Library: a woman's best friend

Since my childhood, libraries have played a central role in my life: The reading races to see who could score the most points in elementary school. The book-mobile truck that stopped in front of our house every two weeks in the summer days of my childhood, beckoning the neighborhood to come out and find new words and stories to fill their warm evenings with. The Tremonton library which lent itself to calm afternoons and was just a short walk from mom's store.

I made my way downtown to the Central Library shortly after arriving in Seattle to pick up my new resident library card! I feel like this little piece of plastic makes me an official member of the beautiful city surrounded by water. The bicycle jaunts around town, back and forth to pick up books that are being held under my name, are inspired (if not provoked) by my need for new reading.

The hunger for knowledge, the passion to experience another person's life through the words they write, the excitement for travels and happenings that are not mine, these are the ideas and feelings pushing my to read ravenously. Since getting my library card three weeks ago, I have swallowed book after book after book. Mostly the subject is midwifery, though I'm expanding a little and wish I had MORE time to read. If you too are interested in reading some of the books I have on the topic of babies, birth, etc-- here's my list of digested books & movies from the past couple years on the subject. Most of them are narratives, stories of women's experiences in the realm of baby catching.

Your Fertility Signals: Using Them to Avoid or Achieve Pregnancy
The Business of Being Born
Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
--Reading so many statistics regarding childbirth mortality and morbidity became somewhat dull, but the comparison of birth practices of the United States to those of other developed nations was interesting. Considering cesarean rates, perineal tears versus episiotomies, development of labor on its own versus medicine's management with pitocin, etc, this book raised my eyebrows.The Birth House: A Novel
Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali
--This book is easily one of the most moving accounts of a peace corps experience AND that of a midwife's assistant. Two experiences I crave, combined. It's heart-warming, heart-breaking, and overall a story I will never forget, filled with laughter and tears and cross-cultural accounts in relation to birth, pregnancy, nutrition, malaria, and AIDS.A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785 - 1812
Labor of Love: A Midwife's Memoir
The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times
--The story of midwife working in a convent with hardened and happy nuns, working with clients living in complete poverty where sanitation was a dream, not a possibility. I was interested in her accounts of social welfare and the system that failed most of her pregnant patients in the ghettos of London, including prostitutes, new mothers, and a woman who spoke no English. Great read! Oh, and coincidentally, after reading in this book about "kangaroo care," a form of caring for babies born prematurely, I stumbled into the similar information in the news!
Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife
The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding

I am currently reading Heart and Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, a book that is more hands-on textbook than story telling, and it's nice for a change. Also on the list of items-in-waiting at the library:

All My Babies: A Midwife's Own Story (1953)

Listen To Me Good: The Story of an Alabama Midwife
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
Spiritual Midwifery

When I get email updates from the library saying an item is on hold for me, waiting for pick-up, it's like Christmas!


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