‘What most women really want is someone to be kind’: Anna Saunders, midwife

The veteran midwife talks to Michelle Langstone about the increasing challenges of her profession – and the priceless moments that remind her why it matters.

Portraits by Edith Amituanai.

When Anna Saunders gave birth to her baby boy in a cottage on family land at Wainamu, Bethells Beach, her husband’s family drove all their 4WDs onto the sand dunes beside the lake and formed a circle so it would be easy for a helicopter to know where to land if there was an emergency. Saunders, a midwife of 30 years, just absolutely twinkles when she tells me this, and erupts into a delighted laugh. “They were all still up at 10 at night, waiting for the news! Nobody had been born at Wainamu at that stage, and they were a bit uncomfortable.” She gave birth to both her children on the West Coast property; her husband Jim Wheeler burst

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These lifelike dolls are helping women heal

Reborn dolls are displayed at a doll show in Brentwood, England.

The first time Karolina Jonderko held a reborn doll, she was amazed at how lifelike it was.

It not only looked like a newborn baby, but it felt like one, too. It was as heavy as a baby should be. She had to support its neck like a baby. It even smelled like a baby.

“My mind was blown, seriously,” said Jonderko, a photographer based in Poland. “It really feels real.”

These dolls, crafted by artists around the world, can cost hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars. They’re made of vinyl or silicone, and their realistic features can include veins, pores, tears and saliva. Some even have systems that mimic breathing and a beating heart.

Katarzyna sits with her reborn doll while her children play in a park in Warsaw, Poland.
A woman caresses the toes on
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Seoul’s Shit Advice for Pregnant Women: ‘Don’t Look Disheveled’

Illustration for article titled Seouls Advice for Pregnant Women: Dont Look Disheveled, Prepare Food for Husbands Unaccustomed to Cooking

Image: Chung Sung-Jun (Getty Images)

Last week, Seoul city government’s Pregnancy and Childbirth Information Center, as overseen by the Korean Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, published “advice” for women about to give birth. Normally, that wouldn’t be newsworthy, but it is a laundry list of archaic and sexist stereotypes so outrageous, I actually thought it was parody when I first read them. “Hang the clothes you wore before you were pregnant in a place where they are easy to see as that will motivate you to keep your weight under control and go back to the same weight you were before you gave birth. If you are tempted to over-eat or skip exercise, take a look at the clothes,” one guideline read, according to The Guardian. “And buy a hairband so that you don’t look disheveled after having the baby,” read

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Don’t put on weight and prepare food for your husband: South Korea’s advice to pregnant women

The Seoul city government has come under fire for a sexist advisory for pregnant women that included suggestions such as keeping their weight under control and preparing meals in advance so that husbands aren’t inconvenienced while wives are away, giving birth.

The guidelines were published on the “Seoul City Pregnancy and Childbirth Information Centre” website which was launched in June 2019 as an information hub about pregnancies and childbirth. They were taken down after a backlash.

According to the guidelines, women at early stages of pregnancy were advised to not put off “household chores such as cleaning or dishes,” as it could help her “manage her weight during pregnancy without an extra workout.” 

It also advised women to visibly hang the clothes they wore before their pregnancy to motivate themselves to keep their weight under control so they can go back to their pre-pregnancy body weight.  “If you are tempted

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