Nichole's Reviews > Midwives

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
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's review
Aug 13, 2009

it was ok
Read in August, 2009

I can foresee this book being the source of much controversy in classrooms and lecture halls all over the country. This true story recounts the birth and death of two people: the birth of a healthy baby and the death of a woman during the birth of said baby. Big deal, right? This is not uncommon. The difference is this: the birth was done at home by an untrained mid-wife and the baby was born via a cesarean section, for which she was not authorized to perform. She was eventually charged with the death of the woman and the book gives the history of the experience through the eyes of her daughter as she is dealing with the day to day drama of the courtroom.

We had quite a discussion about this during the book club meeting. A couple points were mentioned: primarily, was the mother dead before the cesarean? Was the midwife justified in doing what she did? As what point, if any, should she have reconsidered her decision? These and many more were discussed during our meeting (in truth, our discussions usually start with the book we read and then venture out into different, unrelated discussion, but this night we discussed the book for quite a while).

Looking back at both the story and the discussion I wonder how much effort gets put into the details of a situation (both this one as well as others which may arise in life) instead of the big picture. For me, the big picture in this case is that the child lived and the mother died; this is something that would probably have happened whether or not they were at home or in a hospital. Many times I tend to get all mixed up in the details and, in doing so, loose sight of the ultimate goal. I need to work on that.

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