Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story

This true story tells of Julie’s struggle to triumph over adversity and follows her journey to fulfil her dream and become the midwife she was born to be.
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Book Description:

A nurse aide position in the local maternity annexe at the age of sixteen gave Julie a love for being with women during labour and birth and caring for mothers and their babies.

Life could not have been happier until the tragic death of her own baby in the first hour of life led to depression, loneliness and despair.

This true story tells of Julie’s struggle to triumph over adversity and follows her journey to fulfil her dream and become the midwife she was born to be.

This book is the autobiographical account of a woman who was involved in childbirth much of her life. It took me a while to figure out where it was taking place, which I knew wasn't the USA, but wasn't sure where until it was stated eventually that it was New Zealand. That explained some of the terminology which was unfamiliar, but nonetheless, I could relate to this book on many levels. First of all, as the mother of six children, I've been through the birth process personally enough times to understand much of what was recounted for numerous birth experiences. I suppose one I had that wasn't mentioned was a posterior presentation. I was also surprised that women in labor whose membranes had ruptured were allowed in a bath, something that was a major no-no here in the USA. Other than that, most was familiar, other than names of different medications. You really got to know the author through her experiences, some of which were heartrending, which of course life can be at times, especially with something as intense and life-changing as childbirth. She started out at the tender age of 16 as a nurse's aide, then eventually later in life went to nursing school and certified as a midwife, which she'd dreamed of doing her entire life. I could relate to that as well, having returned to college when I was 35 to pursue a physics degree and my childhood dream, then eventually starting my career at 41 years old working for NASA. This book also made me realize that a person doesn't have to be famous to present an interesting story. I thoroughly enjoyed it throughout, eventually feeling as if I knew the author as a friend. I have thought of writing up some of my experiences, but wondered if anyone would care since I'm not famous. This story, however, demonstrated the value of stories of ordinary people who have done something remarkable. Anyone who feels as if they're too old to pursue their dreams needs to read books like this, which will remind them not to give up. However, be warned, this one has a whole bunch of somewhat graphic descriptions of the birth process, which may not be everyone's cup of tea for entertainment. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it tremendously.

-- 5X Space Cadet

Wow, what a journey! This is such a tale of growth and maturation - from the incredible woman at the center of the story to the medical world she works within. I shook my head at the beginning, as I tried to imagine having a baby in the early 1970's. Between the differences in education, tradition, implementation, and culture, the experience of giving birth (and the practice of assisting with a birth) were nearly unrecognizable from the experience of a common-day family. Ms. Watson's personal story was honest and impactful. I cried tears of both joy and anguish with her as she shared her life experiences, including her heartfelt account of the dark and difficult years following the tragic loss of her second child. Strength and determination bloom from the hard times Ms. Watson endures, allowing her to persevere through extensive schooling so that she might better the lives of so many fellow mothers and their children. As a woman and a mother, I thank her for her passion and commitment to offering helpful and competent care for so many families, and as a reader I thank Ms. Watson for sharing her interesting and thought-provoking story.

-- Stephanie

About the Author ▸ Julie Watson

Julie grew up in a small, rural town in New Zealand. After leaving school, she worked at the local maternity annexe as a nurse aide, which gave her a love for caring for mothers and babies. Life could not have been happier, until the death of her second baby at birth led to depression, loneliness and despair. Julie’s first book Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story follows her journey to overcome challenges and become the midwife that she was born to be. Julie hopes that her story will inspire others to follow their dreams and not give up hope. Midwifery remains Julie’s passion. Julie loves travelling and has worked as a midwife in many countries – including Zambia, Africa where she worked at Kalene Mission Hospital. Julie’s second book Born for Life: Midwife in Africa describes her experiences living and working in Africa. She shares her incredible journey to make a difference in the lives of African women and their babies at the most cherished time in their lives. Julie lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand with her husband, Barry.