This is the author’s second memoir regarding a midwife’s life and experience. The first ‘Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story’ incorporated much about her own personal growth, life and experience. This latest one deals with the time she and her husband spent at a missionary hospital in a remote part of Zambia, Africa. It is just as informative as the first.
The reader is initially given an insight into the difficulties and frustrations faced when proposing to enter such a country, despite the fact they were going there to help the local, indigenous population.
Subsequently, the author shares details of what it is like to live in an area where there is little in the way of western world products, supplies and services, which most living in those societies take for granted. She also provides insights into local attitudes, housing, and foods and how they survive despite the limitations. One point that impresses her and will also the reader, is how happy these people are despite having so little. Julie also details a few excursions she and her husband make into the surrounding countryside, and more when on their way home after the five month term they committed themselves to. Anyone who has read descriptions of the African terrain by those who have lived on the continent will find a similar love for it in Julie’s renditions.
The primary purpose for their stay was for Julie to serve expectant mothers. Her husband busied himself helping with construction of a new operating theatre, maintaining missionary homes, and keeping mechanical machinery and vehicles in operating order. The tender hearted may find some of Julie’s accounts upsetting. She clearly defines how difficult it can be for the often undernourished, hardworking, women when it comes to birthing. There are many accounts of joyful resolutions but there are also several that end in sadness. The picture, frequently portrayed in the past, of African women simply squatting in a field and giving birth is far from the reality. The detailed explanations and descriptions are very interesting and informative, especially to those unfamiliar with midwifery and birth in general. Some may find it too much but Julie’s accounts are not so grotesque as to cause offence. To help the reader’s understanding a glossary of medical terms, with explanations, is provided at the end of the book though it would probably assist most if its existence was highlighted at the start. This book, along with the first, would probably make good reading for those considering a midwife career or those just starting out on such an occupation.
Unquestionably this book has been written in the authors own unique voice. However, this has led to some repetition in places and the book would benefit from some additional editing to tighten it up. Nevertheless, these do not detract from the authenticity, honesty and insightfulness of this book.
The technical knowledge and information shared within this account make it worthy of a four star (4*) rating.
The book is available in paperback and digital formats.
Born for Life: A Midwifes Story has been previously reviewed.