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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story is a non-fiction memoir written by Julie Watson. The author knew by the time she was ten years old that she wanted to be a nurse. There were other career options that she had considered and dismissed as she was growing up, but that one dream remained alive. When she was seventeen, she had the opportunity to become a nurse’s aide at Pahiatua Hospital. While it was not quite the same as training for and becoming a nurse, it was close enough and the pay was sufficiently attractive for her to give up her current job and go to work at the hospital. She was nervous when she entered the hospital building, had her uniform fitting, and spoke with the matron, Mrs. Brunton, but her enthusiasm won out over any fears, especially when Mrs. Brunton told her that she was being assigned to the maternity ward. That first assignment led to her lifelong dedication to helping women as a midwife.
Julie Watson’s non-fiction memoir, Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story, is well-written and compelling reading. It left me with a profound respect for midwives and the level of care they give and commitment they have for the women in their charge. I enjoyed seeing how she was able to get on-the-job training as a nurse’s aide, and empathized with her initial qualms as she learned how to care for and prep women who were ready to give birth. Watson also tells her own story in this heartwarming memoir, including her life with her husband, Barry, the births of her own children, and the steps she took to become first a registered nurse and then a midwife. Along the way, I learned a lot about New Zealand as it was in the later part of the twentieth century, and I appreciated the natural beauty and coastal experiences she shares with her reader. Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story is highly recommended.