Sheena Byrom dedicated 35 years to a career Catching Babies, the title of her new book based on her experiences as a midwife in East Lancashire that will go on sale tomorrow.
Starting her career as a nurse in the 1970s, Sheena went on to train as a midwife at the Edith Watson Maternity Unit in Burnley, going on to ultimately become head of midwifery services for East Lancashire NHS Trust before retiring ealier this year.
During her career Sheena has worked with thousands of ‘amazing’ women and it is these inspirational mothers who are at the centre of her book.
“When I pulled it all together, it made me realise that there are some incredible women out there and women are just amazing,” said Sheena, who is originally from Great Harwood.
“Midwives are in a really privileged position and I believe that if a woman’s birth is positive then they will go on to be positive mothers. It helps women to be better mums.
“I have had an amazing time over the years and a very challenging one too. It amazes me to see the changes that have taken place in the way that how women gave birth back then was completely different.
“In the 1970s and 1980s there was much more focus on procedures and processes – a very different attitude from that held today, now women have so many choices with their birth plans.”
And the role of dads has changed completely during the past 30 years.
Sheena said: “There was a time when fathers were rarely present at the birth of their children, they paced up and down outside, provided hot water for the midwife and then went to the pub to the wet the baby's head.
“Within the last three decades it has become the norm for the father to be in the labour room helping out with breathing techniques and the cutting of the chord.
“Giving birth is a unique experience for women and times have changed. Some men choose not to be there but men have just as much right to be there. The important thing for dads to remember is that their primary role in the delivery room is to support their partners.”
Childbirth can be a very emotive subject, the most recent example being the controversy of whether women should be able to choose a caesarean birth.
Sheena said: “There are times when women have complications and a caesarean section is vital but if women can have a normal birth then we will encourage them as much as possible."
Sheena now works as a freelance midwifery advisor, She lives in Whalley with husband Paul and enjoys time with her four grandchildren.
Catching Babies was commissioned by the Royal College of Midwives.
Mum-of-four Sheena said: “Writing the book has enabled me to look back on the life that I have had and how lucky I have been.”
*Catching Babies is published tomorrow by Headline, priced £6.49.