‘We never train women in Sydney,’ Caroline de Costa was told in 1974 when she applied to become a junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology. She and her husband packed their bags and their children, and headed for Dublin.
When Caroline first started in medicine, being an unmarried mother was frowned on, cane toads were used for pregnancy tests, and giving birth was much riskier than it is today. Her funny and poignant stories of bringing babies into the world show that, while much has changed, women still work hard and it remains a bloody business. A birth plan is no guarantee of a normal birth (whatever that is).
Men have always wanted to control women’s bodies, and Caroline has been instrumental in giving Australian women of all backgrounds the opportunity to resist, and to choose when and how they have babies. Her behind-the-scenes stories reveal it’s often the little things that win a campaign.