FOR a group of Melbourne parents ... maternity service reform is not just a concept but a source of pain and hope.
Seven women and one man told of traumatic childbirths in the hospital system. They described physical and emotional scars to pressure the Federal Government to extend support for private midwives and home births.
Karen ... said she believed a series of bad decisions in hospital had led to the death of her third child ... the experience had left her shattered and angry about what she called a lack of accountability.
Sharon and Anthony said the birth of their first son had turned into a nightmare after a promising start. A doctor declined their request for an epidural, telling them: ''You will have an immediate C (caesarean) section or you will have to transfer out of the hospital.''
After a long and traumatic operation, Charlie was born safe and well, but Anthony said ''the obstetrician talked to me and he told me it was my fault about what happened - and he said, 'You haven't got me at my best and I haven't done my best work'. I was just shocked.''
Midwife Sally-Anne Brown, of the Australian Private Midwives Association, said these traumas showed that the maternity system was ''a broken mess''.