Erdrich, Louise, “The Blue Jay’s Dance: A Birth Year” (Harper Collins 1995)

Every birth is profoundly original and yet plotted a billion times, too many times. We move into the narrative with medical advice and technological assistance and frail human hopes, and yet often find ourselves inadequately shaped by culture, by family, by each other for the scope of the work. The task requires mystical tools and helpers. For religions to make sense to women, there should be a birth ritual that flexes and exercises the most powerful personality in preparation. Organized Christian religion is more often about denying the body when what we profoundly need are rituals that take into regard the blood, the shock, the heat, the shit, the anguish, the irritation, the glory, the earnestness of the female body (46-47)

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