Born for Life: A Midwife's Story

 
9780473299637: Born for Life: A Midwife's Story

From a young age, Julie pondered what she would do with her life. A job as a nurse aide in the local Maternity Annexe at the age of sixteen gave her a love for being with women during labour and birth and caring for mothers and their babies. Life could not have been happier, married to the man she loved and the birth of a son. The tragic and unexpected death of her second baby in her first hour of life led to depression, loneliness and despair. The true story tells of a woman’s struggle to overcome tragedy and who triumphs to become the midwife that she was born to be. The many birth stories are told from an era in the 1970s through the eyes of a young nurse aide to modern day midwifery in New Zealand as an independent midwife with her own caseload.

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About the Author:

Julie lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand with her husband Barry. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Following the story written in 'Born for Life : A Midwife's Story' Julie has travelled extensively and worked in several countries around the world, caring for women of different cultures, nationalities and backgrounds. She has worked in England, rural Australia, volunteered in Africa, and has recently volunteered in Northern Vanuatu as a midwife and nurse at Medical Santo.

Review:

The New Zealand College of Midwives  Midwifery News

Telling her personal story, Julie starts when she begins her journey into the world of caring for mother's and babies at the age of 16.  Qualifying as a midwife in 1995, she set up her own LMC practice in the front room of her home.
With a mixture of personal stories
and midwifery anecdotes, the book bounds through Julie's life. Her highly detailed narrative recounts the setbacks, heartbreak, sacrifice and dedication Julie needed to blossom from an excited teen, to a knowledgeable, confident midwife. 


Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Born for Life: A Midwife's Story is a non-fiction memoir written by Julie Watson. The author knew by the time she was ten years old that she wanted to be a nurse. There were other career options that she had considered and dismissed as she was growing up, but that one dream remained alive. When she was seventeen, she had the opportunity to become a nurse's aide at Pahiatua Hospital. While it was not quite the same as training for and becoming a nurse, it was close enough and the pay was sufficiently attractive for her to give up her current job and go to work at the hospital. She was nervous when she entered the hospital building, had her uniform fitting, and spoke with the matron, Mrs. Brunton, but her enthusiasm won out over any fears, especially when Mrs. Brunton told her that she was being assigned to the maternity ward. That first assignment led to her lifelong dedication to helping women as a midwife.

Julie Watson's non-fiction memoir, Born for Life: A Midwife's Story, is well-written and compelling reading. It left me with a profound respect for midwives and the level of care they give and commitment they have for the women in their charge. I enjoyed seeing how she was able to get on-the-job training as a nurse's aide, and empathized with her initial qualms as she learned how to care for and prep women who were ready to give birth. Watson also tells her own story in this heartwarming memoir, including her life with her husband, Barry, the births of her own children, and the steps she took to become first a registered nurse and then a midwife. Along the way, I learned a lot about New Zealand as it was in the later part of the twentieth century, and I appreciated the natural beauty and coastal experiences she shares with her reader. Born for Life: A Midwife's Story is highly recommended.

Book Review :-Australian College of Midwives
Born for Life: A Midwife's Story byJulie Watson
Book Review by Tarah McLachlan
Born for Life, a non-fiction memoir, is by Julie Watson who lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand where the novel is set. On the cover, a striking image of a mother and baby's embrace, skin to skin as nature intended. The image sets the tone of the novel, being natural, maternal,and instinctual.
Each chapter's title describes pivotal life events, from the age of ten years when Julie's dream to become a nurse began to the present day. The story begins on a humorous note, with Julie also having a dream to become a circus performer. Luckily she followed her true calling to become a Midwife.
The reader journeys with 16 year old Julie gaining employment as a nurse's aide in 1970, timid and nervous,having never held a baby before. Julie invites the reader to see things through her eyes, learn alongside her, and hear the thoughts in her head. When attending her first birth, she writes, "all I could say was... it will be ok, and then I thought, I hope it will be ok and that she doesn't die".
One of the most intriguing features of this book is the contrast between nursing and midwifery in the 1970's to today. The author describes the uniform, soap enemas,anal examinations, husbands' limited role in birth, cotton nappies and pins, pubic hair shaving, nipple baths, pinard auscultation, smoking on hospital grounds, abdominal and breast binding, the 'dog box' for noisy babies in the nursery,and perineal swabs, just to name a few.
There was no formal training to become a nurse's aide in 1970, duties were learned on the job. Julie illustrates moments where she practiced beyond the modern day scope of practice, "come and get me when she wants to push". This lack of supervision by the nursing sisters is startling. Nursing aide duties involved more of the hands on work, including assisting women to initiate breastfeeding.Many obstetric topics are covered in the novel, including eclampsia, undiagnosed twins, breech birth, adoption, and traumatic instrumental birth. The author talks directly to the reader, who feels involved in every birth and empathises with the situation.
At 20, Julie shares the tragic moment she loses her second baby, Shelley, during childbirth. Julie's personal story offers valuable insight into perinatal loss from a mother's point of view and is very powerful. Julie never saw or held her baby, and was not allowed to attend the funeral. She describes, the lack of family support, and this leaves Julie contemplating suicide. This event is pivotal and underpins the underlying purpose of the book, "Shelley's birth made it even more important to me... what I had experienced in life had meaning... everything I had been through could be used for good". As a mother of three, two of which suffer albinism, Julie begins formal nursing and midwifery training as a full-time mature student. She then sets up her own private practice as an independent midwife and shares inspirational birth stories with the reader including an extraordinary birth that occurred the night Princess Diana died. The memoir is great for aspiring nurses and midwives, and those interested or already working in the field. Medical terminology is often used and, at times, unexplained, while other times definitions are given. Refreshingly, there is only a minor mention of caesarean section birth. I felt the ending was rushed and I was not prepared for the novel to end.
It was privilege to follow Julie through her memoir, who generously shares experiences and is fundamentally a tribute to her love of 'being with' women. n
Born for Life is available to purchase at amazon.com oramazon.com.au in eBook or paperback formats.n 

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