Andrea Roslyn Robertson
16.02.1948 - 28.04.2015
In the UK we had Sheila Kitzinger, in the USA they had Doris Haire and Elisabeth Bing and in Australia they had Andrea Robertson. As Andrea was much younger than the other three, her death in her 60s was entirely unexpected.
Andrea worked as an Occupational Therapist in both Australia and New York and after the birth of Jamie and then Jenny she became active and very vocal in consumer maternity groups. She was President of Parents Centres Australia from 1978-1984 and appeared on Australian TV, wrote for newspapers and magazines and generally put forward the case for gentle, loving and respectful birthing options.
Andrea established ACE, Associates in Childbirth Education, in 1985. This was an educational consultancy which provided workshops for midwives and other health professionals and antenatal teachers. Her teaching methods were dynamic, her research knowledge was prodigious. She brought to Australia speakers and lecturers who were internationally recognised and took them all over the vast country. As one of her speakers I really appreciated her knowledge of what it is like to be a key note speaker.
Her secreting away of your lunch on a plate ahead of the queue so that you didn't starve to death. Her knowledge of her speakers preferences so that whenever I had a day off it was when we had reached a place with wildlife and lovely flora. Her generosity so that whenever Giles and I went to Australia we always stayed with her in her lovely flat overlooking the city. We were planning a visit this year but now that she has gone it is too sad to go.
Having established training courses for antenatal educators in Australia both face to face and on line Andrea travelled all over the world presenting workshops on how to provide antenatal classes for midwives, doctors and antenatal teachers. She was always on the move. Whenever she came to the UK she stayed with us in London. How we looked forward to her visits. Fun, full of beans and a wonderful cook. She always took over the cooking of the dinner, glass of wine in one hand, spatula in the other she cooked interesting and innovative meals with the minimum of ingredients.
Andrea wrote many best selling books on Childbirth. Preparing for birth sold 260,000 copies, other titles include: Teaching Active birth, Making birth Easier, Empowering Women and The Midwife Companion. The Australian College of Midwives made her an Honorary Member because of her contribution to midwifery Education and Practice.
Andrea died suddenly and unexpectedly at home. Her son-in-law was staying with her so was able to organise ambulances and hospital admission. She is and will be sorely missed, both by those of us who loved her as a friend but also by hundreds of pregnant couples and midwives whose lives she touched.
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