I met author Patricia Harman virtually a year ago. She asked me to review her book Blue Cotton Gown. Prior to that review we got to know each other via telephone. I continue to marvel at how the internet brings people together. Her book was just wonderful.
A year later she’s written another. Imagine my delight at the invitation to review. Patricia is about a decade ahead of me in life. Her life experiences and her work fascinate me. Her new book Arms Wide Open takes you back to hippy days, how midwifery became her passion, and the things she gives up along the way to fit into the society around her.
Three things rang true for me with this memoir:
It’s not easy to be a hippy. Years of intentional living at some point lost its charm not because of lack of ideals and want, or from lack of really hard work. It lost its charm because living simply was almost impossible. I personally can relate to her earlier idealistic intentions. She and I have similar sensibilities. The rest of society just isn’t wired the same way. Her determination and her frustrations were poetically shared. Often the phrase Arms Open Wide emphasized a pause with nature, a welcoming of Mother Earth, or an exhale. How perfect.
Patricia was meant to be a midwife. I knew after reading Blue Cotton Gown that she loved her profession. How she came to be a midwife in a time when birthing was terribly clinical and archaic is pretty darn fascinating. Scenario after scenario I could almost imagine her by my side – she would have been the guidance and support I would have loved during the times I gave birth. In the profession of midwifery, she is highly regarded and often a speaker at national events surrounding this admirable work.
Lastly, Patricia deeply loves her family. Life as we all know gets complicated. The ups and downs of her personal life really tugged at my heart. I envy her relationship with her husband. Even when that relationship had its moments I somehow knew they’d find their way. Sprinkled throughout the entire book was Patricia’s quick and heartwarming humor. Often I laughed out loud as I read.
I think Patricia is a lovely author and a gift to those of us who have given birth to not only children but also to ways of living holistically or passionately. I appreciate her quest for simplicity and harmony. Some day I’ll get to meet her and I’ll give her the biggest hug I know how.
image by karen hanrahan