Book review: Birth Cry

Book review: Birth Cry - A personal story of life of Hannah D. Mitchell, nurse midwife 

Author: Shirley Roland Ferguson

Birth Cry documents the journey of an ordinary woman (born in 1907) from a very poor, hard working Christian farming family from Missouri who works her way through school all the way to University to become a nurse midwife (long before women were encouraged to attend university). 

Hannah, through her entire life, followed the Lord. Her faith was always strong and it never left her. Whilst she had ideas of what she wanted to do - such as marriage, God often changed her plans and took her to places she least expected. She never married  and suffered heartbreak over a broken engagement but she accepted what God asked of her and continued to follow Him through her entire life. She is a great example of how we need to behave - we may want to do one thing, but God has other ideas that are quite different to what we had dreamt. Don't fight God, follow Him as Hannah did. 

Hannah committed herself to God's perfect will and found comfort. 

So what did Hannah get up to:
  • She helped her brother run a chicken ranch. Very tough and didn't last very long.

  • Bookkeeping during the depression.

  • Went to John Brown University with her brother to become a teacher (her mother was very encouraging of educating her daughter), however in her second year God had other plans for Hannah and through Him, she changed from teaching to nursing and this became her calling. Whilst  financially it was almost impossible "The Heavenly Father provided the means. So, it was with great gratitude that I made preparations to enter the first of many educational doors that would continue opening throughout my life". For those who doubt sending your daughters to college/university - God may have plans for your daughters you least expect, don't fight Him, trust Him. 
  • Hannah's plans were to marry and work overseas as a missionary - God had other ideas and sent her to the Kentucky Hills (1938) to work among the impoverished migrant community as a midwife. She not only delivered babies, she took care of everything from snakebites to gunshot injuries and she brought many people to Christ as her faith shone strong. 
  • God doesn't let us get too comfortable, in 1944 God decides it is time to move Hannah, this time to South America. "Thank you Heavenly Father, I prayed again and again, for His Providence, by hiding me in Christ. My life had changed direction many times, most of the changes contrary to my plans and painful to me to accept. But I probably will never know of the numerous times that a Providential God has shield me from deeper hurt, and real calamity, even an early death" (page 205). We need to remember to thank God for any plan he throws our way, rather than grumbling because it isn't what we want. 
  • In 1948 Hannah moves back to the USA to teaching midwifery (shortly after receiving her Bachelor of Science) in Atlanta. She was given the task of lowing maternal death rates that were very high in the area. She continued this until the 1969. 
It was at this point that her health started to fail, but once again she never stopped trusting in the Lord "I went to bed at night saying . . . In God have I put my trust . . . The Lord is my strength . . .  I will not be afraid for the terror by night . . . ". Even though her health was failing, she never stopped sharing the Christ's word with others and it wasn't until 1990 did she stop teaching bible classes.  Sadly Hannah was one of many in their latter years is struck down with dementia and after spending time with her sister-in-law was placed in a nursing home.  Hannah never at any stage doubted where all her skills, knowledge and energy came from  "All my talents must be attributed totally to Him."

I loved this book and could hardly put it down. Hannah never dreamed that her life would take her along such an interesting path, but it did - but not by her own doing - but as a direct result of her Heavenly Father. We too must do the same, even if the path is painful and not what we want. We also must allow our children to do the same, even if it isn't what we had planned. God is always right. 

Five stars

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)



  1. Looks a great read, I will put it on my list.

  2. Hello Jo, I think it is a worthy cause to be a midwife. And the Lord knew that this lovely lady would not take a husband. And it allowed her certain freedoms from keeping a home and such! Education is so important; we just never know what He has called us to do! We must always be aware that our first calling is to Christ and our marriages if we do marry! Sounds like a very good book!
    Yours, Roxy

    1. It was a very inspiring book and I am now looking to find a copy to send to my dad as he would really enjoy it to. God can change our lives quite unexpectedly and like Hannah we need to accept and find contentment in this change of direction - it may be something we had never thought of doing.

  3. I like to read books like this that show what real faith looks like in real life. Thank you for the review Jo.

    1. She did have amazing faith and so did her parents and other siblings. They certainly an example of living by faith.

  4. It sounds like an interesting book. Maybe I'll get to read it in about 10 years (because I have such a long list of books I want to read!!!!!!!). :D She sounds like a lovely person and the Lord used her greatly. We should all have the same goal; to serve the Lord in whatever ways we can - even in the little things.

    1. I will remind you in 2024!!! She reminded me of Auntie H in many ways.


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