"Half of what you need to learn to be a midwife is external stuff, pretty straightforward - textbook knowledge and bedside manners and how to interpret vital signs. The other half is subterranean. You learn by plummeting through your personal history to the molten core. No one goes their willingly. I certainly didn't. Sure, I can coach you to draw blood or measure a cervix, but how I can I convince you to dig under your easy actions and reactions down to the fiery furnace of your heart? This story is my best attempt."Hannah, Delivered in the mail about a month ago and I was chomping at the bit to start it immediately. Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew has written a beautiful and poignant book of fiction that has become a part of my permanent library.
Hannah delivered follows an aspiring, young midwife through her early years of training – the pitfalls and joys, triumphs and tragedies. The story itself is heartwarming; Hannah is a likeable, rebellious young woman. She struggles to find her own identity, not only as a midwife, but as a person, in a life that has been filled with secrets and shadows, hushed conversations in the hallways, and patriarchal and conservative constraints.
The book opens at a pivotal time in Hannah’s life; her mother passes away, she recently moved in with her boyfriend, and also taken a job at the local hospital as a desk clerk. She quickly befriends the fiercely independent and controversial resident midwife who challenges every cast Hannah has ever been placed in, and soon finds herself Called to pursuing midwifery.
As she embarks on her journey to birth work, she takes an apprenticeship in New Mexico, which
As the reader follows Hannah to the birth center where she starts her apprenticeship, we watch as Hannah builds relationships with men and women that challenge her deeply accepted, though perhaps not agreed upon, beliefs about herself, life, love, strength, and birth. And she begins to emerge a new Hannah.
Her journey is painful, yet beautiful – and I, as the reader, was completely immersed in her journey. I found myself laughing and crying with her, falling in love, and feeling the losses she experiences. This is not only a book about birth and birth work, but about life and finding one’s self.
At the conclusion of her story, I found myself longing to hear the next step in Hannah’s life – where her midwifery journey took her, what life paths she chose for herself. I mourned the ending of the story as a friend who departs on a long journey without me. I would highly, highly recommend this book as a wonderful fictional read to both lay people and birth workers alike. As some of the subjects dealt with are loss, I recommend pregnant women be aware of these potential triggers before reading, but otherwise, it has my full endorsement.
If you would like to win your own copy of Hannah, Delivered, just follow these three steps:
- Like Elizabeth's Facebook page (linked above)
- Share your favorite blog article from Bellies and Babies on Facebook (a group, your own page, etc..)
- Comment below telling me that you have done both (and provide a link to your post)
Voila - you're entered to win! Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm CST on May 31st. I will draw a name and post the winner on June 1st! Good luck! (continental U.S. only please)