Today I’d like to share some pictures of my birthing stool, which my grandfather brought back from the Middle East after being stationed there, years before he even knew I existed, and no one in his family was a midwife. Mostly he brought back some brass camels, and ornate goblets and such. But amongst that stuff, I inherited these two little chairs, or rather, a chair and a bench, that I really liked, for whatever reason. At this point, I didn’t know they had anything to do with birth. Heck, I barely knew that I had anything to do with birth. But I liked them, and held onto them even when I let the camels go in preparation for some inter-state move or another.
At some point, I figured out that I had here an old-fashioned birthing stool, and the accompanying little bench is probably for the midwife herself to sit upon. And once again I was struck by how funny the world works sometimes. Here a budding midwife finds she has been in possession of such a deeply midwifely object, for years. And I love it.
The shape is the same as other birth stools I have seen (that’s how I identified it), but the leather part I’ve never seen on any other. Both it and the bench are decorated with soldiers or princes or something, and with towers and coats of arms. They are not in the best condition: the wood is cracking and one of the metal connectors is missing. I doubt they have ever been used for birth, and I do not intend to start now. But they are interesting, and connect me to midwives in other times and other places. Plus, the soldier dudes have awesome goatees.