Friday, October 24, 2008

The Birth House

I should have known better than to read this. One thing I am not is pro-home birth. I'm not anti- home birth, but the more I read about the "exquisite, spiritual, satisfying" birthing of their babies, the more turned off I am by the usually-not-said-but-rather-implied understanding that any other kind of birth is not.

I know it's not true. Birthing a child is exciting and scary and hard and wonderful and one of the most memorable things any woman will do in her lifetime. But, the variety in which we can, and choose, to do it is wide and, thankfully, available. Writing that glorifies one means over another annoys me.

With that being said, it was impossible for this book not to annoy me. With a protagonist that is an ever understanding, compassionate, holds-to-her guns midwife and the villain a heartless, thoughtless, passionless.....MAN, the story was too black and white to be good. Yes, it had other merits including its vivid Nova Scotia backdrop, the emerging gain of independent, feminine thought during and after WWI and a somewhat interesting love story, but the bias was clear even when the writing was not (which, with all of the journal entries and articles occurred frequently).

I think women who line up on the home-birth side of the debate will love this book. It champions their clear superiority. Unfortunately, it doesn't really champion the beauty of all birth, or the most important thing of all...the availability of options.

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