A nurse midwife struggling to keep solvent the women's health clinic in Torrington, W.Va., that she ran with her surgeon husband shares poignant stories about her patients over the course of a year. A self-described former hippie who lived on a commune with her three sons, Harman later went to nursing school and became a midwife while her husband, Tom, attended medical school. Although their practice took off, they were strapped with debt, back taxes, growing bills for malpractice insurance, constant threats of lawsuits and the discovery, over the year, of Harman's freak ailments—a gangrenous gallbladder and uterine cancer requiring an immediate hysterectomy. Harman conveys the hope inspired by her patients' stories, such as the seven-time mother who never tried birth control and couldn't decide which husband to stay with, and the lesbian horticulture professor who wanted to become a man. Wearying of the financial pressures and tensions with Tom, Harman tells in this heartfelt memoir that she dreamed of leaving the practice, though a genuine love for helping women, and her great faith both in God and her spouse, sustained her. (Sept.)
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"In her sweetly perceptive memoir, Harman reveals how her exam room becomes a confessional. Coaxing women in thin gowns to share secrets ... she reminds them that they’re not alone."—Michelle Green, People
"Harman has a gift for storytelling, and The Blue Cotton Gown is a moving, percipient book."—Karen R. Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Harman shows us the joys and sorrows of listening to women’s stories and attending to their bodies, and she leads us through the complicated life of a healer who is profoundly shaped by her patients and their journeys."—Perri Klass, author of The Mercy Rule and Treatment Kind and Fair
"Luminescent, ruthlessly authentic, humane, and brilliantly written."—Samuel Shem, MD, author of The House of God, Mount Misery, and The Spirit of the Place
"Touchingly revelatory . . . deeply moving."—Booklist, starred review
"As the mother of seven children and veteran of eight pregnancy losses, I knew when I ran my bath that I would be unable to resist Patricia Harman’s memoir of midwifery, The Blue Cotton Gown. What I didn’t realize was that it would cause me, a sensible person, to get into her bath with one sock still on and rise from it when the candle was gone and the water cold. Utterly true and lyrical as any novel, Harman’s book should be a little classic."—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Cage of Stars
Liked, not loved.
I wish this book had been better written and I wish there were a lot less about the author herself... Read more
Patricia Hartman spills her guts in this memoir which pulls you in so you feel you are right there with her. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ali and Amy Jung
This is the third book of hers that I've read. I've enjoyed them all, but the others a little more than this one. She writes beautifully.Published 1 month ago by June
Wonderful book. Even though it was a nice relaxing book to read it was still a page turner. I could not put it down and read well into the night until i couldnt keep my eyes... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Beverly Perry
A great story,well written, very enjoyable! Will look for more books by this author!Published 2 months ago by Graham Young
Read this during my pregnancy with my first child. Loved the stories about Harman's patients woven together with her own story. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gretchen F