Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: More Than a Midwife

More Than a Midwife: Stories of Grace, Glory, and Motherhood [Paperback]

by Mary Sommers
MavenMark Books (HenschelHAUS Publishing) (October 1, 2011), 148 pages

Reviewed by Molly Remer, Talk Birth

More Than a Midwife is a thoroughly delightful little volume by experienced and resourceful midwife, Mary Sommers. One of the things that makes the book particularly distinctive is the impressive diversity of Mary’s work experience. The book includes stories from her work as a midwife in urban Chicago as well as in Africa and Mexico. As always, glimpsing the dire situations facing birthing women cross-culturally is a sobering reminder of the immense challenges international midwives face with few physical resources—they accomplish an amazing level of care with only their heads, hands, and hearts.

Each story shared in the book is selected with care and has an important message to share. The stories are about unique women and their unique births and what Mary (and the reader) can learn from them. From empowering and exhilarating, to difficult and heartbreaking, particularly notable are the stories that remind us all to treat every woman with dignity and respect, regardless of her life’s circumstances or choices. Mary is clearly a midwife who loves women and birth and practices with sensitivity, respect, and positive regard.

More Than a Midwife is a slim paperback. It is nice size to hold easily and the stories are short and easy to read in small chunks of free time. It is occasionally erratic in the organization/flow of a story and in a few of them I had to re-read segments to understand chronology. However, this was a negligible issue in the context of this thoroughly enjoyable small book.

Mary Sommers has written a true gem of a book. I feel honored to have read More Than a Midwife and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in birth, homebirth, midwifery, or women’s health. Most excellent!

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

GRN: CPM Symposium Offers Live Streaming

Hello Friends,

Citizens for Midwifery is a proud sponsor of the CPM Symposium co-sponsored by NACPM and AME this coming weekend. We are very excited to both participate and support this gathering because it promises to be a unique and fresh approach to assessing the current landscape, identifying opportunity and challenges and creating realistic next steps in order to advance the profession of midwifery. We're particularly excited to see that they are offering Live Streaming, making conference content affordable and accessible to those who cannot make the Symposium in person. Live streaming participants will be able to contribute and interact with the conversation happening inside the Symposium!

We wanted to let you know that they are giving away one free Live Streaming pass. All you have to do is share the information about the conference on one of your social networks and leave a comment to enter to win. Learn more and enter here!

If you are attending the conference please make sure to introduce yourself and say hello to Susan Hodges, Jeanette McCulloch and Nasima Pfaffl who will be participating as Citizens for Midwifery representatives.


Hillary Boucher & the CfM team

P.S. If you can't make the conference or attend the Live Streaming event you can still follow along on Twitter! Follow the hashtag #CPMsymp12 to join the conversation!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day---Guest Post: Wake Up Campaign

Today is International Women’s Day, an occasion to celebrate women and girls’ remarkable potential, inherent worth and vital contributions to our communities. It’s also a day to recognize that millions of women and girls still confront threats to their safety, their health, their livelihoods and their dignity - and to advocate for solutions that can improve their lives.

Are you concerned with these issues? Then join the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s Wake Up campaign. At, you can read stories of real women facing crisis – like Fatuma, whose daughter was assaulted on the daily trek for clean water in Somalia; Francine, who is working to overcome the wounds of sexual slavery in Congo; and Angele, a Cameroonian asylee who fled political turmoil in her home country and is slowly rebuilding her life in the United States. You can sign a pledge affirming your support for women and girls like these all over the world who are fighting for survival and struggling to endure. When you do, you’ll join the ranks of such notables as IRC Voice and “The Walking Dead” star Sarah Wayne Callies and actresses Téa Leoni, Alyssa Milano and Morena Baccarin. And you can use the tools in the IRC’s handy social action kit to share the pledge and raise awareness about what can be done to help – which makes you a part of the solution.

The IRC works to protect and empower women and girls in more than 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, from Burundi to Baltimore. We’re joining with them on this special day, to take a stand for women and girls. We hope that you will, too. Sign the Wake Up pledge and pass it on!
Article provided by Ruth Fertig of International Rescue Committee

In photo:
Lay Htoo, 20, looks at her newborn daughter Di Lay, born a few hours earlier in Tham Hin refugee camp’s maternity ward. Each year, 15 midwives trained by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) examine and support hundreds of women and children in the camp, which is near the Thailand-Myanmar border. (Photo: Peter Biro/IRC).