January Featured Title: The Midwife’s Visit

January’s featured title is The Midwife’s Visit by Kelly B. Jenkins!

In this educational read, young readers learn about prenatal visits, midwifery, and pregnancy. Kelly hopes her new book will normalize midwifery for children and make them feel more comfortable with the birth process. 

We spoke with her about her book’s black and white illustrations, how midwifery has changed over the last few years, and more!

As a licensed certified professional midwife, what made you want to write a children’s book about midwifery?  

When I became a midwife, part of what I loved was the organic teaching that occurred during prenatal visits. Because the visits occur in my client’s homes, children are naturally involved and very much welcomed. By talking with children about their mother’s care and the growing baby, it gives the opportunity to teach that pregnancy and birth are normal and nothing to be afraid of.

What are the biggest misconceptions about midwifery? What would you like people to know about the profession?

I believe the biggest misconception is that pregnancy is a type of illness and needs to be treated as if everyone is high risk and needs “medical” care. However, for low-risk women, pregnancy is a normal, natural event in which a woman’s body was designed to give birth and will do so quite well. Because of the typical “Medical Model mindset,” one of the disadvantages is that children are kept away from being involved. Consequently, children (may) grow up with a sense of fear and secrecy regarding pregnancy and childbirth. Involving children in care gives the opportunity for a shared experience with their parent(s) and invited knowledge in the “adult” world in which they crave and thus normalize the process.

The illustrations in your book are all in black and white. What was the reason behind this stylistic choice?  

I specifically chose to do black and white pictures for a few reasons. First,  I wanted a book that showed “real life” using exceptional artwork.  Children crave real and they crave beauty. Cartoon-like pictures may hold their attention for a moment, but black and white doesn’t distract. It’s amazing to watch children pause at each page to take in the details. I also wanted to create a timeless book that gave a nod to children’s books of yesteryear— books that have longevity and we return to over and over again.

How has midwifery changed as a field over the years? Where is it headed?

Over time, thoughts and beliefs regarding pregnancy and childbirth have and continue to change. As society continues to seek and educate themselves on this process and more well-trained providers become available, women are realizing that they deserve better care— care that fits their specific needs and care that encompasses the family. Most of all, the knowledge that they have viable choices as to where and with whom they have their babies.

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