Bump! Preview!

Here’s a preview chapter from my forthcoming book Bump: how to make, grow and birth a baby. Out Spring 2014. Inspirational? Educational? Accurate? Please let me know in the comments.
































The midwife in this chapter is a portrait of Mary Cronk.

(1) I am indebted to the work of Dr Sarah Buckley and her ebook Ecstatic Birth: Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Labor for this synopsis of the hormonal interactions of birth. I have simplified things slightly. High levels of beta-endorphin, produced in response to stress or severe pain, also has the ability to quell contractions. I couldn’t fit that bit in.

(2) The word ‘monkey’ has proved contentious with readers. Please see my post ‘The Monkey thing’ for an explanation of where I’m coming from.

(3) Mayes Midwifery, p 351

(4) See the work of Robbie Davis-Floyd who has reclaimed the phrase ‘the oldest profession’ for midwifery. (No, prostitution is not the oldest profession: it’s the oldest capitalist exploitation. Humanity predates capitalism, and will hopefully outlive it too.)

(5) Mayes Midwifery ibid. p 351

(6) ‘Maternal hormone protects baby’s brain during birth’ New Scientist 15 December 2006

(7) ‘Lunar cycles and birth rates: from a full Moon to a first quarter Moon effect’Arthur Charpentier, PhD France, CREM-Université Rennes

(8) “I learned what is simple with my very first experience of childbirth as a medical student in 1953. At that time, a midwife had nothing to do. She was spending her life knitting. So, she was knitting when she was waiting for the baby, knitting when waiting for the placenta, knitting when there was no woman in labor. She had nothing else to do. In that respect, I realized the value of this traditional attitude.

“Some scientists at Cambridge University in the UK explored the philological responses to a repetitive task. As an example of a repetitive task, they studied the task of knitting. When you are doing a repetitive task like knitting, you reduce your level of adrenaline. And that is the key to an easy birth – when the level of adrenaline of the midwife is low, because she is contagious. That helps the woman in labor to also be in a state of relaxation… and finally the birth is easier.” Michel Odent in interview Rediscovering the Best Environment for an Easy Birth

(9) ‘The purple line as a measure of labour progress: a longitudinal study’Ashley Shepherd et al. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth Vol 10, p 54, 2010.

(10) The ‘rest and be thankful’ stage is described by Denis Walsh in the chapter ‘Rhythms in the second stage of labour’ in Evidence and Skills for Normal Labour and Birth, Routledge 2007.

(11) This phrase, and the description of the baby’s descent are inspired by Gloria LeMay’s article ‘Pushing for First-Time Moms’. This pattern of pushing could be typical of primagravida mothers – women who haven’t had a baby before. A subsequent birth is likely to be more rapid.

(12) ‘Perineal techniques during the second stage of labour for reducing perineal trauma’. Aasheim V, et al Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 12, 2011. 

(13) This is a description of the fetus ejection reflex, as identified by Michel Odent. I’ve had two. They exist.

page 238 (14) This baby has a nuchal cord, (the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck). I was struck by the similiarity between the ‘somersault manouvre’ to free a nuchal cord and the movements that a mother would make to grasp her own baby at birth.

(15) ‘Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping of term infants on maternal and neonatal outcomes’ McDonald, S and Middleton, P, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 2, 2008.

(16) Ecstatic Birth: Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Labor ibid.

(17) Breast Crawl: a scientific overview, breastcrawl.org, January 2013.

163 comments to Bump! Preview!

  • Tessa McLeish

    I LOVE this book, just love it. I want a copy so badly :D

    It’s clear & beautiful.

    The only tiny thing I would change are the references to ‘monkey’ (mama, man midwife). I am a student Midwife and a practising Antenatal teacher for many years; I’ve read and know Ina May, so I get it – I really do, but this book could do so much good for frightened first time Mums and I think they may not be ready for this terminology and be put off from the message of the book because of it. They get so many fearful messages from the technocratic models of birth considered the norm in our western culture, and portrayed in the media. This book is the much needed, absolute antithesis of this message yet balanced with sufficient science to give it credibility in the sceptical eyes of those who might need it. Please consider losing the ‘monkey’ , for the sake of the benefit this book can be to those aren’t there yet and won’t ‘get it’.

    • Kate Evans

      The next chapter is called Totally Bananas, and is illustrated with silverback male gorillas carrying out outdated obstetric practices. The monkey theme is staying! There will be people who won’t ‘get’ my work, but if I write for them, I miss the chance to educate, enlighten and amuse people who will.

    • jenna

      I agree, drop the monkey. Those who “get” your work are not the ones who need to learn about natural childbirth, since they already understand/have experienced it/support it as a midwife or doula. Women outside of the ‘crunchy hippy’ type are the ones who really need this book. Drop the monkey.

      • Kate Evans

        There’s more to the book than just this chapter: the monkey thing ties in to the next chapter too, which is partly why it’s there. But, there’s nothing else like this out there. There’s no well articulated, established trends of cartoons about womens experiences of birth. So to self-censor myself to make my work say less to more people, that doesn’t make sense to me. Having said that, I could make a version of it available as a teaching aid, without the word ‘monkey’? That could broaden it’s appeal.

        • Olga Y

          Dear Kate

          Many thanks for this chapter! It really captures the spirit of the birth experience.

          Links to this website made their way into the Russian-speaking corner of the Livejournal network and went viral there. The huge need for this type of information on childbirth is self-evident, and unfortunately such resources are scarce. Although your pictures alone speak volumes, many wished they could read the text too. So, a few moms got together and translated the text into Russian to make it accessible to more readers. We took care to preserve the poetry, the humour and the spice of the original.

          First of all, we hope you don’t mind and we want to make sure that this gorilla… err… guerrilla translation could reach Russian-speaking moms without infringing upon your copyright. We’d like to know whether and/or how we could do this with regards to hosting, links, acknowledgements, copyright notices, etc?

          Thank you again for your beautiful work! I can’t wait to get a copy of your book.



          • Kate Evans

            Many thanks for the translation! I’m thrilled!
            The copyright rests with the publishers, Myriad Editions. It is usually permissible to reproduce part of a published work ‘for review purposes’ so as long as you clearly mark that it’s from Bump, how to make grow and birth a baby, published by Myriad Editions, and explain that you translated it yourselves then I can’t see a problem. Please include a link to my website, and to myriadeditions.com and then readers will be able to buy a printed copy if they want. If you know any Russian publishers who might be interested, then please refer them to myriadeditions.com, as Myriad also own the foreign rights. If a printed version of the book ever did come out in Russia, then you’d need to link to that version too.
            Ooooh! It’s so exciting to think of Russian readers accessing my work. Thank you!

          • Kate Evans

            Send me the link, yes?
            x k

  • Megan

    I do not yet have a child. But oh my goodness. this made me tear up! It was so beautifully written, how you incorporated the process of the hormones and everything that goes into giving birth. I loved it. :)

  • Elise


    You’re very talented. Can’t wait to buy this book. Thank you!

    Elise Didgeridoula

  • Absolutely wonderful. YOU are blessing the world with this book. I have no words… just praise.
    Love, ibu Robin

  • Fantastic! What a easy to understand explanation of all aspects of the process. Love it!

  • Can’t wait to see this available to buy – my 3 year old daughter also enjoyed the illustrations

  • Linda Morge

    LOVE it !!! <3

  • This is beautiful! It reminds me of some of the simpler books on birth I read back in the early 80’s.

  • Patty

    thank you ! its a great one, i love every little detail, good luck!

  • Mary

    fabulous. I want this on my bookshelf. My children will love it!

  • What a great description of the beautiful process of birthing. I love it, and would like to share it with all mothers-to-be.
    One small note is that the foetus/newborn’s blood has oxygenated and de-oxygenated mixed, giving the baby a purple hue. The pinkness comes when the baby’s heart actually changes the way it pumps blood around the body, so that blood goes via the lungs to collect oxygen, instead of via the cord and placenta. This red blood is then separated from the de-oxygenated blood, and the baby pinks up. I’m pretty sure this happens as a response to the first breath, not before it. I’m willing to be corrected if my understanding is incorrect, though!

  • J Koos

    Very very very nice. Definitely something to show both husband and children – and all women not yet aware of these truths.

  • Wonderfully expressive interpretation – totally love every detail incorporating all those great references! Super simple and effective description – the pics add an extra loving touch.

    Can you add some of the animal connection nearer the beginning so the ‘less in touch’ people are more likely to ‘get it’?

  • Rachael

    This is completely wonderful. I will definitely be getting a copy!

  • Michelle

    i am a midwife and wanted to say this is beautifully written – i love the ‘monkey’ element its what we are, its how we have evolved. I too am familiar with the work of Ina May Gaskin and was fortunate enough to be taught and work with Mary Cronk and your illustrations, with her in mind brought a tear to my eye. Absolutely lovely – i wish this was written years ago. I must say with the whole negativity of the midwifery profession that there is at the moment, reading this took me back to why i trained in the first place so thank you. I can’t wait to read the rest of it. xxx

  • Suzi

    Fantastic! Love it! x

  • LOVE it!! Brilliant. I want to give all my clients a copy! So entirely refreshing in the way birth is described and portrayed.
    I thought, oh ! The midwife looks like Mary ! Hah ! I was present for a stunning birth that went exactly like this only a few nights ago. Kate you have entirely and beautifully captured the essence. Bravo ! X

  • Julie

    Very informative and empowering for women to know the science and progress of delivery. Well done!

    I was more curious about the red line up the bum crack- it shows birth progress but how? Is it a tear? What is it? When does the midwife know its progressed enough?

    • Kate Evans

      It’s not a tear, it’s just a colour. It’s referred to as the purple line, a large proportion of labouring women show it, and it’s just a purpley colour that shows in the bum crack as the blood rushes ‘down there’. It spreads up the bottom crack as labour progresses, at the same rate that the cervix dilates and once it’s got to the top of the crack, the cervix is fully dilated and the mum is ready to push. Some midwives use it as an alternative to giving vaginal exams. There’s a reference to a study about it in the notes.

      • Michelle

        Just wanted to add that this line isn’t actually “purple”! Depending on the mother’s skin tone it can appear in shades of red, purple or silver (i.e from red on paler tones to silver on the darkest ones). A little fact that I, as well as (I assume) many of your women of colour readership would be glad to see included in your book.

  • Camilla

    It’s beautiful. I love it. I want it. I want all women and men and girls and boys to read this or have it read to them, with lots of time to ask questions, reflect, and marvel!

  • Lindsay

    I love this, I would love a copy on my shelf, I would sit with my children and talk with them about it, they are at the age where they are fascinated with everything, and would soak up this information, its really lovely.

  • Great descriptions. You have a way with words
    I want a copy!

  • Sharon

    “The mother gathers her child in her arms. The cord still pulses between them. They are two people yet they are still one” OMG!! Soooo beautiful and bought back the best memories of my children’s births as well as a couple of tears! Thank you for this book. I love this part so much and can’t wait to read the rest.

  • I loved the breastfeeding book – Food of Love – and just know I will love this one too. I can’t wait to read it in full…loving the hairy fannies by the way

  • I LOVE this! Such a powerful and beautiful portrayal of birth. I teach active birth preparation and pregnancy yoga and will be recommending this book to all my clients. I can’t wait to get a copy! Well done x

  • Kate

    Oh that illustration, when she gathers baby into her arms. Lovely. Just beautiful, brought a tear to my eye.

  • Kate this is an epic work of love and deep understanding and respect to normal birth. Thank you for your amazing skills … I also await publication and buy many copies for the parents I serve. You are a shining star in many circles <3 xxx

  • I love, love, love this and will be ordering many copies over here in Canada! I just spent time at a conference with Robbie Davis-Floyd and noticed that her name was misspelled in your citings. This is a fantastic book reminiscent of birth books I read as a child. Lovely. xoxo

  • Claire

    This is absolutely wonderful. I wonder if you have considered making this bit a stand alone print off sheet so us midwives could give it out at AN classes. (Payable of course!) Worth a thought?!

  • Catherine

    I was recently given a copy of ‘Food of Love’, three weeks into breastfeeding and about at breaking point. I read nearly all of it that night, sat up alone with a crying baby desperately trying to carry on. It helped a lot. If this books is anything like as informative, comforting and funny then I will be snatching it up in a heartbeat!

  • Mel

    The only thing that is missing is the father of the baby… I think it’s a sad birth without a father. I’m pregnant with our first baby and can’t imagine him not being there…

    • jenna

      I agree with you. I understand why she didn’t (I guess if it’s supposed to be an ancient birth, dad is unlikely to be present) but I couldn’t imagine not having my partner there!

      • Kate Evans

        well, in the introduction to the book, I apologise to all my male readers for completely ignoring them throughout. I still hope they find the book useful. Maybe the woman in the story is a single mother? It would be very unusual to find any potential mother this isolated in any setting, but here I simply wanted to focus on the roles of the mother, baby and midwife.

  • Ana

    I need this book!! What a beautifully written story of birth! And the pictures match it in perfection! When is it coming out! I want a copy!! :) <3

  • Claire Varey

    This is just so wonderful, such a lovely way to describe how your body is designed to birth. Especially showing how the midwife is a calming and reassuring influence which allows mum to have confidence in her ability to birth. I felt relaxed just reading it. I look forward to the book. x

    • Kate Evans

      That’s weird. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be £19.99 not £12.99. It’s a massive book – over 300 pages. They can’t be selling it for under a tenner.

  • Regine Marton CNM

    Want it yesterday… awsome,,,,,, is there a waiting list? love love love work of love..

  • […] This is a great way to understand the general path labour takes. […]

  • Christina

    As a midwife, can I say I love love love how you normalise birth, demystify the process and I’m sure, will reassure women that they too can do it! I was taught by a wonderful woman called Hannah Dahlen, who spoke often of knitting in the homes of women whose birth she attended, so that made me smile. Nicely done!

  • Lindsey McCormick

    I want this. What a complete rendition of our beginnings. This is the text from which my children shall be taught. Bravo!

  • Were just talking of you recently and looking forward to this book – love what I have seen so far and can’t wait. ye ssome terminology may be difficult for some but I think you need to say it how it is ( OR how it can be) in order to inspire others and enable some to dream and then experience how birth can be.
    love and hugs to you and your message.

  • Sarah

    I’m a midwife and I LOVE this. Yes it’s educational, and I’d say accurate – but then I’m a home birthing midwife who now works in a big hospital so I don’t see it like this much any more :(
    Only thing, would Mary really say that the birth was easy? It’s not my place to judge if a birth was easy … Mama may have another opinion altogether and this may invalidate any fears or concerns she may later need to unpack. Just a thought.
    Will buy as soon as I can!
    All the very best Sarah x

    • Kate Evans

      No, it’s just the afterbirth/placenta bit that she’s saying was easy, not the birth itself. I wanted to make a representation of a woman birthing her placenta easily, but also flag up the fact that some women have to expend more time and effort on getting the placenta out. But that’s not how you read it. Hmmm. I’ll think on’t.

      • jenna

        I read it the same way as Sarah — that the birth of the baby was easy. But now that you mention it was about the placenta, I think it’s good of you to include that info that sometimes it’s not so easy.

  • Bruna

    As a doula and future midwife I must say I just LOVED it! Just a shame not everybody here in Brazil knows English but just the images are already enough!! I’m sharing it on my facebook!
    Thank you and I hope I can get one book here in Brazil somehow someday! :D

  • Sara

    I absolutely love this! A gorgeous and charming rendering of birth as it was meant to be. The illustrations are amazing, and the info is easily accessible to readers. I can’t wait to get a copy and will definitely recommend it to doula clients!

    My only (nitpicky!) suggestion is about the reference to more babies being born on the full moon – I think that’s been proven incorrect (?) It also doesn’t really flow with the storyline (seems kind of like a stand alone line).

    But overall, this is a wonderful and unique piece, and will certainly add it to my must-read list of books for expectant mamas. :)

  • […] I’ll share something with you other than the minutia of a random stranger’s day! This http://www.thefoodoflove.org/bump-preview/ is a preview of the book ‘bump: how to make, grow and birth a baby’ by the author of […]

  • Priscilla

    I loved it! If this is the preview of your book, I really want to have the book. Even though (probably) my last baby will be born by then.

  • I am thinking by this chapter, that this may be a great book for my prenatal classes? Is the section on caesarean birthing done with as much sensitivity? As an educator/mentor, while wanting to impart the majesty of the birthing process, I am also not interested in shaming Mamas who birth via caesarean. Can’t wait to read it! This chapter is brilliant! Bravo!

  • Carla Ahumada

    I loved it!! It’s so animal! I hope you can get it translated to Spanish, so I can share it with my friends. Greetings from Chile!

  • Wow! Love this!!! Love the drawings!! I really want this book (to also share with my daughters).
    Please keep me up to date when it is published as to where I can order (live in the netherlands).
    Great work…. Thank you!!

  • Carla Ahumada

    I loved it!! It’s so animal!! I hope you can translate it to Spanish once it’s printed so I can share it with my friends. Greetings from Chile!!!

  • Lisa

    Iw as gripped by it. Fab. My only thing to question is when grandma gets her knitting needle out first time. It made me wince because it reminded me of dud abortions. Even if the needle came out with some wool on it would give me another nicer feeling. Lisa

  • […] anyone else seen this preview for a new book Monkey Mama, preview Bump: how to make, grow and birth a baby | The Food of Love? What do you think? I think it is such a great description of childbirth, and from my experience […]

  • Chi

    I’m in tears. If only births can be conveyed this way every time. I didn’t think of my own this way, I really should. This work was done with soul. Yours I mean…and I really need to remember mine as so, as well. Love, Chi

  • I LOVE the illustrations are amazing.I’m a home birthing midwife at TAIWAN

  • Love reading this – so accessible, fun, realistic and positive. Food of Love is my favourite book to leave with b/f women and I suspect this will be a fantastic resource for my pregnant mums. Is there any mention of doulas in the book? Sadly not all midwives are able to be as supportive/available as the Mary Cronk character, especially in a hospital setting

  • zuki


  • THANK YOU for a wonderful book! I want to buy some books and use it in my job as midwife in a Swedish hospital. Have you written any other books in this topic? Breastfeeding? Pregnancy?

    • Kate Evans

      Yes! I have written The Food of Love: your formula for successful breastfeeding. Hence the title of this blog! read the ‘read the book’ tab for a sample, and click on the baby’s bum to buy one.

  • Nicola O

    Fab love it, simplifies all the amazing actions that occur leading up to and during birth!! Really good to read!!

  • […] fram emot att läsa denna bok; Bump: how to make, grow and birth a baby, som kommer ut i början på 2014. Klicka på länken […]

  • Nici

    Inspirational, educational, AND accurate. I’ll be getting a copy of your book soon.

  • Thank you so much for this perfect story of birth. I can’t wait to share it with the women I serve. xx

  • Sarah Nichols

    Love this so much!!! Since you asked, here are my critiques:
    – I agree with other commenters on two facts: the knitting needle reminded me also of a gruesome back alley abortion. :-/ Also, I too read another part as the midwife saying the birth itself was easy, not the placenta – maybe there can be some additional clarification there, like “some women have to actually birth their placentas, but yours came right out!” or something along those lines. Otherwise it really does seem like she is poo-pooing the woman’s birth experience. :-p

    One final note: there are several places where “it’s” is used when it should be “its”. Please be sure to fix this before publication – it is an easy mistake to make and we all do it, but when it isn’t caught and fixed, it lends an amateur feel to a work. And makes some people’s skin crawl. ;-)

    This book looks amazing! I can’t wait to buy a copy!

    • Kate Evans

      Yes, I spotted the it’s/its too. This was all written on a pretty tight schedule. All the illustrations took me three days, when it’s usually a page a day.
      The knitting needle is meant to be scary, and the allusion is deliberate. That’s what inspires the fear in the mama, which the midwife dispels with the kindness and humour.
      The placenta reference needs to be changed. I can do that. Cheers for the feedback!

  • Love it! What a beautiful work.
    Need the book too!!!
    Blessings <3

  • Birth Rights Activist

    I am a childbirth educator, student post-partum doula and soon-to-be student academic midwife.

    I will have multiple copies of this on my shelf and encourage mamas to browse through it and get their own copies too.

    I LOVE the monkey reference – base animal primal instinct is so true of childbirth.

  • Debby

    Love it, so creative :) well done !

  • Jolie doula

    Absolutely wonderful Kate!!! I think this is brilliant… Creatively inspired… Thank you for sharing your wisdom xx

  • Brendon

    WOW! Thank goodness men don’t have to go through all this, I’d be terrified. An edifying and inspirational read. Also, now I finally have the answer as to what all the hot water and towels are for.

  • vickie

    As a midwife and a mama, I adore “the food of love” and recommend it to all. This chapter is so lovely, this book is destined to be another warm, thoughtful, inspirational recommendation from me. well done.

  • Beth

    Lovely – truly lovely.

    My thoughts;

    I know the image of the midwife is based on Mary but it really would be lovely to see younger midwives represented.

    I don’t like the terms ‘monkey mama’ & ‘monkey midwife’ – just makes me shudder.

    The illustrations are brilliant. Love the ‘how long does labour take’ analogy!

  • This is just lovely, simply the most lovely rendition of an illustrated birth book I have ever seen. I want many copies to distribute to all of the mamas I care for.
    I am a midwife and knit at every birth I attend…usually baby hats that I then bestow on the baby at the one or three day visit. I do not put hats on at the birth! So, I especially loved the knitting midwife.
    Well done Kate, I am very much looking forward to the publication!

  • Totally wonderful! I absolutely want this book.

  • Kimberly Drok

    I loved the methods of the midwife, and the knitting parallels fit so well. I do believe in God, that we are Created in his image, so while the monkey aspect is hilarious, I have complete faith that God has designed our beautiful bodies with all the wonders of birth to glorify Him.

  • Kristin

    Oh my goodness!
    I loved it!
    I will keep copies in my doula library!
    Thank you! <3

  • Bekah

    Wow, this was beautiful! I definitely cried my way through reading. Very accurate and stunning illustration. A good midwife is a granny with invisible knitting connecting to the mother through kindness and humor! I love that imagery. Can’t wait to see your book this spring.

  • Colleen Eckart, Jamaica

    I smiled while reading this…minus the knitting of the mid-wife, this is almost exactly as I remember the birthing of my daughter. “i can’t do it”, “she’s stuck” LOL. I definitely want a copy of this when available. Will be my first gift choice for my expectant friends. Loved the illustrations and how each stage was represented. Can’t wait ♥

  • Kristin

    …but I’m not sure I like the ‘monkey-human’ part. I totally understand what you’re getting at, but I think this will cause you to lose a substantial audience.

    • Kate Evans

      This is getting a separate post to reply more fully.

    • Charlie

      As you know I’m a big ‘Food of Love’ fan (have given 25 copies and counting…) but to be completely honest I feel the same as Kristin – I know a lot of women who will love the monkey-woman analogy – we are basically monkeys after all – but I know a lot more, especially younger women who I think could be put off by it; I hope I’m wrong.

      Is it a theme right through the book?


      • Kate Evans

        No, the book is way bigger than this one theme. It’s a choose-your-own adventure comic mash-up of choices and options in fertility, pregnancy and birth. I’m not scared of putting younger women off tho – I think it’s good to boggle people’s minds a little.

  • Mary Ceallaigh

    LOVE IT! Thank you *so much* for your strong hearted and beautiful effort, dear sister.

    I think it’s fab that a crone midwife is represented – respect for the existence of elders who might actually be wise, and the lineages of granny midwives, is a good thing.

    The knitting depicted as a midwifery technique and timing metaphor is absolutely correct, lol. It’s also wonderful to see the simplicity of the setting, the basics of shelter, fire, nourishment, and fearless support.

    The “monkey” reference is meant to connect to primal and primate – I get that, I understand. However, it isn’t ideal to reiterate it throughout the whole piece’s overall community ed impact methinks…. more women might engage more deeply with the comic if not distracted by super-hippie style talk…

    The full moon thing is well known among midwives – the same lunar tidal pull is what makes indigenous women ovulate on the full moon. However, my understanding is that there are actually *more* predators out on the full moon, much more nightlife in the wild, so, the intimation that full moons are safer from predators doesn’t make sense…

    Absolutely love the neonatal bonding with umbilical integrity. But what is the need to end with a frame that shows a severed baby so early in the neonatal period, with the placenta dissapeared from the scene? What would be ideal is for the story to end with the child still intact, perhaps with just the cord trailed off to the side of the mother. It is not necessary to add words for a statement other than the depiction of good basic neonatal integrity, mothers can come to their own realizations about the primacy of neonatal bonding.

    Or, if words are preferred, perhaps to describe the picture as “4 hours later…” to give a context. So many gals (and midwives) still think that clamping the cord is necessary, and that focusing on severing the cord and weighing is in any way essential during the first few primal hours after birth.


    • Kate Evans

      ooh, good point about the placenta in the final frame. I deliberately didn’t show the cutting of the cord, and so I thought i’d left it open ended whether the baby lotus births. But I see from the picture that I haven’t. Elsewhere in the book, I discuss the importance of keeping the mother and baby together postpartum, and describe the breast crawl in more detail. I list all the scientific evidence on delayed cord clamping, which is conclusive. But I don’t mention lotus births. Maybe i could? But then I think people also read further into whatever birth practices feel right for them, and it’s hard to give an overview of everything in a way that doesn’t alienate one or other ‘side’.

    • Kate Evans

      oh, and carnivores hunt at dark moon. It’s only us humans who hunt using moonlight. Generally prey animals relax at full moon because there’s enough light to see ‘em coming. But this sentence is not well referenced and potentially confusing, so I might take it out.

  • looks really great when can we buy it? xx

  • gunta

    I’ve read a lot about birth while preparing for my both home-births, including some of the books you mention. And yet, this is so empowering, concise, warm way of explaining things. Thank you for putting this together.
    I love the image of a crone as a midwife. Wisdom, patience, trust in the process often comes with time.

  • Jess Cantrell

    As a doula, a would-be-one-day-midwife, and the mother of two naturally-birthed babes, I am IN LOVE WITH THIS. My second birth looked very like the one illustrated here, save muchmuchmuch faster- I can ‘feel it’ again when I view your illustrations!!! This is one of the BEST illustrations of ‘normal’, perfect birth I have ever seen- the trust, the calmness, the physicality. It is truly beautiful, and I look forward to purchasing a copy when it becomes available.

    – Jessica

  • Jenny

    I love it too. Not convinced about the ‘monkey’ thing, potentially a little denigrating but also love the subtle connection to our primate relatives and the fact that it is a mammalian, primative act. Not sure if that is captured though.
    Fantastic work.

  • Kerry Murphy

    Awesome! Will be sharing, can’t wait for the whole book. Yay for Mary Cronk too!

  • This is so beautiful. I teared up reading through it. It’s so well written, clear, loving, and real. Thank you for sharing this. I will definitely want a copy of this on my shelf to share.

  • aelial

    This is brilliant!

  • Hera Jònas

    The txt doesn’t have half the meaning without the pictures.

  • Loved it!!!! Thanks so much for this advance!! I´d love to have a copy of the book down here (in Argentina)!

  • […] thought this book preview might be relevant to this thread: Monkey Mama, preview Bump: how to make, grow and birth a baby | The Food of Love. It's difficult to describe how something feels when you are in a completely different place with […]

  • I loved this chapter! This would be a great book for my clients. Good job.

  • Your book is very interesting and insightful and I would LOVE to be able to share it with new and first time Moms. My concern is one that you have addressed several times in this comment thread. As an African American woman, the term “monkey” has a whole other context that is a bit challenging to move past. You mentioned that you “could make a version of it available as a teaching aid, without the word ‘monkey’? That could broaden it’s appeal.” PLEASE DO!!! :) I could DEFINITELY support that! Thanks for your “labor of love.”

  • This is beautiful and moving. I wish the birth of my baby boy had gone like this! Look forward to the book – The Food Of Love is brilliant!

  • This is absolutely brilliant, and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

  • Paola

    Your book is amazing, so clear and deep content.
    Hope we can read it in spanish too.


  • Roxanne

    LOVE LOVE LOVE … A very unique, imaginative presentation of childbirth. And that it’s illustrations are brilliant!

  • […] is a preview from her new birth book, “Bump: How to Make, Grow, and Birth a […]

  • Hannah Madden

    My eyes are wide and I am happy! I cannot tell you how much I love love this!! It’s brilliant combination of illustrations along with explaining what’s happening makes the book very adaptable for all kinds of people. When is this book to be released!!?? I desperately want a copy for my collection

  • Jennifer

    This is WONDERFUL! I am even more excited for spring:) I found the illustrations endearing, humorous and educational- you have done a beautiful job of turning an epic story into a sweetly designed fable, sure to delight parents to be:) please let me know when this is available to purchase!

  • Chathamgirl

    Rest and be thankful, Should be referenced Jean Sutton, who mentions it in her work ‘Let birth be born again’ 2001. Published by Birth Concepts Uk.

    • Kate Evans

      Thanks for the reference.

    • Love the book! Re ‘rest and be thankful': This phrase has been around since way before 2001. I suspect it’s ‘anon’ but if there is a reference to the person who coined it, it’s not anyone in 2001.

      • Kate Evans

        Hi Gill,

        I know. I think someone else in the comments put me on to a much earlier reference. When linking the cartoon to relevant obstetric texts, Denis Walsh happened to be my source. He does describe it, but he didn’t coin it. It’s printed now anyway, but thanks for the input.

        Love your books too!

  • Haz

    I LOVE IT – absolutely amazing well done – can’t wait to get my SIGNED copy x x x x

  • Aszani

    I’m a midwife who has practiced in home, birth center and hospital settings. I knit in all all of them :-).
    I love the photos, using the term monkey, and just about everything about this book! Thank you for pulling in the work of so many of our major inspirational teachers. Please let me know when this is available.


    • Kate Evans

      Hooray, a vote for Monkey! I’ll still have to make a version available for the people who can’t stomach it tho. It’s hard to know how much to self-censor. Good luck with your births and your knits. K

  • Aude

    La physiologie de l’accouchement portée en BD ! Avec tant de précisions ! Quelle merveilleuse découverte !!! Ce serait absolument fantastique de pouvoir traduire cette bande-dessinée en français et de pouvoir la diffuser largement dans les pays francophones ! Merci pour ce beau travail ! J’ai vraiment hâte de pouvoir acheter le livre. Aude, french midwife

  • luce

    I am used to crying (in happiness!) at depictions of birth on the tv but I didn’t think this would do it – but it did!
    I say keep the monkey. No, not everyone will get it but with enough explanation of why it is being used they will – the first time I heard ‘let your monkey do it’ I thought they were talking about a vagina! (not sure what that says about me and my terminology!) but, once explained it made sense – birth is, for many, going back to our primal instincts and our closest relations and where we have evolved from are monkeys. It just makes sense.
    I cant wait to get my hands on this :)Thank you Kate!

  • Katie Bussard

    Love love love this! A beautiful blend of art, story telling, and symphonic science. By way of feedback,I agree with other posters that the monkey thing may be a turn off to some due to the ugly racial history of the term, as well as evolutionary/creation issues. I understand and appreciate the way the term is used, but I can anticipate valid objections. Relating the true physiology and hormonal symphony of labor and birth in such a beautiful way is the strength and power of your work. The comments about births at the full-moon and newborn/placental circulation are less than proof-postive and may also prove a turn off to some. All that said, I love it! This is such a blessing, and I wish all our health education materials were of this quality!!! It paints a picture that is powerful, non-threatening, mysterious, and REAL! A blessing to mama’s everywhere! Thank you!

  • Adele

    Oh! I wish I could translate your book into Russian and publish it here!
    Thank you! This is so good!

  • Catherine

    I love the term ‘monkey-mama’! The no-thinking-just-do-it! part of you. Having discovered this with my second pregnancy and birth, and how exquisite the process if you can let yourself almost just witness the process unfold (as an albeit very active participant!)

    I loved to see the depiction of the final birthing scene, and realise that what I experienced was perfectly normal: I had an awesome labour, high on the hormones, giggling between surges, i had sooo much fun with labour. That said, it did get to a point, about 3 (surges) that I thought were beyond which I could bare, but in that moment when I allowed myself to cry…it transformed, and I reached between my legs, nearly shocked to find my baby’s head bulging out…I had no idea that I was at That Point already!
    So I really connected with the part that said “monkey mama cries out in anger and fear” :)

    I hope to read the rest!!

  • Olga Y

    Hooray! Awesomeness!
    Thank you so much.
    We are just wrapping up the translation of the references. We will make sure everything is credited appropriately. It would be fantastic if your book publishes in Russia!

    I have a quick question about the “rest and be thankful” stage. The phrase seems to be used widely and there are conflicting sources . According to what I’ve read, the phrase was coined by Sheila Kitzinger, perhaps decades ago:

    “After the tumult of transition, the resting phase provides a welcome break. Sheila Kitzinger, the well-known British teacher and author, has termed this the “rest-and-be-thankful phase.””

    Simkin, Penny (2007-01-15). The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, &) (Kindle Locations 1700-1702). Harvard Common Press. Kindle Edition.

    Also, according to the same source, during the resting stage the uterus needs to tighten around the baby’s body:

    “The resting phase is a “catch-up break” for the uterus; it comes after the cervix is completely dilated and the baby’s head has passed through the cervix into the birth canal. The uterus had been tightly stretched around the baby before the head slipped out. Now, suddenly, only the baby’s body remains inside the uterus, and the uterus fits more loosely around the baby. The uterus needs time to tighten around the rest of the baby. During this phase, the muscle fibers in the uterus shorten, making the uterus smaller, without noticeable contractions and without the mother having an urge to push. After the tumult of transition, the resting phase provides a welcome break.”

    Simkin, Penny (2007-01-15). The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions (Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, &) (Kindle Locations 1696-1701). Harvard Common Press. Kindle Edition.

    What are your thoughts?

    • Kate Evans

      My thoughts are “Damn! The book’s at the printers now! Too late for an edit.”
      I was quoting from Denis Walsh, Evidence-based Skills for Normal Labour and Birth. Still, it’s good to familiarise women with different rhythms of normal labour, even if the exact physiological mechanism is unclear (or wrong! Damn!).

  • anita

    Love it, so easy to ‘get’. Will keep an eye out 4 the book

  • So! Does that mean that “spring 2014″ is soon here?! :-D

  • Laura

    This is great. I love the simplicity and I also definitely vote yes on using “monkey.” I also understood that she meant that birthing the placenta was easy. Did not think that she meant the birth. I could tell by the face on mama monkey the birth wasn’t “easy” but sure was worth it. Great work! Can’t wait to get a copy here in the U.S.!

  • Bryony

    I was going to say that when it came to the actual birthing what I felt was power, not anger and fear….though saying that I call it my Boudica moment(s – I experienced it with both of my births). So perhaps there was a type of battle anger in there somewhere…interesting.

    I love your other book and am really looking forward to getting a copy of this one. I think the little niggles I (regarding the anger and fear) and other people (regarding monkeys) have may be because the book is so human. It is obviously true to you and this excerpt is absolutely brilliant and beautiful. You are wonderfully and contravertially releasing the truth about birth! Hurahh! Thank you. I cannot wait to read the whole book.

  • Jenny Corden

    Love it!! I think this book would make an excellent Mother’s Day gift to me!! Love your books so much xxx

  • Jan Ng

    Hi Kate

    I am a student child birth educator and love love love this preview chapter. I can not wait to be able to use a version of it in my classes and to buy the book. I think it does/will cause a very personal individual reaction in people and what I really like about it is how the illustrations and words work so well together to communicate so much more than anything else I have seen or read about birth.

    Warmest regards

  • Ah. How perfect is this? I am now 30 weeks pregnant with my 6th baby. I am also a birth attendant myself. And I am incredibly grateful for the fact that all 5 of my babies were born just as monkey mama has described. Thank you so much, I can’t wait to read the book, and to share it with my sisters, friends, clients. Wonderful work. I love it all.

  • Oh! And it made me cry <3

  • I adore this book!
    I would like all our clients to read it.
    I love how it conveys the down to earth , nitty – gritty reality of birth.
    Fabulous and inspirational ! X

  • Beautiful! Reminds me of the three births I’ve participated in, and explains a lot about the why’s and what’s I saw there, both for good and bad. Most good, mind you. Thank you very much for reminding me, in such a nice manner. Bless you! :-)

  • zarah

    Hi, is the book out? How can i purchase it?tq

  • Ksenija Malia Leban

    Brilliant! Have bought it right away!

  • […] myself from my ‘midwife brain’ and get in touch with my ‘monkey brain’ (see Bump: how to make, grow and birth a baby for further explanation of how your inner primate can help). Knowledge and using the […]

  • […] her book ‘Bump‘, Kate Evans refers to the knitting midwife as one whose job it is to “seek and out […]

  • Sara

    I love it! Awesome. I think it could help women to envision a normal birth. What’s the title of the book?
    Sara, an italian midwife

  • Emma (doula)

    OMG I love this!!!

  • […] Through all the changes in midwifery during the half century Mary Cronk has practiced, she has always been considered a radical. After thirty years with the UK’s National Health Service, Mary left to practice as an independent midwife, in response to the increasing medicalization of midwifery under the NHS. She states, “I don’t like conformity…and felt the guidelines were not right for the women giving birth and individual care had been lost.” Mary considers herself an employee of the mother, not the health system. She is recognized an expert in spontaneous breech delivery, and is famous as an advocate for eliminating routine active management of labor. Mary has published professional papers and articles, served on the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Visiting, as well as on the board of the Royal College of Midwives. In 1998, Mary was awarded an MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire, an award for outstanding service to the community. For an article about breech delivery, follow the link: http://www.birthworks.co.za/articles/midwifery-skills-needed-breech-birth-mary-cronk. See also this cartoon portrayal of Mary Cronk! […]

  • […] Badezimmer und Esszimmer (wo meine Mama wieder am stricken ist, ich lächle bei dem Gedanken an den Comic mit der im Hintergrund strickenden Hebamme) hin und her, schaue zwischendurch rüber zum Sofa, wo Milan zum Glück seinen Fieberschlaf […]

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