However, you may not be aware that Sheila was an early member of the MIDIRS editorial board and contributed greatly to MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, imparting her wisdom and knowledge, shaping the foundations for what MIDIRS is today.
Sheila was not a midwife but a social anthropologist with specialist interest in pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, campaigning tirelessly for women, supporting choice based on sound information.
As an honorary professor of the University of West London, Sheila lectured and taught in the field of midwifery, specialising in social anthropology, birth and breastfeeding.
She was a staunch advocate of home birth and it was one of her greatest beliefs that all women should be empowered to make the choice of giving birth at home if no unavoidable risk factors were apparent. Leading by example, Sheila gave birth to all five of her children, including twins, at home.
As an eminent author, Sheila wrote a great many books centred around childbirth, from pregnancy, breastfeeding and through the continuum to the transition to becoming a grandmother. The whole life spectrum!
Her latest and final book to be published this month (May), is her autobiography ‘A Passion for Birth. My life: anthropology, family and feminism’. This book demonstrates her passion for life and for women globally, inclusively. Although there may be some critics of her ideas and beliefs, women and midwives have been empowered and influenced by her work and her contribution to changing maternity care cannot be disputed. It has given women a platform and voice to have the choice of the birth they would wish for.
Although it is with great sadness that Sheila’s life has come to an end, we should celebrate the legacy she has left behind by supporting women through childbirth and beyond.