A Midwife in Amish Country
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: A Midwife in Amish Country
Author: Kim Woodard Osterholzer
Major Themes: Amish, Babies, Birth, Michigan, Midwives
Synopsis: A woman in Michigan tells the story of her spiritual journey and of becoming a midwife.
Several years ago, I stumbled across a blog written by a midwife. As a mother who has had several homebirths, I found Kim Woodard Osterholzer’s stories quite interesting. The fact that much of her life was spent in my home state was another factor that made me interested in her. Her skill at writing, however, is the biggest draw. When she published a book about her life, A Midwife in Amish Country, I wanted to read it, and have finally been able to procure a copy. I started reading as soon as it made it to my house, and had a hard time putting it down!
In this book, Kim tells the story of her life. She grew up in a Christian home and asked Jesus into her heart when she was six, but bullying at school changed her into an angry, resentful child by the eighth grade. Kim was homeschooled after that, but remained an angry rebel until God was able to reach her through her father’s words one day.
Kim’s journey to midwifery began on a homeschooling ski trip, when the woman who was driving mentioned that she was learning to be a midwife. At first Kim was horrified, because she had been traumatized by seeing a film of a hospital birth, but after reading a book about homebirth, she knew she had found her life’s calling. I loved the detail about how she overcame her aversion to birth—by immersing herself in reading about it! The rest of the book describes her journey to becoming a midwife, and a wife, and a mother. As with all life stories, there is drama and joy and tragedy. I was quite impressed with the work Kim and her husband did with their youth group.
One passage that really stood out to me was one of Kim’s journal entries, where she thought about the women of the Bible. Though we look up to these women as great heroes of the faith—which they are—their lives were really very ordinary, just like ours. These women were wives and mothers like us, and yet they are remembered because of their faith in God.
Anyone who is interested in birth and babies will enjoy this story. You will also enjoy it if you like to read the story of a person’s spiritual growth. If you’re looking for an “Amish” story, move on; there isn’t a lot about the Amish, and what there is is not whitewashed like the novels. What you see in this story is the reality, the way the people really live, rather than the romanticized form you find in most “Amish” books. Having grown up visiting several Amish families, I know that she is describing the truth. Another truth in this book is the names—she mentions a couple of midwives in Michigan that were at two of our births! It was fun to see them in these pages, and be able to picture the setting when Kim was talking about going to one of them, who I’ve known all my life, for an assessment.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy A Midwife in Amish Country:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Audio CD (unabridged)
Keywords: Amish, Babies, Birth, Michigan, Midwives