Official Website of Midwife & Author
Scars of Gold
A midwife's personal experience of birth trauma & recovery
"When I was wearing my work uniform and work badge, what I said mattered. My words carried weight and I had the power to make things happen. But the moment I was the birthing woman in a hospital bed, wearing a patient gown instead of my work uniform—suddenly I was simply a bed number and nothing I said mattered or carried any weight."
Despite being a midwife and equipped with insider knowledge of the maternity care system in which she worked, Sharon still felt vulnerable and disempowered during her own experience of giving birth to her son.
"My dear friends and colleagues in maternity care, when we as maternity care workers don’t listen, we strip a woman of her power and identity. When we don’t take her seriously, there is a cost."
Scars of Gold tells the story of Sharon’s personal experience of birth trauma, the drastic impact it had on her life, and how she used her voice to fight for change.
This honest and emotional memoir of courage, determination, and resilience serves as an inspiration to help others find their voice, but most of all, is a call to action for maternity care providers to rethink their approach to maternity care.
It’s time for a revolution.
It is time to listen to women.
ENDORSEMENTS FOR SCARS OF GOLD
“The healthcare system can be an impersonal and unforgiving place, but the people who work in it can find themselves in the role of patients as well as caregivers. They are therefore subject to the same issues and challenges as others in the community, but have a unique perspective spanning both sides of the clinical relationship.
By sharing her personal experiences, Sharon Stoliar highlights how difficult it can be to be heard in healthcare, and the devastating impact it can have on the health and future of affected individuals. She also highlights the simple things that make a difference but are often overlooked, and from this offers a roadmap to better outcomes.
This book should be required reading for all healthcare practitioners and students, and will improve the quality of care they provide. I am delighted to recommend it.”
Professor Vlado Perkovic
Dean of Medicine and Scientia Professor, University of New South Wales
“Sharon has let us into one of the most intimate parts of her life and bravely and generously shared her story of birth trauma and her road to recovery. As a mum and a midwife she brings a unique perspective and this book is her opportunity to show the world how she turned her scars to gold.”
Professor Hannah Dahlen, AM
Professor of Midwifery, Associate Dean Research & HDR, Western Sydney University
"Sharon's powerful story highlights how important it is for a woman to be heard during her birth and recovery and how we as medical professionals can be both the answer and the problem in our patient's care.
This experience can help so many women find their voice but also be a wakeup call to doctors and other health professionals about being dismissive."
Dr Jana Pittman
Mother, Wife, Doctor, World Champion, Olympian
“Sharon Stoliar is the epitome of what it means to be hero. Where most would run from painful memories, Sharon holds hers close, using her brave voice to demand change for the rest of us.”
Author, Mental Health Ambassador, Foster Carer, Host of The Wise Guides
"Sharon's story is shocking, but one that is all too common. By shedding light on the widespread reality of birth trauma Sharon will empower women to have safer, healthier births. Valuable research and an enriching read for mums-to-be and the nursing, birthing, and medical staff who support them."
Dr Justin Coulson
Best Selling Author, co-host & parenting expert of Channel 9’s Parental Guidance, Psychologist
"This is a wonderful book tackling birth and trauma in a compassionate and thoughtful way. Sharon gives voice to many of the themes women and partners feel after a traumatic perinatal period. It’s so important we hear these stories and narratives of birth and healing."
Dr Rebecca Moore
Perinatal Psychiatrist & Make Birth Better co-founder
"After all these years, it remains a searing tragedy, that we are still not getting birthing right. That in our modern world, with all our scientific advances, something so basic goes wrong at a human level for so many mothers and their partners. Sharon Stoliar writes as both a midwife, and a person who has experienced severe outcomes from birthing herself. And who identifies the core problem in a way that can be fixed. We have to prioritize deep listening and respect for the mother at birth. We have to make midwives and doctors' lives workable so they can afford the time to do this. Otherwise the echoes of trauma for mother, baby, and health carer will continue to do immense harm, as they have for centuries. We need to fix this now. This book is an unforgettable signpost to how we do that."
Steve Biddulph AM
Best Selling Author, Activist, Psychologist
“Birth Trauma is real. Birth Trauma experienced at the hands of care providers is also very real.
Reading Sharon’s painful and incredibly personal story is yet another insight into what is happening within our maternity care system. #ItsTime to return to kindness, compassion, empathy and really listening to women/people - as the compulsory prerequisite for ALL birthing women/people.”
Producer, Activist, co-founder of the Birth Time movement, co-writer, director & producer of Birth Time: the documentary
“The miracle of birth, is just that. A miracle. If everyone makes it out of there okay, we say, that’s all that matters. And of course, in the big picture, there’s truth to that. Yet, research tells us, birth experiences matter a great deal when it comes to how things unfold in those first few months of a child's life. And unfortunately, in many cases- can have a negative impact for years.
In Scars of Gold, Sharon’s post labour experience depicts the physical and emotional damage, that can occur when women aren’t listened to. Sharon’s story exposes the raw pain of a traumatic birth, and the hope that her experience would change the way maternity care is provided to women.”
Radio Presenter & Producer, Hope 103.2
“Sharon's story is a moving personal account of the damage birth trauma can inflict on new, vulnerable mums. She is truly brave for laying it all bare so that others may learn from her experience. Left with crippling injuries and battling a sea of emotions for many years, Sharon is fighting to speak her truth and to have birth trauma recognised.
I fought back tears as I read each page feeling every emotion Sharon endured. It’s a compelling read that will leave you with many questions about how we can get it so wrong in this day and age."
Senior TV Produce, Creative Director, & Presenter - Mummy Time TV
"Sharon's reflections hit me far more personally than anticipated, due to a non-obstetric incident where a hospital ‘accidentally’ overdosed me, finding my blue-black body lying dead in my own vomit, so many of Sharon’s comments hit that raw nerve “…bitterly betrayed by the healthcare system I had placed all of my faith in … I was one of their own, but they had utterly let me down … [with their] lack of proper care … the system that used me, chewed me up, and unceremoniously spat me out … I received a copy of my records … Each entry I read through left me more furious than the one before … To say I was angry at what I was reading was an understatement. I was enraged.”
And as a woman who has given birth several times, I became a Midwife who strongly advocated throughout my career, to passionately prevent avoidable birth trauma, and to thoroughly debrief unavoidable birth trauma, because I know how dreadfully it can haunt a mother, for the rest of her life. Sharon gives sound to the many unheard voices.”
Kathy Fray, Midwife & Best-selling Maternity Author
"Thank you to Sharon Stoliar for bravely and transparently telling her story of birth-related trauma. While complications may be missed or incorrectly diagnosed even in the best medical systems, Sharon describes the real source of trauma: not being heard, seen, or believed. Her account reminds us of the most fundamental care principal. Namely, that the people we serve are experts in their own experiences and bodies and it is our duty to learn from what they tell us, to approach our care with empathy and humility, and to fully embrace their position at the center of the care team."
Dr Joan Combellick PHD MPH CNM FACNM
Co-Specialty Director, Midwifery
Yale School of Nursing
Sharon is a Mumma to Jeremy, Step-Mumma to Zoe and Dylan, and wife to Ronen.
Scars of Gold is her first book which details her traumatic birth experience and the long-term impact it has had on her life.
Sharon’s birth experience was the catalyst for undertaking a PhD researching the personal childbearing experiences of women who are midwives.
Sharon received her Bachelor of Nursing (2006) and Graduate Diploma in Midwifery (2008) from UTS. She later obtained a Master of Public Health (2013) and Mater of International Public Health (2013) from UNSW.
She is passionate about all things maternal health and is slowly working on a passion project focused on raising awareness of birth trauma.
Sharon lives in Sydney, Australia with her family.
From victim to survivor to warrior of change
Each trauma shared out loud is one less trauma suffered in silence.
media & awards
Coulton, S., et al., Acute compartment syndrome of the lower limb following childbirth: a case report. Journal of Medical Case Reports, 2020. 14(1): p. 1-6.
Stoliar, S.C., H. Dahlen, and A. Sheehan, Insider knowledge as a double-edged sword: an integrative review of midwives’ personal childbearing experiences. 2022.
Stoliar, S.C., H. Dahlen, and A. Sheehan, A national survey of Australian midwives’ birth choices and outcomes. Women and Birth, 2022.
Sheehan, A., Adhami, F., Schmied, V., Sorensen, K., & Coulton, S. (2018). South West Sydney is mentoring midwifery students. Women and Birth, 31, S14.
Sheehan, A., Elmir, R., Hammond, A., Schmied, V., Coulton, S., Sorensen, K., . . . Burns, E. (2021). The midwife-student mentor relationship: Creating the virtuous circle. Women and Birth.
International Press Release on Australia's #1 newswire website
Pregnancy Birth and Beyond Podcast
When Midwives Give Birth
Annalee Atia interviews Sharon Stoliar
Dr Justin Coulson's Happy Families Podcast
Episode #594 Birth Trauma: A conversation with Sharon Stoliar
Australian Nursing & Midwifery Article
By Robert Fedele
‘Insider knowledge’ helps midwives get the maternity care and birth outcomes they want
If you would like a copy of one of my published papers or would like to say hi, you can e via the following: