Book Review: Mothership by Francesca Segal

ISSN 0256-5004 (Print)

AIMS Journal, 2019, Vol 31, No 4

Reviewed for AIMS by Jo Dagustun

Mothership

By Francesca Segal

Chatto and Windus, 2019

288 pages

£14.99

ISBN 978-1-78474-269-0

Find this book on Amazon

Image of Mothership front cover

According to Bliss (a charity supporting parents of babies who are born prematurely or unwell), one in seven of all babies born in the UK spend some time in neonatal care. Whether the stay is short or long, it is an experience that has a lasting impact on every family involved, and it is good to see a new book on the market that allows outsiders a glimpse into this rather hidden but hugely valued part of the NHS.

As an established novelist, Francesca Segal is clearly at an advantage in writing about her time as a new mother whose twins are being cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In this memoir, Francesca describes the first 56 days of her daughters’ lives, until they are ready to go home together as a family.

For readers (like me) who have not encountered life as a NICU mother, Francesca’s account offers a compelling insight into the experience. It shares some of the unspoken rules of this unique space and invites us to consider the value of spontaneous peer support, as complementary to the professional support offered. Against the backdrop of a hugely impressive service offer, it allows the reader the opportunity to consider some key areas for service improvement. And, whilst Francesca’s account is firmly centred on her experience as a milk-producing NICU mother, the memoir also includes some thought-provoking observations about the role of fathers, too.

The memoir doesn’t attempt to tell you ‘everything you need to know about NICU’. It is a story of one woman’s experience: just one of many diverse experiences. But it is no less important for that: this memoir provides a key introduction to many aspects of the parental and baby NICU experience from a parent’s perspective.

This book would make an excellent read for anyone planning to work with families accessing neonatal care. I’d also recommend it to anyone involved in maternity/neonatal-service improvement, including Maternity Voices Partnership members, both with and without personal experience of having a baby in NICU.

Latest Content

Journal

« »

The CQC 2019 survey of women’s expe…

To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 2 By Nadia Higson The Care Quality Commission (CQC) mater…

Read more

Incentives for Continuity of Carer…

To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 2 By the AIMS Campaigns Team Trust Boards will now have a…

Read more

What has the AIMS Campaigns team be…

To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 2 We reviewed the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) 2019 su…

Read more

Events

« »

AIMS 60th Anniversary Event - Confe…

POSTPONED FROM JUNE 2020 Making a difference past and future The purpose of the day is to celebrate what Birth Activists in general and AIMS in particular have achieved,…

Read more

ARM National Conference 2020: "How…

Chair: Professor Soo Downe, University of Central Lancashire Dr Gloria Esegbona, OBGYN and Winston Churchill Fellow 2015 Kings College Learning Institute Dr Gloria Esegbo…

Read more

NICE Annual Conference 2020

Registration for the NICE Annual Conference 2020 will open on 22 January 2020. For more details and to register your interest, please visit http://www.niceconference.org.…

Read more

Latest Campaigns

« »

AIMS' evidence to the Health and So…

AIMS' evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee On April 22, the UK Parliament's Health and Social Care Select Committee opened an inquiry ​into the plannin…

Read more

AIMS Comments on RCM Clinical Brief…

AIMS welcomes the recent publication of the RCM Clinical Briefing Sheet: ‘freebirth’ or ‘unassisted childbirth’ during the COVID-19 pandemic ( www.rcm.org.uk/media/3904/f…

Read more

Template Campaigning Letters about…

AIMS has had many enquiries about how to find out about, and seek to influence, local service changes during this period. Here we have included several examples of issues…

Read more