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Arms Wide Open: A Midwife's Journeyby Patricia Harman
Synopses & Reviews
A midwife’s memoir of living free and naturally against all odds
In her first, highly praised memoir, Patricia Harman told us the stories that patients brought into her exam room, and of her own story of struggling to help women as a nurse-midwife in medical practice with her husband, an OB/GYN, in Appalachia. In this new book, Patsy reaches back to tell us how she first learned to deliver babies, and digs even deeper down to tell us of her youthful experiments in living a fully sustainable and natural life.
Drawing heavily on her journals, Patsy goes back to a time of counterculture idealism. She opens with stories of living in the wilds of Minnesota, in a log cabin she and her lover build with their own hands, with the only running water being the nearby streams. They set up beehives and give chase to a bear competing for the honey. Patsy gives birth and learns to help her friends deliver as naturally as possible. She moves on to a commune in West Virginia, where she becomes a self-taught midwife, delivering babies in cabins and homes. But she wants to be able to help more, to do more. And so, after a ten-year sojourn for professional training, Patsy and her husband, Tom, return to Appalachia as nurse-midwife and physician and set up a women’s health practice.
Patsy’s memoir will be especially embraced by anyone who lived through the Vietnam War and commune eras, and by all those involved in the natural childbirth movement.
Recounts how the author learned to deliver babies and her experiences in rural communes, political activism, and urban counterculture in the 1970s.
About the Author
Patricia Harman, CNM, has published frequently in the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health. The Blue Cotton Gown (Beacon / 7291-2 / $16.00 pb) was published in 2008. Harman and her husband, Tom, run a women’s health clinic near Morgantown, West Virginia.
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Biography » General