Friday, May 27, 2011

Arms Wide Open: A Midwife's Journey by Patricia Harman

"Arms Wide Open is not just for those interested in midwifery or feminism. It's for anyone, of any gender, young or old, who cares about the earth and social justice. We each have our own song. This is mine and I sing it for you." -Author's Note

I know this book won't ever show up on bestselling lists like a lot of the books I review. It's probably not even a familiar title to most of you. This is a beautiful memoir, though, about all of the things mentioned above and more: midwifery, feminism, the state of health care in our country, motherhood and grandmotherhood, social justice and environmentalism. If any of those subjects interest you, I urge you to give it a shot.

I loved reading about her experiences living in communes. I could never give up all my luxuries, especially technology, but I'm so interested in that time during during the 1960s and 1970s when people were earnestly trying this. I know I would live in an intentional community, as long as I could keep my technology.

Because I'm passionate about birth, I enjoyed reading her experiences as a midwife. She starts as a home birth midwife and becomes a certified nurse-midwife, or CNM. Her husband is a P.A. and his experiences told in the story are a sad example of some of the things that are wrong with health care today.

I'll definitely be reading her other memoir, The Blue Cotton Gown, and looking into other memoirs of this sort (I'm talking about you, Ina May Gaskin).

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