Joan Skinner’s memoir Labour of Love reviewed on The Spinoff


Shanti Mathias has reviewed Joan Skinner’s first book, Labour of Love, for The Spinoff:

‘The beginning of Labour of Love works perfectly. Joan Skinner, a midwife and academic who has made a late-in-life pivot to creative writing, describes the first birth she saw as a trainee midwife. The woman has little to no agency. The setting is a sterile hospital. Skinner, just returned from a year living in Tonga, is terrified.

Then she turns to the last birth she plans to be part of: her grandchild, her daughter having a gentle homebirth, lights low, birthing pool, intense and raw and human, members of the family present and involved.

In some ways, Labour of Love (great title) is an attempt to chart the path between the 1960s model of birth in New Zealand and the current model: still often in medical settings, but with partners and family members more involved. To do so, Skinner intersperses the broader narrative of midwifery in New Zealand with stories from her own experiences.’

Read more here.