When I am planning to travel I usually find a couple of books for my kindle. I prefer hard copy books most of the time, but when traveling e-books are a great option.
I saw the title online, Born for Life: A Midwifes’s Story, and was immediately drawn to it. It is a gem of a book.
Julie Watson writes a memoir about childbirth, her own and the many women she provided care for in New Zealand. She began her career in maternity care as a nurse aid in a small rural hospital. Some of the scenes reminded me of my early jobs as a nursing assistant.
She includes practices that are now outdated and no longer recommended—sugar water for infants, high forceps deliveries and more.
When she was 37 years old she studied to become first a registered nurse and then a midwife. As she approached her training she wrote this about the Nurses Amendment Act that was passed in New Zealand in 1990 and made the independent practice of midwifery legal.
The emphasis was on the midwife and the woman being in partnership, making decisions together about the care given. It was a model of equal power, rather than of a health professional telling the woman what to do and what would happen to her. Power was now given to women, which was so different from my own [childbirth] experience.
Ms. Watson began her practice in a hospital setting and then moved on to become an independent midwife with her own practice. She attended women in the home and in the hospital. Like so many other places in the world her practice as an independent midwife was seen as a threat to the business of birth.
For women interested in midwifery, it is a fascinating read.