36,703 copies sold:time to reflect



If asked, I would really consider myself a family girl, a mum and a grandmum, a sister, wife, aunty and great aunty! And I have loved working as a midwife. I had often thought about writing our family stories when my wonderful mother lost her speech following a dreadful stroke when she was in her 60s, and she lost her ability to speak. When the opportunity came to write a book it seemed too good to be true, although I did worry that no one would be interested! The publishers, Headline, were looking for a midwife in her 50s, from the north of England who had worked in the community. After a short interview they said I fit the bill.

In one of my blogs, written exactly a year ago http://sagefemme.posterous.com/44168236 I associate my venture with the book Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, as I so enjoyed reading it. Little did I know that there would be a TV series from the book launching just after my book was published. What a coincidence! My book takes over from where Jennifer’s finishes off, in the 1970s. By the time I started my midwifery training, most babies were born in hospital.

So the plan was to write my midwifery memoirs with a ghostwriter, Charlotte Ward. I had to speak to Charlotte every day almost for six months, and as she lived in London we did this via Skype. At first I found the process a little difficult as when Charlotte sent me the transcription of what I had said, it didn’t sound like me…so I worked on the transcriptions myself and we soon got into a routine. It was wonderfully cathartic as well as deeply traumatic; I had to try to remember so much, my innermost feeling, smells, faces, and characters I had long pushed to the back of my memory.  I have been able to put records straight as well as describe the most exhilarating times of my life. I relived some of my saddest moments, and Charlotte and I cried together on more than one occasion. Most importantly, I have provided a small part of social history and a memory for my children, and my children’s children. And the focus of my story is clear; women are formidable-they hold up the world even when it is so very hard to do so.

Although I was nervous when Catching Babies was about to be released, I needn’t have been. I have received hundreds of emails and letters from those who have found the book inspiring and helpful, from student midwives, midwives, mothers and fathers and even from a fifteen year old girl who was using my book to review for a GCSE!

The feedback has been the best part of the whole process, because I feel that perhaps telling the story of my career may have contributed to increasing confidence in mothers and midwives, and promoting positive birth.  




Olivia, my youngest baby to be ‘caught’…

Looking through the films I have made for my children and grandchildren, I found this one that I made for Olivia as she prepared for the birth of her first baby, Archie. This is something my book couldn’t have captured. It takes me back immediately to those extra special times. 

Call the Midwife Lancashire Style!


How wonderful to have my book linked to the brilliantly fablulous Call the Midwife book by Jennifer Worth. The article that Amanda Griffiths wrote for Lancashire Life magazine about Catching Babies and my life in Whalley is lovely, and is certainly a positive one for the midwifery profession. 

Last Sunday was the first week that Catching Babies was not in the top ten Sunday Times Bestseller list, but I was amazed and astounded that it was there at all ever, let alone for ten weeks! Incredible. I started a facebook page as some of my friends suggested it to me, and today a week on the page has 135 ‘likes’. Not sure yet what this means, but it’s great to keep in touch with readers. I continue to revcieve the most amazing emails, facebook inbox mails and letters from around the county, mainly from student midwives or those wanting to become students who tell me that my book gives them hope, and inspiration. What more could I ask for? 

‘…..my confidence was severely knocked and I was truly disappointed and disheartended. However, when I was feeling at my lowest, I began reading your wonderful book ‘Catching Babies’.

I can honestly say that reading your book, as well as finding it so beautifully honest, open and heartflet, really helped to lift the clouds for me and help me to regain the self confidence that I need in order to tackle my next interview with the same enthusiam that I did the first (my next one is 15th Feb). It reminded me why I want to do this and was an absolute joy to read. 

So I suppose the purpose of my rather long-winded message is to say thank you. Thank you for writing that book and sharing your experience with others. It is truly brave to write a book that incorporates the level of self-disclosure that yours did, but I want you to know that I found the descriptions of your Midwifery journey utterly captivating and I can’t thank you enough for helping me to regain my self belief.

Anyway, it’s lovely to meet you – albeit virtually – I hope you and your family are very well and thank you again for accepting my friend request!’

I suppose what you never expect suprises you more when it happens.