I know I’m not supposed to find this chapter funny, but I couldn’t help it. Those who know our family, know that Rachel is rather keen on natural birthing techniques, as opposed to hospital intervention. So when the old midwife tells Marya that they’ll do just fine without the doctor, I couldn’t help but give a chuckle.
The other thing I found amusing was the superstition that if you don’t acknowledge that a woman in labour is giving birth, then nothing will go wrong. I know we’re not anywhere near that superstitious now, but then again I was thinking about how, if a couple is pregnant, they’ll often wait weeks (sometimes months) before they tell other people. There is partly a good reason for it – if something goes wrong, you don’t have to face being constantly reminded of it by the whole world. But I wonder if there’s a hint of this superstition: if we tell everybody, something’s bound to go wrong. (A little bit like that other feeling I sometimes get that if I make too many jokes about death, I’m probably going to die that week . . . okay, is that just me? Maybe ignore this paragraph.)
Of course, as if the birth wasn’t dramatic enough, Tolstoy pulls the old melodrama favourite – bringing a loved one back from the dead. (But I’m sure you all saw that coming . . . really, you didn’t?) Anyway, we expect the doctor – but, no, it’s Andrei!
And we shall rejoin this very melodramatic (but, let’s admit it, pretty exciting) section of the book tomorrow.
See you then!