By Rebecca Waters
Here’s an example of what happens when an academic gives birth at 40 and suddenly discovers she has a woman’s body holding up her head. Ms. Thomas’s treatise is heavily weighted with a neuvo-Catholicism, used to give form to her spirituality. Her search for the Transcendent is sprinkled with the wisdom of many different writers who focus on aspects of motherhood. We get a glimpse of her strength from the brief description of her pregnancy and birth experience. She planned hospital birth with a physician. Diagnosed with complete placenta previa two months before birth, she miraculously delivers vaginally without complication! The midwives among you may find this astounding; nevertheless, the fact that she was able to escape a cesarean section (as a geriatric maternity patient) is a near miracle at many hospitals.
Woven throughout the book is reference to St. Sophia, who provided a spiritual touchstone at needed times. Ms. Thomas covers the early years of motherhood, pointing out the issues in plain view but not seen by many of us because of our focus on taking care of our family’s daily needs. She provides a thoughtful guide for how one might incorporate the spiritual in everyday motherhood. I highly recommend this book for those who seek a spiritual awakening, especially those falling under the Christian banner. For others, the many references to feminist writings are worth a perusal of the book to seek out sources of thoughtful ideologies.
For readers concerned about her views about breastfeeding, no need to worry. Ms. Thomas writes eloquently of her discovery of the spiritual powers of breastfeeding. She writes, “ . . . for me breastfeeding often felt like the deep relaxation and sense of union that often accompanied prayer. Surrendering to the experience contributed to a rich sense of God’s presence and to a deepening trust in my own body, even as I relished nourishing my baby.”