In society, there will always be things that people look down upon. Whether it be a personal choice, or an opinion there will constantly be people who do not agree with it. In The Birth House, Dr. Thomas is continually belittling midwifery. Also, Aunt Fran as well as other residents of Scots Bay believe that midwifery is unimportant and look down upon it throughout the novel. In The Birth House by Ami McKay, there is an evident theme that midwifery is unimportant and should be looked down upon.
Throughout the novel, Dr. Thomas demonstrates the theme of midwifery being looked down upon and unaccepted by constantly belittling it. To begin, Dr. Thomas first belittles Ms. Babineau and her practice of midwifery when he arrives at her house to inform her of the new maternity home. He tells Ms. Babineau that “ I think you should be made aware that the Criminal Code of 1892 states: ‘Failing to obtain reasonable assistance during childbirth is a crime’” (McKay 35). Here, Dr. Thomas makes belittling the practice of midwifery evident as he believes that it is not considered reasonable assistance. He believes what Ms. Babineau is doing is technically a crime because her assistance is nothing compared to what a certified doctor can do. Next, he further belittles Ms. Babineau when he is continuing to talk to her. Dr. Thomas explains “ I am bound by an oath to my profession to come to the aid of child-bearing women ... You, as well as other generous women in communities ... had to serve in the place of science for too long” (29). This quotation shows that Dr. Thomas thinks that science is the only way to help women during childbirth and the midwifery techniques that Ms. Babineau performs does not help, which is belittlement. The final instance where Dr. Thomas belittles midwifery is when he is speaking to the women of Scots Bay during the tea party at the new maternity home. He tells the women that “ I am gravely concerned and convinced that the women of this community are not getting adequate healthcare ... most notably in the trials of childbirth” (138). Here, he expresses his concern that women are not getting adequate health care dealing with childbirth, even though Ms. Babineau does all that she can to help out the women. To sum up, Dr. Thomas continuously belittles the practice of midwifery throughout the novel which
Dora’s Aunt Fran looks down upon the practice of midwifery and thinks it is unimportant, which demonstrates the theme. Firstly, she expresses her opinion on midwifery when she is talking with Dora. Aunt Fran “reported the other day that the maternity home in Canning is nearly finished ... Dr. Thomas will be presenting a lecture on Monday on ‘Morality and Women’s Health’” ( 48). Here, it is evident that she supports Dr. Thomas, who is against midwifery. By reporting on what Dr. Thomas does, it is apparent that she agrees with him. Secondly, she admits to looking down upon midwifery when she is at the tea party at the new maternity home. Aunt Fran has “graciously agreed to start a fund for young mothers who may not have the means to pay into the program” (40). Now, it is apparent that she prefers Dr. Thomas’ more medical ways, as opposed to midwifery. Aunt Fran is willing to help fund Dr. Thomas’ program whereas, she never funded Ms. Babineau for any of her help or gave her anything in return, which shows that Aunt Fran does not appreciate Ms. Babineau’s midwifery ways. Finally, Aunt Fran proves that she looks down upon midwifery when she is speaking to the ladies of the Bay and Dr. Thomas. She explains to them that “ The women of the Bay can choose for themselves as how they want to have their babies ... after all we won’t have our dear Ms. B. forever” ( 96). This quotation can prove that she believes that women should have a choice on whether they should have their babies with the help of science or midwifery but her tone could imply that she is actually lying about women having a choice