Midwives are the unsung heroes of the delivery room and Mavis Gaff-Smith has written her 9th book about the bond between midwife and mother.
Doctor Gaff-Smith’s interest in midwifery came from her childhood when she would help her father birth animals on their farm.
There was no fancy equipment, just grit and determination.
She has taken the same approach to her career.
Dr Gaff-Smith became a nurse in 1965 but always had a desire to enter into midwifery.
“I just found birth to be a miracle,” she said.
But timing and financial circumstances did not lend themselves to that career path until 1992.
Dr Gaff-Smith tried to get into a midwifery university program in Canberra when she was working at Wagga Base Hospital.
She paid her own way through university to secure a position into the course.
“By then, the children had left home so it was time for me to start spreading my wings,” she said.
It was not long until she took her skills overseas and spent most of the late 1990s and 2000s travelling to underprivileged countries to assist in delivery rooms.
She travelled to Mexico and Nepal in 1996, Jamaica in 1997, Thailand in 2001, Zambia in 2003, Mother Theresa’s Home for the Dying and Destitute in Calcutta in 2006, Vanuatu in 2007 and Africa in 2012.
Her most recent venture was a study trip to China in 2013 and is the inspiration for her latest book.
“I went to a multicultural boarding school and heard all these amazing stories from overseas,” she said.
“I was taught a lot of life skills on the land and I was able to take a lot of that overseas.
“Every situation is different, you always enter that room and think you have to be adaptable.”
Midwife in China details Chinese medicine, a barefoot doctor, the one child policy, maternity hospitals and bee acupuncture.
Dr Gaff-Smith said she became curious about her own birth and started asking her mother questions about the experience.
She discovered her literary ability when she started writing the stories she heard down on paper.
Midwife in China is being released to coincide with International Midwives Day on May 5.
The book will be available from book stores and online.
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