Sheena Byrom has been instrumental in this achievement. There were two significant ways in which she has helped shape the movement for normal birth in Bulgaria. First, she was able to identify other experienced midwives besides herself who would have the emotional capacity to understand the cultural context of birth-related issues. In this way, Sheena’s enthusiasm to gather a team who can propel the concept of compassionate care proved fundamental in initiating the leap.

Second, Sheena herself devoted much of her personal time to be physically, as well as from a distance, available to teach, guide and assess how a midwifery-led unit can operate successfully in a country that denigrates midwifery care. Overall, we would not be able to be where we are today – founders of the first autonomous midwifery practice and AMU – if it hadn’t been for Sheena’s ability to recognize our struggle, connect us with brilliant experts, participate in structuring the model of care we provide, teaching us clinical skills and serving as an outstanding example of what a midwife should stand up for. We are incredibly lucky to have met her.

Yoana Stancheva & Ilona Neshkova
Zebra Midwives – Bulgaria

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