Since its publication, we have been taking the book on the road with speaking tours, books signings and educational workshops. Everywhere we go, people seem to use some of the same language to describe Into These Hands. Words like “eye-opening, entertaining, inspiring, and provocative” keep coming up. We had a full-house at a workshop entitled, “What Really Matters: Wisdom From Midwives – 13 Essentials,” which was an educational session at the American College of Nurse-Midwives annual meeting held in San Antonio, Texas last week. I especially liked the younger midwives and students who came to the session and told me, “I was going to go to a technical workshop, but decided I wanted some inspiration. This is just what I needed.”
It is also a pleasure when some of the contributing authors for the book attend a workshop. They are able to share the process they went through to get their own memoir essay written, which for most of the contributors was a challenging ordeal.
For me as the editor, it was like herding cats. I became a midwife for the midwives, encouraging, cajoling and supporting them. The contributing authors, all of whom are very busy professionals, had to set aside large chunks of time for writing their memoirs. And the reflection and introspection it took to put the disparate pieces of a long life into a cohesive whole required some serious dedication. But eventually the pieces of the puzzle came together for each of them.
In the end, the authors felt like the time they invested was worth it. Several of them admitted, “It was a gift.” Sister Angela Murdaugh, for example, said, “I can tell a good story, but no one has ever asked me to write my story, and although I did not think I could write, I found once I got started I could not stop.”
It is my hope that more midwives will write the story of walking in the shoes of a midwife so that more people will understand the unique contributions they have made to the culture of childbirth in America and the impact they have had on the U.S. maternity care system.