“I want to say that a healthy baby is not all that matters and that, resoundingly, it all matters. This is the story of women, of why they matter too, and the things that happen when they are pushed to the bottom of a hierarchy in birth.” (All That Matters, Guardian Shorts, copyright Rebecca Schiller)
All That Matters: Women’s Rights in Childbirth, a Guardian Shorts Original by Doula UK Director, and co-Chair of Birthrights, Rebecca Schiller has been published today.
All That Matters: Women’s Rights in Childbirth shines new light on birth, setting it in context amid the struggle for reproductive rights across the world. Exposing rights violations of indigenous women in the Australian outback, women jailed for years following stillbirths in the US and the fight for life of Tanzanian mothers and babies, this short book also tells the every day stories of women becoming mothers in the UK. Illustrated with first-person accounts of childbirth it is frank and forthright and full of Rebecca Schiller’s own rich personal experiences as mother, doula, campaigner and researcher.
Rebecca Schiller says, “Reproductive rights are fundamental to all women, not just those planning to have children. Too many vulnerable women around the world experience disrespectful, dangerous or abusive care. Many are unable to access life-saving services like antenatal care or abortion or are denied the chance to choose where and in what way to give birth. No must mean no in the birth room too as if not, all women become vulnerable. It’s time to break down false barriers based on the way individuals choose to parent and give birth and join together to protect some of our most fundamental rights. I hope that All That Matters takes a step towards doing just that.”
10% of the profits from book sales will be donated to the human rights in childbirth charity Birthrights, who work to give legal advice and training to women and health care professionals as well as researching and campaigning to improve women’s experiences of pregnancy and childbirth.
Midwife and author Sheena Byrom OBE says, “As a practising midwife for more than three decades, All That Matters presents the distressing and stark reality of current maternity practice and its effects on society, and is more powerful as it is written by a mother of young children, who understands.”
Cristen Pascucci of Improving Birth says, “I would love to see All That Matters as required reading for all women and feminists, as well as care providers and policy makers. The issues Rebecca Schiller lays out here are universal and urgent. I urge anyone who cares about women to pay attention to this book.”