cover image Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light

Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light

Rachel Marie Stone. IVP, $16 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-8308-4533-0

English teacher and author Stone (Eat with Joy), who reviews for PW, writes movingly about childbirth and its meaning for women in this wistful memoir. “Birth provides potent, formative, and enduring metaphors, which is perhaps another way of saying that many stories can be told as birth stories,” Stone notes before going on to prove it by telling her own story as a birth story. Stone, who was a doula and English teacher in Malawi, uses her experiences in the delivery room as jumping-off points for broader ruminations on family and women’s role in giving birth. Her description of birth as both painful and joyful, and her exploration of how the two emotions feed each other, are highlights. Stone’s style is reflective, making the book more of a meditation than a traditional memoir, and the prose is evocative throughout: “Then the water that held you trembled with a movement that came not just from her but through her, and, one way or the other, you came to light: wet with water and marked with your mother’s blood.” Readers will be gratified by how Stone turns the process of birth into a metaphor for her own personal and spiritual evolution.[em] (May) [/em]