I've really enjoyed reading The Birth House when I can grab moments here and there. It's been very difficult to sit and read, as I'm getting ready for the conference and working this week. In the past, I would have read it in one sitting....just doesn't work that way lately.:)
I wanted to share some glimpses of Ms. Babineau here. She's just the kind of mentor I would have adored as a young woman. I remember trying in vain to grow herbs in my little bedroom and being so frustrated when they'd die. I was using a window ledge in a room that was under a deck, in Alaska for crying out loud!! I was more likely to have a moose outside my window, than sunshine. I longed to make potions and healing remedies, I studied books and drew herbs for hours. Never had a mentor or anyone in my life (at that time) that understood my passion for this.
Ms. B feeds you lavender tea and beignets when you visit. She talks about healing and old wives tales and moon magic and how natural childbirth is:
"The scent of a good groanin' cake, a cuppa hot Mother's tea and time. Most times that's all a mama needs on the day her baby comes."
Then there's her Willow book, full of remedies. I imagine it being passed from midwife to midwife, notations added here and there, lovingly cherished by those that recieve it's wisdom. On the first occasion that Dora writes in it after a birth, she says "I recorded the days events in the Willow Book, still amazed at the way it felt to be the first person to bring her hands to a child's life."
Later, Ms. B talks to Dora: ~She whispered, "You believe in spirits of the dead?"
Thinking I was dreaming, I whispered back. "Yes."
"You know where they lives?"
"Right here. right where we are. Everywhere we are."
"How you know this?"
"I just do."~
Her home is full of "things to make you wonder"
In Dora's words: "A tarnished, round looking-glass hangs by the door. Jars and bottles of herbs, salves and tinctures line her cupboards. Feathered wings are tacked up over the door and every window. Crow, sparrow dove, hawk, owl. One large, dark wooden crucifix hangs over her bed, while the rest of the two-room log cabin--every wall, shelf or tabletop--is covered with tallow candles and a thousand Marys."
I think every young woman needs a Ms. B in their lives.