Kim Lock (MidnightSun Publishing) 333pp, RRP $24.95
Amy Silva is not your ordinary army ‘wife’. She’s an organic-produce adoring, hemp-wearing nuevo-hippy. Her boyfriend, Dylan Brookes, thrives in the macho environment of the Army while maintaining a love of Amy’s wilful difference. As Amy says, “Every day I live with the contradiction. The Pacifist Hippy, in love with The Gun-Toting Soldier.”
But then Amy finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and sucked up into the medicalised world of pregnancy and childbirth – a world where Amy feels uncomfortable, disempowered, out of control and ignored by the “best obstetrician in Darwin”.
Amy embarks on a quest to come to terms with her pregnancy and find confidence in a system that seems destined to break her down and spit her out. But not everyone is on board when she makes decisions that are considered less than mainstream: certainly not her obstetrician, or her best friend Hannah who is coming to terms with her own deeply buried pain, and not even the ever-supportive Dylan.
South Australian author Kim Lock does that most difficult thing: write about pregnancy, childbirth and women’s choices – deeply personal aspects of womanhood – without sounding evangelical. Lock allows the reader to embrace Amy’s story and feel her eventual empowerment.
Lock writes with considerable humour and wit. She has an excellent ear for laconic speech and it is refreshing to witness her nail a wonderfully Australian tone. Her portrayal of life as a Darwin-based Army ‘wife’ is eye opening and interesting. She is brave in her tackling of the sticky and icky aspects of pregnancy as well as the emotional turmoil. But more fundamentally, her ability to capture and portray the experience of pregnancy and childbirth in all its complications, fascination and bizarre life-changing strangeness is admirable. It’s not often that these subjects are tackled with such humour, raw honesty and emotion.