Life of a Midwife
Published by Midwifery Today, Inc., and edited by Jan Tritten

Life of a Midwife

[$25.00 plus S&H, 92 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today, Issue 34, Summer 1995. Copyright 1995, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Nancy Wainer Cohen.]

Midwifery Today has brought together a rich and striking blend of voices and informative, thought-provoking, heartfelt and diverse material in its new book for both aspiring and practicing midwives. As I read it, I thought that if I could get through it, absorb it, understand it, live it, I could really be a midwife. This book is indeed a screening: for those women who have not the time, commitment, constitution or support for such life work, the true awareness of that reality may very well surface, long before the last of the pages is in sight. Midwifery is not for the meek or cowardly, nor for the arrogant.

The subjects of money and family support (or lack of it) are discussed in a frank and uncompromising way. The subjects of defects and death are met head-on. The practical, educational aspects of midwifery and the intuitive, unseen, spiritual aspects of this calling are fully addressed. Included are the trials and tribulations, victories and tragedies.

This book may give aspiring midwives cause for pause and reflection, as it did me. But its cautionary words woven with an absolute love for, and belief in, midwifery allow us to untangle our own cords of confusion, fear, and desire, and to float peacefully, head down, on our way through.

I loved learning about each of the women through their writing-what midwifery means to them, the reasons why they first decided to become a midwife, the reasons they stay.

I recommend this book unreservedly, not only to aspiring midwives and apprentice midwives, but to all midwives, childbirth educators, labor and delivery staff members, hospital administrators, postpartum care personnel. To read this book is to gain insight into the journey and struggles that today's midwife must traverse in a system that itself has a long way to go to understand the sacrifices and the struggles of the profession. This book is not only for self-evaluation; it is a lovely way to feel a strong pulse of the midwifery heart.

Reviewer Nancy Wainer Cohen is an aspiring midwife and author of Silent Knife, Open Season,and Birthquake. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts with her family.