Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Book Review: Baby Catcher

Vincent, Peggy. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife. New York: Scribner, 2002.

“You have to lie down! What if the baby falls out?”
“What if the baby falls out? What if…it…falls…out, is that what you said? Well, darlin’ that’s the whole point, ain’t it?”

Beginning with the dramatic story of “Zelda,” Peggy Vincent chronicles her 30+ years of “catching babies” through descriptive accounts of births she attended in hospitals, birth centers, and homes. Vincent details her journey from nursing student to Lamaze instructor to midwife and mentor, inspired by physicians who viewed normal childbirth as a “retrospective diagnosis” and women who were not allowed to control their own birth experiences. The author lovingly tells of the women and births she encountered, including both happy and unfortunate outcomes. Vincent’s work also depicts the struggles midwives face in fulfilling women’s desires for how, where and when childbirth will occur, from reluctant emergency responders to indignant obstetricians and malpractice insurance struggles. This book will be of interest not only to expectant mothers, but also to midwives and others concerned about how the medical establishment treats the process of birth.

Note: The companion website for Baby Catcher is located at http://www.babycatcher.net/index.html, and includes an excerpt, the author's bio, answers to FAQs on home birth and midwifery, links to the author's other essays, and a list of recommended reading.
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