17 December 2009

A New Obsession

I just finished reading three really great books. If you're my friend on goodreads, you would know that I gave each one 5 stars, which for me is rare. I am very picky with the books I choose to read.

These three books were all written by midwives, who tell, in their own words, the different stories of many, many births. These women take you into their lives and into the lives of their patients' homes, where most of the babies are delivered. For some reason, I never tire of reading birth stories, especially when they are written with such detail that you feel like you are there witnessing the actual event, as these are.

This book was recommended to me by my high school friend, Paige, who said, "it made me want to change professions", and I might have to agree. Peggy Vincent is a great writer. Each chapter tells the story of another unique birth, mostly happy and healthy, though sometimes quite frantic and even sad. Her stories take place mostly in the 1980s and '90s in Berkeley, California, where she was a nurse-midwife practicing home births. I laughed and cried through this book and learned much that I didn't know about the whole process of birth.

A Midwife's Story, by Penny Armstrong & Sheryl Feldman

I enjoyed this book not only because of the amazing birth stories it told, but also because it taught me many things about the Amish culture/society that I did not know. They are an interesting people, and Penny Armstrong lived among them and delivered many of their babies.

The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Jennifer Worth, though not a nun herself, lived with and trained to be a midwife in a convent with a group of nuns. Worth, along with these Sisters, delivered the babies of the poor, working-class women living in the slums of London in post-war 1950s. The living conditions of these people with which she worked are described in disturbing detail.

The countless birth stories she tells are fascinating and well-written, and occasionally we step away from her day-to-day midwife responsibilties to learn a bit of the history of her patients.

If you have any interest in this topic, these books come highly recommended by yours truly. Let me know if you read any of them.


Ilene said...

Midwifery does interest me but when it comes to having my own babies, I find comfort in hospital bed and a doctor in a nice lab coat. I don't like to be petted, I think a midwife would annoy the crap out of me.

Perhaps reading one of these books could change my mind.

Jen said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I love a good read!

jefferies said...

Those all look interesting! THanks Kristine! I think I have read an older book by the same author who worked with the Amish...very interesting. I'm wondering if you've ever read Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin? That's my favorite birth story book. It's hippie and kind of cheesy, but very cool.

Shannan said...

I've read Baby Catcher and loved it and it actually saved my mattress! When I was 9 months pg with Chase I was reading that book and she often refers to women's water breaking at night so she often recommends her clients to put extra towels on their beds. I had just read that part and I thought, "well my due date is tomorrow, maybe I should do that."
I got up, put a bunch of towels underneath me, turned out the light and went to sleep. 30 minutes later, I feel *POP*, then GUSH, and my entire bag of water had broken in my bed - completely soaked up by those towels. So lucky I had read that that night! I just reserved the other books you recommended at my library.
Another book I read with my last pregnancy was called BIRTH by Tina Cassidy and it changed my life. Highly recommend!