The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife's Memoir

Patricia Harman, Author . Beacon $24.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-8070-7289-9

A nurse midwife struggling to keep solvent the women's health clinic in Torrington, W.Va., that she ran with her surgeon husband shares poignant stories about her patients over the course of a year. A self-described former hippie who lived on a commune with her three sons, Harman later went to nursing school and became a midwife while her husband, Tom, attended medical school. Although their practice took off, they were strapped with debt, back taxes, growing bills for malpractice insurance, constant threats of lawsuits and the discovery, over the year, of Harman's freak ailments—a gangrenous gallbladder and uterine cancer requiring an immediate hysterectomy. Harman conveys the hope inspired by her patients' stories, such as the seven-time mother who never tried birth control and couldn't decide which husband to stay with, and the lesbian horticulture professor who wanted to become a man. Wearying of the financial pressures and tensions with Tom, Harman tells in this heartfelt memoir that she dreamed of leaving the practice, though a genuine love for helping women, and her great faith both in God and her spouse, sustained her. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/14/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 297 pages - 978-0-8070-9684-0
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-0-8070-7291-2
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