Readers who are passionate about home delivery, non-medical intervention for laboring women and the connection between spirituality and giving birth will enjoy this story about Hannah, who practices midwifery in Minnesota when it was illegal in the 1990s.
Hannah has a clerical job in a St. Paul hospital when she’s dragged into assisting with a birth on a busy night. That fuels her fierce desire to deliver babies and she apprentices at an birth center in New Mexico, where midwifery is legal. There she becomes more confident in her skills, more sure than ever that birth is sacred. But Hannah faces challenges when she returns to her small Minnesota town to set up her practice. First, she needs a doctor who will oversee her work and the resident doc, a friend of her family, does so only because he harbors a secret having to do with her birth. Her father, a widowed pastor, doesn’t fully understand what she’s trying to do with her career. She has to question her commitment to her career when an intelligent and determined woman insists that Hannah deliver her breech baby. But Hannah refuses because of medical concerns and the possibility she could be in legal trouble.
Hannah’s a likeable character, as are the senior midwives from whom she learns. The male viewpoint is supplied by Stuart, a gay man she trains with in New Mexico who is sometimes shunned by the mothers because of his gender. One of her sympathizers in Minnesota is Chuck, the young pastor at her father’s church.
Throughout the novel Hannah grieves for her recently deceased mother and for something else, although she doesn’t know what that is. When she learns why she has always had an undefined longing, her life comes together.
Collected Words Radio Interview, 5/20/14 (second half)
KUMD Women’s Words, 11/16/14
Maternally Yours Radio, 10/7/14
Five Minutes for Mom
First the Egg
Remains of the Day
Today’s Work At Home Mom
Wonderfully Made Bellies & Babies