Saturday, December 31, 2011
The Birth House
A few weeks ago, I received a NOOKColor as a birthday gift. It had been a long while since I was in the company of a good book. I was, at one time, an avid reader, but grad school and motherhood became a priority and reading for pleasure wasn't something I put much time into. I am extremely thankful for the gift, especially because it has awakened my love of books and reading.
The Birth House was the first book I read on my new NOOKColor and it was absolutely and completely FABULOUS! I loved every single page. It was so good, I would think about the characters as I was driving to the grocery store or showering. They felt so real, like I knew them personally all of my life. As I approached and read the last page, I was sad to say goodbye.
The story takes place in a little town in Nova Scotia during WWI. The main character, a young girl named Dora, is mentored by an elderly midwife. The midwife hands down all of her knowledge and secrets to Dora before passing away. The story walks through Dora's life; her marriage, becoming a midwife, and her unconventional way of becoming a mother.
I loved that the book has bits of homeopathy peppered throughout it, including the use of red raspberry tea, skullcap and nettles during pregnancy. It talks of brews and salves, tinctures and teas. It also addresses techniques to turn a baby from a breech presentation, ways to stop hemorrhage and tales on how to avoid pregnancy or, conversely, how to become more fertile.
When a new maternity hospital is opened just one town over, the story depicts how birth shifted from home to hospitals. The story discusses what birth was like in 1917, moving more toward medical intervention, the use of ether to knock women out during labor and the use of episiotomies and forceps.
What I loved most about this wonderful story was the bond that the women in this community share. They gather and rally around each other. They give strength when one can not bear to stand alone. They fight for their rights to vote and to birth the way they choose. They fight for each other. Even during a time when women didn't have the choices, rights or freedom they have today, they still had so much strength, heart and tenacity.
If you're looking for a good, easy read, this is the book for you. Even if you're not into birth, it's worth reading.
HAVE A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR, CLUSTERLOVE READERS!!! I wish you all a wonderful year full of love and prosperity, peace and blessings!