique le Boursier du Coudray (1759)
Elizabeth Nihell (1760)
Margaret Stephen (1795)
Martha Mears (1797)
Martha Ballard (1785-1812)
Midwives in History, Vol. 2:
From the Later Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period
Trota of Salerno
“Lanyero Karamela: A Midwife of Uganda,”
Midwifery Today (Spring 2014), 28-29. Print.
Review of Optimal Care in Childbirth by Henci Goer and Amy Romano, BirthWorks Blog