It's been a few weeks now since I read this book, and it since has been borrowed by a friend, but the passionate stories within have imprinted on my mind as if put there by a branding iron! Peggy Vincent's captivating storytelling combines with a seemingly never-ending supply of interesting life experiences to make this book a quick and pleasant read - one that I finished in a single afternoon on account of walking around with it glued to my nose, unable to put it down.
You may have guessed by the title that Peggy Vincent is a midwife, but she is not just any midwife - she is one of the pioneering midwives of America's recent natural birthing movement, and this book is a series of short stories which capture beautifully her career. It talks not just of beautiful home births, but also the challenges that faced midwives in the early days, battles against obstetricians and hospital policy, the challenges of setting up a birth centre, legal problems and birth complications, all done in a captivating way.
It is a book that has reinvigorated the passion within me for natural childbirth. It has lifted my spirits in a time of struggling with university, despairing my choice to switch degrees into midwifery, and restored my faith that being a midwife is my calling. It awakened me to the stark differences between Australian and American birthing practices, and it left me swelling with pride for the profession that I have chosen to enter into. Having said all this, I do not think this book's magic is reserved for midwives or midwives-to-be. I think that anyone who loves a bit of riveting adventure would love this book, especially if you happen to enjoy non-fiction and be even just slightly partial to medical dramas (who isn't, amiright?).
All-in-all, it is a compelling light read and I cannot sing it's praises enough. Amidst all the heavy medical textbooks and terminology I'm forced into reading for university, I really enjoyed this little reminder of what midwifery is all about and the magic of childbirth!