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Birth Crisis

The romantic image of a radiant mother, a beautiful baby in her arms, her golden hair lit by the sun’s rays, displayed on the jackets of many birth books is far removed from reality. New mothers are often unhappy. This major life transition is made incredibly difficult by poverty, poor housing, overcrowding, and social isolation. But one reason why many women have low self-esteem and cannot enjoy their babies is that care in childbirth often denies them honest information, the possibility of choice, and simple human respect.....

Birth Crisis Book

About the Birth Crisis Network

The Birth Crisis Network is a help line in Britain that women can ring if they want to talk about a traumatic birth. They have usually become aware of the service through the internet, a magazine, newspaper, or radio programme, the NCT, or their health visitor. We do not give advice. Instead we offer reflective listening. The caller may be given the number of another member of the Birth Crisis Network who is nearer her whom she can also ring, and can ring me back if she wishes. All members of the Birth Crisis Network have attended at least one workshop in my home to learn how to listen.

Some women ring within a few weeks of giving birth. But usually it is later. For some it is months or years. Some are pregnant again. Another pregnancy often brings feelings of dread as to whether it is all going to happen again and emotions they hoped they had laid to rest become threatening.

Many women who are suffering from having been disempowered in birth are treated by GPs with anti-depressant drugs, when what they really need is to be able to talk with someone who understands, who does not try to explain or justify the treatment they received, or to criticise them and the way they feel about what happened to them, and who knows how to listen reflectively. This is what the Birth Crisis Network offers.

There are some links to articles, which you may find helpful, in the References section at the end of this web page.


Contacting the Birth Crisis Network

If you need to talk about a birth experience which haunts you, do phone one of the following:
If you are not in their region, they may pass you onto someone else in the Birth Crisis Network, not listed here.

Susa Ricoy 0208 671 43 30
Preferably Wed,  Fri, Sat or Sun 7-10 pm
I also speak Italian and Spanish
South East London
Heather Allan 020 7485 4725 North London
Mary Kennedy 0141 9467537
Evenings before 10pm
Sheila Kitzinger 01865 300 266
Weekdays and weekends 8am - 9pm
Judy Kurutac 0161 434 4563 Manchester
Muriel O'Driscoll 0151 9280596
Evenings 7-9pm only
Jani White 07932 000025 (mobile) Oxford & London

Please do not publish these details elsewhere - the contacts and numbers may change.


Birth Crisis Workshops

Sheila teaches Birth Crisis Workshops for those who may wish to join the network and midwives, doulas, health visitors, NCT teachers and others who counsel women after childbirth.

As of April 2014, we have no date planned for another Birth Crisis Workshop.

Birth Crisis Workshops take place at Sheila's home outside Oxford they are usually on a Saturday from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

They cost 85 pounds for the day, or 60 pounds for the unwaged, student midwives and student NCT teachers. This includes a delicious vegetarian buffet lunch.

Sheila focuses on post traumatic stress after childbirth. We practice listening and non-directive counselling skills.

Professor Celia Kitzinger explores how conversation analysis can help. She has analyzed hundreds of tape recorded birth crisis phone calls.

Birth Crisis June2013 

Birth Crisi 2013
June 2013 Birth Crisis Workshop

For more information:
or phone Sheila on 01865 300266



Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
Sheila Kitzinger
When a bad birth haunts you
Sheila Kitzinger,
Prima Baby Oct/Nov 2000
Becoming a mother
Sheila Kitzinger,
Midwifery Digest, December 2001, Vol 11,4
When childbirth us an unhappy event by Deborah Hutton, with quotes from Sheila.
The Mail on Sunday magazine -You,
3 Nov 2002
"Birth and violence against women: generating hypotheses from women's accounts of unhappiness after childbirth", Sheila Kitzinger, Chapter 4 in Women's Health Matters Edited by Helen Roberts, Routledge, 1992. ISBN 0-415-04891-5.
BirthCrisis.gif (19823 bytes)Birth Crisis a book by Sheila Kitzinger  published June 2006 by Routledge