A friend of mine loaned me her copy of Peggy Vincent's book, Baby Catcher, last week and I read the whole thing in two days. It is so good!
One of the things I enjoyed most was how the reader can feel time passing throughout the narrative, simply by the types of clients that the midwife encounters. The stories in the beginning include hospital births, a nurse instructor with a bouffant hairdo, and married couples in Lamaze classes. Then the stories phase to hippie couples, lay midwives, Birkenstocks, and Leboyer baths. Then there are home births, midwifery school, Christian Scientists, and a psychic institute. And towards the end, lawsuits, soccer moms, and a young Muslim couple. You can really feel the culture of each of the decades in the details of Peggy Vincent's stories and I found that very engaging.
The other changes that she describes in the stories are those concerning the practice of midwifery in the United States - from the lay midwives practicing without licenses, to alternative birth centers within hospitals, to licensed midwives who were fully insured, and midwives working in the hospital culture of birth efficiency...
Peggy Vincent also shares a few very moving stories about her personal pregnancy experiences, including a difficult delivery and the conception of a Spirit Baby, as her son called it. All of the birth stories are very interesting and they cover a variety of people - different ages, ethnicities, and creeds. A few of the stories might be a little much for people who aren't involved in the birth culture or who don't enjoy pregnancy stories, but all of them have happy endings. :)
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