Arms Wide Open

Arms Wide Open

A Midwife's Journey

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A midwife's memoir of living free and naturally against all odds

In her first, highly praised memoir, Patricia Harman told us the stories patients brought into her exam room, and 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 with living a fully sustainable and natural life.

Drawing heavily on her journals, Arms Wide Open goes back to a time of counter-culture idealism that the boomer generation remembers well. Patsy opens with stories of living in the wilds of Minnesota in a log cabin she and her lover build with their own hands, 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.

Weary of the cold and isolation, Patsy moves to a commune in West Virginia, where she becomes a self-taught midwife delivering babies in cabins and homes. Her stories sparkle with drama and intensity, but she wants to help more women than healthy hippie homesteaders. After a ten-year sojourn for professional training, Patsy and her husband, Tom, return to Appalachia, as a nurse-midwife and physician, where they set up a women's-health practice. They deliver babies together, this time in hospitals; care for a wide variety of gyn patients; and live in a lakeside contemporary home--but their hearts are still firmly implanted in nature. The obstetrical climate is changing. The Harmans' family is changing. The earth is changing, but Patsy's arms remain wide open to life and all it offers.

Her memoir of living free and sustainably against all odds will be especially embraced by anyone who lived through the Vietnam War and commune era, and all those involved in the back-to-nature and natural-childbirth movements.

Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9780807001394
Characteristics: text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor
Alternative Title: Midwife's journey

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Jul 02, 2014

Amazing account of the life of a midwife and the patients Ms. Harman has seen in her role as a midwife in rural West Virginia. Definitely worth reading.

The best recommendation I can give "Arms Wide Open" is that I stayed up most of the night, curled under my flannel sheets, reading it until my eyes blurred. Much more a memoir than "Blue Cotton Gown" I was captivated by the author's honesty and passion, the details of time and place that allowed me to tag along on her journey vicariously, the greatest gift of a storyteller. "Arms Wide Open", like "Blue Cotton Gown" continues to sustain my faith in an ever hurried world of online health care and doctors who can't remember your name that there are still those out there that really care.


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