Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review: Labor of Love

My mom has countless stories concerning her job. I almost always know when she's at a birth and I love praying for her and her clients. It's so great to talk to my mom the day after a birth and get updated on how things went. Every time we chat, I get inspired to write a book. The things my mom sees and deals with on a daily basis amaze me. I love hearing the stories of hard work and triumph. I love laughing at her and Cindy's shenanigans. She has dealt with some tough situations and has witnessed miracles. She has even delivered a baby while injured on the job! All of these are great stories that hopefully will be told someday in the form of a book.

Until then, I enjoy reading other midwives stories. One particular midwife has stood out to me and I decided to pick up here memoir from the library. Labor of Love was written by Cara Muhlhahn, a medically trained midwife working in NYC. You might recognize her from the home birth documentary The Business of Being Born .

Cara's memoir was entertaining. She's a spitfire whose long journey to becoming a midwife took unimaginable twists and turns. Not only do you get to know her family and learn about her growing pains, Cara lets you in on her home birth and natural birth philosophies. I couldn't help but say aloud "YEAH! That's totally right!" while reading. She is passionate about what she does and her experience gives her all the credit a home birth skeptic would need in order to listen to her. During her 30 years of practice, she's delivered over 700 babies in every environment-hospitals, birthing centers and of course, homes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them all.

As well, it was good to hear directly from Cara about certain issues surrounding her 30 year practice including the death of a baby. Articles including THIS ONE have tried to get her point across, but couldn't do her justice because of obvious skepticism. In a way, this book was an attempt to clear her name and speak against some of the accusations.

Although I enjoyed the content, I believe this book was poorly written. It wasn't one cohesive piece but felt very choppy at times. The goal was for Cara to let you in on the long road towards her dream of becoming a midwife (unrealized until her mid twenties) which would lead into her current work and beliefs. Instead, you get most of the story but with interruptions and tangents that have nothing to do with the current topic. It didn't flow. Plus, there were TWO typos. That's just annoying.

I would recommend this book to those considering a home birth and definitely to those who have experienced it themselves. It's a fun read, quick and entertaining. Just know that it isn't like reading a beautifully written novel but more like listening in on a conversation or interview. Borrow it from a friend or check it out from the library.

Read quick interviews HERE and HERE to get a sneak peak of Cara's birthing philosophies.

Cara's official website


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