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Single mom, jazz singer, salsa dancer, traveler, and midwife to more than 700 babies, Cara Muhlhahn holds nothing back--in her life or in this memoir. As a teenager, Cara's family home burnt to the ground. That tragedy led her on a journey that would span a variety of countries and cultures. While she was in Morocco, a woman suffered from a fatal injury. Grieving the unnec Single mom, jazz singer, salsa dancer, traveler, and midwife to more than 700 babies, Cara Muhlhahn holds nothing back--in her life or in this memoir. As a teenager, Cara's family home burnt to the ground. That tragedy led her on a journey that would span a variety of countries and cultures. While she was in Morocco, a woman suffered from a fatal injury. Grieving the unnecessary death, Cara resolved that, next time, she would know what to do to save a life. In this fascinating and searingly honest memoir, Cara reveals what eventually led her to support women in one of the most significant experiences of their lives. Balancing science with intuition, parenthood with her work, and sacrifice with joy, Cara shows us what it means to be alive and to live a life of purpose. Just as readers are fascinated by Carly Fiorina's or Elizabeth Gilbert's journeys, they will find great inspiration in Cara's journey to live her calling. Whether you read about her "in Vogue "or the" New York Times"; saw her in the documentary "The Business of Being Born," by filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein; or are learning about her for the first time here, you are sure to be inspired by her remarkable story.


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Single mom, jazz singer, salsa dancer, traveler, and midwife to more than 700 babies, Cara Muhlhahn holds nothing back--in her life or in this memoir. As a teenager, Cara's family home burnt to the ground. That tragedy led her on a journey that would span a variety of countries and cultures. While she was in Morocco, a woman suffered from a fatal injury. Grieving the unnec Single mom, jazz singer, salsa dancer, traveler, and midwife to more than 700 babies, Cara Muhlhahn holds nothing back--in her life or in this memoir. As a teenager, Cara's family home burnt to the ground. That tragedy led her on a journey that would span a variety of countries and cultures. While she was in Morocco, a woman suffered from a fatal injury. Grieving the unnecessary death, Cara resolved that, next time, she would know what to do to save a life. In this fascinating and searingly honest memoir, Cara reveals what eventually led her to support women in one of the most significant experiences of their lives. Balancing science with intuition, parenthood with her work, and sacrifice with joy, Cara shows us what it means to be alive and to live a life of purpose. Just as readers are fascinated by Carly Fiorina's or Elizabeth Gilbert's journeys, they will find great inspiration in Cara's journey to live her calling. Whether you read about her "in Vogue "or the" New York Times"; saw her in the documentary "The Business of Being Born," by filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein; or are learning about her for the first time here, you are sure to be inspired by her remarkable story.

30 review for Labor of Love: A Midwife's Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alise

    I'll admit up front that my "gold standard" midwife memoir will always be Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. That book is one of my all-time favorites. And this one fell well short of that, IMO. Cara was a part of the film "The Business of Being Born" and I really enjoyed that movie and her role therein. And her book has moments of interest. But honestly, it felt more like an average writer's blog compiled into a book. I have absolutely no doubt that she has an amazing practice as a homebirth midwif I'll admit up front that my "gold standard" midwife memoir will always be Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. That book is one of my all-time favorites. And this one fell well short of that, IMO. Cara was a part of the film "The Business of Being Born" and I really enjoyed that movie and her role therein. And her book has moments of interest. But honestly, it felt more like an average writer's blog compiled into a book. I have absolutely no doubt that she has an amazing practice as a homebirth midwife, but I personally found her book a little self-congratulatory. I didn't like how she referred to women who had c-sections as being sectioned, as I think that diminishes both the woman and her birth experience. I personally would have liked to have read more birth stories. I felt like the scope of this book was too broad for the 245 pages. I generally walk away from books by midwives wanting to have a homebirth or to get back to working as a doula, but this book just didn't really move me that much. Certainly there were a few poignant moments that tugged on the heart-strings, but overall, I just found the book to be lacking the heart that one feels when reading something by Ina Mae Gaskin or Peggy Vincent. I think she would have benefited from a better editor. If you like midwife stories, this isn't awful, but for me, it just didn't have the soul that I look for in books about such a sacred event.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Talitha

    I was looking forward to reading this book after being introduced to Cara Muhlhahn in the documentary, The Business of Being Born. Cara's personality comes across as quite dynamic in the documentary and I figured her book would be as interesting as the person. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The writing manages to be both pedestrian and vain. Cara clearly thinks very highly of herself but doesn't give the reader any reason to do likewise. Much of the book is related through dry, self-congra I was looking forward to reading this book after being introduced to Cara Muhlhahn in the documentary, The Business of Being Born. Cara's personality comes across as quite dynamic in the documentary and I figured her book would be as interesting as the person. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The writing manages to be both pedestrian and vain. Cara clearly thinks very highly of herself but doesn't give the reader any reason to do likewise. Much of the book is related through dry, self-congratulatory scenes of Cara's life. Continuity of story is lacking, as are any interesting details of each scene. Certain stories seem included only as a way of name-dropping various doctors Cara has worked with, rather than adding substance to the book. Due to the documentary, I remain convinced that Cara is a fascinating character study (if perhaps egotistical) but you would never know it from this book. I gave it two stars only because the second half of the book did focus a bit more on her home-birth practice which, by nature of the subject, made it more interesting to me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linda Griffin

    A good memoir by an intelligent advocate for midwifery, but I would have liked more birth stories.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erika Nerdypants

    I'm giving this 2 stars, because for me it was just okay. I was expecting more birth stories, but instead there was a lot of personal details on Cara Muhlhahn. She does describe the politically hostile climate that midwifery finds itself in (still) in the medical community, and I hope by bringing attention to the fact that midwives are competent caregivers who are more than qualified to attend birthing women, she will be able to at least be able to shift public opinion. I'm giving this 2 stars, because for me it was just okay. I was expecting more birth stories, but instead there was a lot of personal details on Cara Muhlhahn. She does describe the politically hostile climate that midwifery finds itself in (still) in the medical community, and I hope by bringing attention to the fact that midwives are competent caregivers who are more than qualified to attend birthing women, she will be able to at least be able to shift public opinion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Most will recall Cara Muhlhahn from her portrayal in the documentary "The Business of Being Born". I loved her in it and was excited to read her memoir. She seems to be very down-to-earth yet intense and type-A, service to others oriented, energetic with a big heart. She is all those things in the movie, but in the book she gives a very open look into her past, her life, and her tender soul. It's not a book about how to have your best birth or care for your baby, though I believe she coathored o Most will recall Cara Muhlhahn from her portrayal in the documentary "The Business of Being Born". I loved her in it and was excited to read her memoir. She seems to be very down-to-earth yet intense and type-A, service to others oriented, energetic with a big heart. She is all those things in the movie, but in the book she gives a very open look into her past, her life, and her tender soul. It's not a book about how to have your best birth or care for your baby, though I believe she coathored one along those lines with Rikki Lake and Abby Epstein, nor is it a collection of birth stories belonging to her clients. It is her own story, who she is as a person and how she became a homebirth midwife in New York City. A lot of factors lead each person (mostly women, but the occasional male!) into midwifery, but one thing is clear; it has to be a calling or it will just be a job. Perhaps if you stay in a hospital midwifery service you could do without the calling, just as some nurses can do it as a job without the calling piece...but if you're going to step out into birth center, hospice, or homebirth like Cara, the personal sacrifice and the heart necessary require a calling. She had hers right out of high school and did a lot of lay midwifery shadowing, but through seeing a few emergencies that they were ill-equipped to handle, realized she also wanted the nursing/medical background to be able to handle those emergencies. So she went to nursing school and became a great L&D nurse. Then through a series of what she calls "cosmic kicks in the pants" or what I would call "God's leading in your life" :-) she leaves nursing to go to midwifery school, then goes from hospital midwife to birth center midwife to homebirth midwife in her one practice. The "cosmic kicks in the pants" are most often negative events in her life, such as not getting a job or a promotion, clashing with hospital leadership, difficult birth of her own son, but she chooses to learn and seek direction through these challenges rather than give in or seek an easier path. You have to admire her for that. My favorite midwifery quote is on pg 158 "After the birth Sam came to me and said, 'I thought you were going to check me more and tell me more of what to do'."I didn't even tell her to push, and that gracefully allowed her to claim the power of the process as her own.Instead of being directed by me, Sam found her own ability to steer herself toward resolution. That resulted in her knowing for a fact that she found her way to the end of that journey, all by herself. By doing homebirths, we midwives attempt to offer this major gold nugget to women". I couldn't agree more, since this was my personal experience with midwifery care and I have seen it over and over again. One midwife friend (also my own midwife) told me "I've done my job if the patient says "I didn't even need that midwife! What was her name?" :-) What a contrast to hospital birth where the doctor is cast as the savior from the peril and near-death experience that would have resulted if he/she hadn't "Intervened". Of course this is not always the case, as there are many doctors who practice like midwives (humbly) and some midwives who practice like doctors (seeking self-glorification). And sometimes intervention is needed, which is why Cara sought as much knowledge and experience as she could before going out on her own. The only issue I had with the book is how she is kind of down on birth centers, although compared to the freedom of homebirth, they do have a lot more policies to adhere to and restrictions. They are still a haven for midwives and patients, though, a great place for midwifery students to learn, and a wonderful alternative for patients who are just too fearful for a homebirth. But Cara was obviously called away from them for a reason. I also appreciated her openness about her personal life, from her difficulty with love relationships, single motherhood, and especially the hard emotional journey she has had after losing a baby at birth. She says "I have come to know God in my own way and on my own terms through the work I do. Day after day I deliver babies, save lives, experience and facilitate near miracles. It would be impossible to do the work I do and not become acutely aware of the presence of....something.......I get the sense that some sort of powerful 'forces' out there provide order to this divine mess we call life." It seems that to be a midwife, you do have to have some innate spirituality. As a Christian, I would humbly say it needs to go deeper that the one Cara professes to be an anchor for you when the tragedy that occasionally follows comes. When she speaks of that time she says "It felt a lot like someone-God, the forces that be, someone-wanted me not to blame myself..." Is it enough to "know God on your own terms" or should we seek to know Him on His? Who is it really who brings babies safely through delivery, saves lives, and facilitates miracles? I have to say it isn't nurses or midwives(or even surgeons!). I have had some very close moments with the Almighty when I am resuscitating a baby and praying for its breath or massaging a bleeding mom's uterus and praying for her to be healed. So as she says,the divine power is undeniable if you're around birth. Or death for that matter. My prayer for her is that she would be drawn into a closer relationship with him...He is obviously using her in a powerful way. All in all, a beautiful memoir, and I enjoyed it all the more reflecting on all the beautiful, unique, courageous, smart, and giving souls called midwives I have been privileged to work with and have care for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This book came to me somewhat fortuitously, as I got it when I was an intern for Ms years ago, and didn't connect it with the scratchy-voiced, frazzled, and irresistible midwife from "The Business of Being Born" until just last year. The writing is underwhelming, but I don't judge Muhlhahn too harshly; she delivers babies for a living, and she does that really, really well. So an awkward turn-of-phrase and disorganized order to the book were maybe to be expected. Muhlhahn does tell story after s This book came to me somewhat fortuitously, as I got it when I was an intern for Ms years ago, and didn't connect it with the scratchy-voiced, frazzled, and irresistible midwife from "The Business of Being Born" until just last year. The writing is underwhelming, but I don't judge Muhlhahn too harshly; she delivers babies for a living, and she does that really, really well. So an awkward turn-of-phrase and disorganized order to the book were maybe to be expected. Muhlhahn does tell story after story about her own innate and infallible inner voice, though, which told her once while being mugged that the gun pointed at her was a prop (it was, after all), and tells her how to proceed in the trickier home births she encounters. Perhaps stories like that are useful to nervous mothers, who want to see every step taken by their midwife, even in the situations where decision-making needs to be done so quickly that the origin of the decision cannot possibly be charted. I found it new-agey and hoaky, which I also felt in Inga Muscio's feminist manifesto "Cunt," when Inga apparently brings about a miscarriage by envisioning the fetus fervently, and getting her masseuse friend to massage her uterus. (Amazing, Muhlhan ALSO has a spontaneous, desired miscarriage.) Times like those, "Labor of Love" seemed more than scattered; it seemed sloppy. But the truth is that midwives wouldn't feel any NEED to talk about their body synchronicity stories or their perfect instincts if their profession were regularly considered a valid, well-trained medical one. In this country, it still is not. ACOG, infuriatingly, still officially disapproves of homebirthing, although most of the rest of the world practices it safely. With that knowledge, I'll take unprofessionally-written, messy memoirs as a way to get the word out any day.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Megan Palasik

    I got this book for free on my Kindle. I have always had an interest in midwifery, but when I read negative reviews for this book I was hesitant to try it. I enjoyed this book. Yes, Muhlhahn comes off a bit full of herself and likes to talk about how wonderful she is as a midwife. However, if you can look past/ignore her self-glorification, I think it's a really interesting book. I had never read anything about midwifery before, but since I do not have children of my own (yet) I think using a mid I got this book for free on my Kindle. I have always had an interest in midwifery, but when I read negative reviews for this book I was hesitant to try it. I enjoyed this book. Yes, Muhlhahn comes off a bit full of herself and likes to talk about how wonderful she is as a midwife. However, if you can look past/ignore her self-glorification, I think it's a really interesting book. I had never read anything about midwifery before, but since I do not have children of my own (yet) I think using a midwife is definitely something I will consider. Muhlhahn is a midwife in NYC, but has taken an interesting path to get to where she is. This book is not just about the practice of midwifery, but it is Muhlhahn's adult life story. At times she jumps around and I'm not sure who or where she is talking about. Also, she sometimes seems to begin talking about one thing/person, goes off on a tangent, and does not return to the original hook of the section. That was annoying a couple of times. Overall, I think it is a very honest, from one person's perspective, view of midwifery. Muhlhahn tells it like it is. She also mentions a couple of times a documentary started by Ricki Lake that she participated in called The Business of Being Born. I was fortunate to find it at the library and rent it. I think it is an excellent documentary and gives more insight into midwifery and the author of this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I don't remember where I first heard about this book. Cara Muhlhahn was the midwife featured in the documentary The Business of Being Born. She's a nurse-midwife who specializes in home births. (Disclaimer: No, I'm not pregnant. Thanks for asking.) I don't usually read biographies, but this one was compelling. Muhlhahn discusses her early life and how it developed into a midwifery career. She talks about the joys and triumphs, but she doesn't shy away from the failures, either. In one particular I don't remember where I first heard about this book. Cara Muhlhahn was the midwife featured in the documentary The Business of Being Born. She's a nurse-midwife who specializes in home births. (Disclaimer: No, I'm not pregnant. Thanks for asking.) I don't usually read biographies, but this one was compelling. Muhlhahn discusses her early life and how it developed into a midwifery career. She talks about the joys and triumphs, but she doesn't shy away from the failures, either. In one particularly moving scene, she talks about the only baby she ever lost (out of 700+ births) and how it affected her. Muhlhahn has worked in the labor and delivery wards in hospitals and is ambivalent about them. She appreciates that they're there for emergencies, but she finds that they do too many unnecessary interventions and they take away a woman's sense of empowerment and independence. She looks to the European and Japanese systems for inspiration, where the majority of births take place in the mother's home, assisted by midwifes, and doctors are only consulted in the case of emergencies or high-risk pregnancies. I found this book thought-provoking. I'm not sure it's for everyone, but it's definitely a great way to get a conversation started about home births, which are a tiny minority in the U.S. and Canada. I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in the topic.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Meg Marie

    While I am not the homebirth-type myself, I admire women who undertake that route, and appreciate people like Cara Muhlhahn, who help them in their journey. That said, this book was a fast read, but not a terribly enjoyable one. The tone bothered me, though it was not as preachy as I expected - Mulhahn does not expect or want every woman in the US to start giving birth at home, unless it's something they truly believe in, she just wishes medicine itself took a less clinical approach to the act of While I am not the homebirth-type myself, I admire women who undertake that route, and appreciate people like Cara Muhlhahn, who help them in their journey. That said, this book was a fast read, but not a terribly enjoyable one. The tone bothered me, though it was not as preachy as I expected - Mulhahn does not expect or want every woman in the US to start giving birth at home, unless it's something they truly believe in, she just wishes medicine itself took a less clinical approach to the act of giving birth. My problem with the tone was that it flipped between being sort of hippie dippy (she had a big soul and a beautiful heart) to being sort of bossy and know it all (ie, every thing that happens to her for a reason and she is absolutely FATED in her life.) I think the work she does is wonderful, but I didn't think the author came across as likeable, which is a problem if you're writing a memoir (in my opinion.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    A.

    I read this partly because I'd been interested in having a homebirth, but all the midwives in my town were booked solid so I ended up at the hospital instead, which was, for the most part, a positive experience. This was not the best-written memoir I have ever read--it was interesting but she makes a lot of blanket statements about the medical profession and her bit about parking tickets and wanting special plates kind of just irritated me. Some of the statements about delivering in a hospital fe I read this partly because I'd been interested in having a homebirth, but all the midwives in my town were booked solid so I ended up at the hospital instead, which was, for the most part, a positive experience. This was not the best-written memoir I have ever read--it was interesting but she makes a lot of blanket statements about the medical profession and her bit about parking tickets and wanting special plates kind of just irritated me. Some of the statements about delivering in a hospital felt a little dated, too--I was never offered an epidural while in labour, or any pain relief (it was expected that if I wanted it, I would ask), and the hospital encouraged moving around, spending time in the shower with warm water, squatting, whatever you were comfortable with. I know this isn't typical of all hospitals, but the more clinical version Muhlhahn describes isn't necessarily typical either.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    Not what I was expecting. It struck me as a very superficial memoir, wherein the author flitted from midwifery process to how she got pregnant to how God or the universe or something thinks she's plenty special but never examined anything in much depth. I wasn't knocked out by the writing style, and there were more than several editing fumbles and typos. I focus on flaws like my dog focuses on his frisbee, to the detriment of everything in the area. The book seems to be sort of a companion piece Not what I was expecting. It struck me as a very superficial memoir, wherein the author flitted from midwifery process to how she got pregnant to how God or the universe or something thinks she's plenty special but never examined anything in much depth. I wasn't knocked out by the writing style, and there were more than several editing fumbles and typos. I focus on flaws like my dog focuses on his frisbee, to the detriment of everything in the area. The book seems to be sort of a companion piece to a movie called The Business of Being Born, and I can't help but think that the movie will be better. As far as the homebirth midwifery aspect, I didn't feel like there was any new information, but the stories might be reassuring to someone contemplating having her baby at home. Again, there was more surface than depth. Disappointing.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Hope

    Cara Muhlhahn is an awesome woman, a homebirth midwife who has been working in New York City for over 30 years. Her story is great, but her book was not as great. There were many facts and opinions about the medical community, how she had experienced it and statistics that just seemed to be repeated over and over. I really wanted more FEELING and less of the narrative, which got a little hard to get through at times because it seemed disconnected from the passion that drives her to do her work. Cara Muhlhahn is an awesome woman, a homebirth midwife who has been working in New York City for over 30 years. Her story is great, but her book was not as great. There were many facts and opinions about the medical community, how she had experienced it and statistics that just seemed to be repeated over and over. I really wanted more FEELING and less of the narrative, which got a little hard to get through at times because it seemed disconnected from the passion that drives her to do her work. I would have liked more stories of babies and mothers she has worked with. It was an interesting read because of the subject matter - something I am extremely interested in - but I have read other midwife memoirs that I would much more highly recommend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    LM

    This was a free Kindle book that a friend told me about. Cara was serving as back up to my midwife during my 8th month. This started out feeling very arrogant and I almost wanted to compare her memoir to Paris Hilton's because there was something similar in their written voices (or ghost written as the case might be). However I stuck with it and I enjoyed her story more as it went along. I felt like I got to know her better and like her better which was the point. This was a free Kindle book that a friend told me about. Cara was serving as back up to my midwife during my 8th month. This started out feeling very arrogant and I almost wanted to compare her memoir to Paris Hilton's because there was something similar in their written voices (or ghost written as the case might be). However I stuck with it and I enjoyed her story more as it went along. I felt like I got to know her better and like her better which was the point.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Raven

    Compelling and interesting read about the life of a modern homebirth midwife. She is a great storyteller and I enjoyed reading about how she came to midwifery and her personal vision for the care of mother and baby. And she wasn't afraid to talk about the difficult things. Compelling and interesting read about the life of a modern homebirth midwife. She is a great storyteller and I enjoyed reading about how she came to midwifery and her personal vision for the care of mother and baby. And she wasn't afraid to talk about the difficult things.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Interesting to read about the experiences of a home birth midwife,, but the author was a little (and by a little, I mean extremely) self-congratulatory. Major turnoff.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa West

    High fives to herself. Don't bother... High fives to herself. Don't bother...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Joshua

    She's a great midwife, but not a great story-teller. She's a great midwife, but not a great story-teller.

  18. 5 out of 5

    David

    Engaging discussion of her career as a solo-practice (after a few years getting started working in hospital and then free-standing birth center) nurse-midwife helping families with at-home births. Poignant discussion of the one infant death she experienced. we didn't do it at home, but having had one child with a nurse-midwife at birth center and one with physician in hospital, I could appreciate her arguments for the comparative benefits of employing a midwife for the birth. I suppose if you wer Engaging discussion of her career as a solo-practice (after a few years getting started working in hospital and then free-standing birth center) nurse-midwife helping families with at-home births. Poignant discussion of the one infant death she experienced. we didn't do it at home, but having had one child with a nurse-midwife at birth center and one with physician in hospital, I could appreciate her arguments for the comparative benefits of employing a midwife for the birth. I suppose if you were a physician reading this book could be aversive, as she does develop this theme at some length. Remarkable that she has done all this as a single mom. Her son has to put up with some deprivations caused by the nature of the mom's work (e.g., she has to take a call to a birth and misses Christmas altogether one year), but for the most part it sounds as though she makes it all work well enough.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Davida

    I don't think I would recommend this book, at least not the first half. It's another one of those memoirs that badly needs to be edited. The writing is not great but worse than that, Muhlhahn just goes on and on about how gifted and wonderful she is. BORING! She's not only the best nursing student, she's also a talented singer. She's not only inclined to be a hard-worker, she also blah blah blah. All of that could have been left out. The second half is much better, with details of her own home bi I don't think I would recommend this book, at least not the first half. It's another one of those memoirs that badly needs to be edited. The writing is not great but worse than that, Muhlhahn just goes on and on about how gifted and wonderful she is. BORING! She's not only the best nursing student, she's also a talented singer. She's not only inclined to be a hard-worker, she also blah blah blah. All of that could have been left out. The second half is much better, with details of her own home birth and interesting stories about her clients, as well as her, admittedly interesting and valuable, comments on the state of birthing today in the US. But I have to say that I was so put off by her nonstop bragging in the first half that I almost didn't make it to the second half! And no, I don't remember her from The Business of Being Born, Mom. I'll have to watch it again. Maybe she's just arrogant when she writes. ;)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    As a homebirth midwife I wanted to like this book more. I agree with many of the other reviewers...her tone was arrogant at times, but I do believe she really appreciates birth and works hard to preserve its sanctity. I thought it could have used better editing, not only did I find typos, but I also felt the flow was distracting. I agree that more birth stories would have been beneficial. She also had one bit of inaccurate information...antihistimines are not implicated in the reduction of milk s As a homebirth midwife I wanted to like this book more. I agree with many of the other reviewers...her tone was arrogant at times, but I do believe she really appreciates birth and works hard to preserve its sanctity. I thought it could have used better editing, not only did I find typos, but I also felt the flow was distracting. I agree that more birth stories would have been beneficial. She also had one bit of inaccurate information...antihistimines are not implicated in the reduction of milk supply, but rather decongestants are. Still, it was a quick, enjoyable read for us birth junkies. I especially liked reading more about her birth, since that was pretty much the most amusing part of BBB.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Merrow

    Not the best memoir I've read, but it's a nice snapshot into the life of a busy, NYC homebirth midwife. There's a lot of "look how awesome I am!" but overall, the Muhlhahn's passion and care for her mamas/babies shines through. Often the home/hospital birth camps are completely polarized to one another, characterizing each other as the spawn of satan. I really liked that while Muhlhahn consistently points out the drawbacks of CYA (cover your ass) medicine, she doesn't necessarily demonize it. Thi Not the best memoir I've read, but it's a nice snapshot into the life of a busy, NYC homebirth midwife. There's a lot of "look how awesome I am!" but overall, the Muhlhahn's passion and care for her mamas/babies shines through. Often the home/hospital birth camps are completely polarized to one another, characterizing each other as the spawn of satan. I really liked that while Muhlhahn consistently points out the drawbacks of CYA (cover your ass) medicine, she doesn't necessarily demonize it. This isn't the book to read if you're considering different birth options, there are better books out there. With a fascination with homebirth, the midwifery model of care, and a few friends in midwifery school now, I found this a fun, enjoyable read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eva Seyler

    Ih. This was okay. The first half was really not much to do with midwifery at all. When she finally did get to talking about her work it was more interesting. Her attitude comes off as being really rather arrogant and proud of how wonderful she is, which was annoying, but she did have interesting things to say about her work and the current condition of industrialised maternity care. I thought it was ridiculous that she promoted the use of castor oil, though, and subscribed to the notion that if Ih. This was okay. The first half was really not much to do with midwifery at all. When she finally did get to talking about her work it was more interesting. Her attitude comes off as being really rather arrogant and proud of how wonderful she is, which was annoying, but she did have interesting things to say about her work and the current condition of industrialised maternity care. I thought it was ridiculous that she promoted the use of castor oil, though, and subscribed to the notion that if you have little to no morning sickness you're having a boy. Sure. Neither I nor my one friend had much nausea at all with our girls and Frances was much worse than me with Josiah. There was a lot that rubbed me the wrong way, I guess.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Well, if you're looking for a heartwarming collection of birth stories in this book, as I was, you will not find them. This is, indeed, a memoir, but I think it's fairly inaccurate to have called it a "midwife's" memoir. Cara (whose practice is questionable due to a lawsuit or two) is a midwife, but this is a story of her unusually charmed life and spends a great deal of time detailing her privileged experiences. By comparison, she devotes very few pages to actually being a midwife and there are Well, if you're looking for a heartwarming collection of birth stories in this book, as I was, you will not find them. This is, indeed, a memoir, but I think it's fairly inaccurate to have called it a "midwife's" memoir. Cara (whose practice is questionable due to a lawsuit or two) is a midwife, but this is a story of her unusually charmed life and spends a great deal of time detailing her privileged experiences. By comparison, she devotes very few pages to actually being a midwife and there are hardly any birth stories, if you can even call them that. She seems to complain about her job, rather than delight in the high emotions and joy of childbirth, and treats it with very little sentimentality or emotion. She might as well have been writing about a career as a real estate agent.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    This book just reiterates the idea that not everyone should be a writer. Muhlhahn has a story to tell, but just doesn't have the writing ability to tell it in an interesting way. Her writing feels juvenile, is repetitive, and she wants to portray herself in a very specific way, which annoyed me as a reader. I finished the book, only because being in the last trimester of my pregnancy, I am hungry for any birth stories and she waits until the end to really tell any good ones, even though the titl This book just reiterates the idea that not everyone should be a writer. Muhlhahn has a story to tell, but just doesn't have the writing ability to tell it in an interesting way. Her writing feels juvenile, is repetitive, and she wants to portray herself in a very specific way, which annoyed me as a reader. I finished the book, only because being in the last trimester of my pregnancy, I am hungry for any birth stories and she waits until the end to really tell any good ones, even though the title made me think otherwise. If I wasn't pregnant right now, I would have stopped reading this book after a few chapters.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    Of course I enjoyed this memoir written by a homebirth midwife. It was pretty well-written and engaging. But it was also a little self-aggrandizing. I don't think anyone would call Cara Muhlhahn a humble person. There are some typos in the book, one of which is pretty significant: saying that at age 40 the chance of having a baby born with Down's Syndrome is one in one (i.e., 100%!). Actually, it's 1 in 100 (I checked). It's definitely worth a read, but for those more interested in learning abou Of course I enjoyed this memoir written by a homebirth midwife. It was pretty well-written and engaging. But it was also a little self-aggrandizing. I don't think anyone would call Cara Muhlhahn a humble person. There are some typos in the book, one of which is pretty significant: saying that at age 40 the chance of having a baby born with Down's Syndrome is one in one (i.e., 100%!). Actually, it's 1 in 100 (I checked). It's definitely worth a read, but for those more interested in learning about homebirth midwifery, I'd recommend works by Ina May Gaskin or the excellent memoir by Peggy Vincent Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristianne

    Maybe because I spent time in Eugene, Oregon and midwifery was standard op for a lot of people I knew, but this book didn't offer me anything new. Maybe it had more to do with the fact that it was more about the author's life and hardships than about midwifery. I would rather know about the practice of catching babies and what midwifes and mothers think about birthing practices than about how hard it is to park in New York City. I think this would be a fine primer to introduce someone to the idea Maybe because I spent time in Eugene, Oregon and midwifery was standard op for a lot of people I knew, but this book didn't offer me anything new. Maybe it had more to do with the fact that it was more about the author's life and hardships than about midwifery. I would rather know about the practice of catching babies and what midwifes and mothers think about birthing practices than about how hard it is to park in New York City. I think this would be a fine primer to introduce someone to the idea that midwifery exists and is still a practical and popular choice for pregnant women.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rori

    I was excited to find this book in the library after watching The Business of Being Born and seeing the author in the documentary. I was impressed with how she came across and expected her book to be a fun and informative read. The book fell a bit flat, however. I enjoyed the stories she told, but it seemed to meander all over the place reading more like a stream of consciousness. I felt like she simply scratched the surface of her life as a midwife, the births she attended, etc. It was a very q I was excited to find this book in the library after watching The Business of Being Born and seeing the author in the documentary. I was impressed with how she came across and expected her book to be a fun and informative read. The book fell a bit flat, however. I enjoyed the stories she told, but it seemed to meander all over the place reading more like a stream of consciousness. I felt like she simply scratched the surface of her life as a midwife, the births she attended, etc. It was a very quick read, definitely not a bad book, but not one I'd rush out to add to my personal collection.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    The author is the NYC homebirth midwife profiled in the film The Business of Being Born, which I've been writing about for work, so I felt I had to read this. I liked the birth stories (of course) best (except for a very sad one which perhaps was not good to read while 8 months pregnant). Didn't love the "story of her life" stuff at the beginning, and there's one story where she takes a cab b/c her car is dead and then later talks about piling ppl into her car [inaccuracies like that drive me ba The author is the NYC homebirth midwife profiled in the film The Business of Being Born, which I've been writing about for work, so I felt I had to read this. I liked the birth stories (of course) best (except for a very sad one which perhaps was not good to read while 8 months pregnant). Didn't love the "story of her life" stuff at the beginning, and there's one story where she takes a cab b/c her car is dead and then later talks about piling ppl into her car [inaccuracies like that drive me batty:]--but overall it's a decent, quick, informative read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    This book was quite awful. I understand that she is a wonderful mid-wife, but she is a terrible writer. This book isn't so much a memoir of a midwife (which I assume would be filled with birth stories) but more like the ramblings of a women who eventually ended up a midwife, after joining the Moonies cult, having an abortion, forcing her 28 year old boyfriend to impregnant her when she was 37 and oh yeah, let me advertize my practice and push the documentry I was featured in. The only birth stor This book was quite awful. I understand that she is a wonderful mid-wife, but she is a terrible writer. This book isn't so much a memoir of a midwife (which I assume would be filled with birth stories) but more like the ramblings of a women who eventually ended up a midwife, after joining the Moonies cult, having an abortion, forcing her 28 year old boyfriend to impregnant her when she was 37 and oh yeah, let me advertize my practice and push the documentry I was featured in. The only birth story was one where the infant ended up dead. Not really all that great of a book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Interesting characters have interesting stories. But maybe-- they should hire ghost writers to tell their stories for them. Cara Muhlhahn is a homebirth midwife in New York-- what a life! She's smart, highly-trained, humble, adventurous, committed. But, she's not a writer. The book reads like a series of jumbled conversations-- the pointless mixed with the profound. The only thing I came away with was some curiosity about the film, "The Business of Being Born," that spotlights Cara's practice. Interesting characters have interesting stories. But maybe-- they should hire ghost writers to tell their stories for them. Cara Muhlhahn is a homebirth midwife in New York-- what a life! She's smart, highly-trained, humble, adventurous, committed. But, she's not a writer. The book reads like a series of jumbled conversations-- the pointless mixed with the profound. The only thing I came away with was some curiosity about the film, "The Business of Being Born," that spotlights Cara's practice.

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