I’d like to thank author Fiona McArthur for contributing this guest post about books and babies. Fiona has worked as a rural midwife for twenty-five years. She is a clinical midwifery educator and teaches emergency obstetric strategies while working with midwives and doctors from remote and isolated areas. She has written more than thirty romances, which have sold over two million copies in twelve languages. She has been a RWA Romantic Book of the Year finalist and American Cataromance Readers Choice finalist. She is a midwifery expert for Mother and Baby magazine and the author of the non-fiction work, The Don’t Panic Guide To Birth. Her latest book, Red Sand Sunrise, is dear to her heart because she so admires Australia’s outback pioneers past and present, the medical staff who care for them, and those who keep the towns in outback Australia such vibrant and iconic wonders. Visit Fiona’s website here.
Hello there, thank you so much for asking me to drop in and help celebrate the launch of Red Sand Sunrise, my rural romance for Penguin Australia.
So about me? I’m a rural midwife who writes romance novels for women and has a soft spot for offering extra support for young mums with their pre-birth fears. I write for Mother and Baby magazine as one of their midwifery experts and have also written a self-help birth book called The Don’t Panic Guide to Birth.
I have young mums to thank for the DPGTB, first published by Penguin in 2009, and it was such fun to write. They are still available through my website and I’m currently updating the e-book version for the future. You don’t have to be young to suit DPGTB and men love it because they can read it in less than two hours because it is a layman’s guide at 10,000 words, with pictures, and it’s fun. I give DPGTB away free to young mums because it was basically the antenatal class I shared with those amazing young women in bite sized chunks.
For anyone who is interested, I’m in the process of the Don’t Panic Guide to Breech Birth at the request of an obstetrician, and I’m loving that too. I guess I understand the questions mums and dads ask because I’m a mum myself, and we have five sons between thirty and nineteen, and five grandchildren. I feel like I’ve been a midwife forever but can’t truly imagine being anything else.
I even think of my books as babies.
But back to young mums. TIMTAM’s. Teenage Information Mornings Teens As Mums is part of the story.
A local social worker and I saw the need and began hosting extra antenatal classes for young mums around ten years ago in our country town, so that mums between 12 and 22 years old – and young women don’t usually plan for pregnancy to happen – had a place to feel unjudged and supported, even if they didn’t have a drivers licence to be able to get to the workshops. It’s been an amazing journey for me, being there for them, and I’ve made fab friends who will always be there for me as well.
The young mums of TIMTAMs have taught me a lot about being resourceful in an often chaotic world. I’ve watched very young mums birth, breastfeed for years, and take on tertiary study. They have become successful businesswomen in their own right and I’m not surprised because they are incredible women. You need lots of resilience to be a parent on your own, and unfortunately, young teenage mums and dad’s relationships often break down, so it happens a lot that these mums are single carers for their new baby.
One of my most memorable moments as a rural midwife was sharing a birth with a very young mum from antenatal classes. We’d spent a lot of time together during her pregnancy and labour, shared laughs and tears, and fears and when it came to the day her baby chose to arrive she birthed with joy and power and confidence, (mostly in the shower with me quietly cheering her), and we all knew she’d be a fantastic mum. She was fourteen years old.
I still see this woman sometimes and the last time I did, her daughter celebrated her eleventh birthday. That young mum is a successful social worker with tertiary qualifications so forgive me if I get so cross when people stereotype young mums as tragic.
All mums are amazing, all babies are gorgeous, and all books should make you smile when you finish the last page. Just like any journey. Happy reading, Fi