Fantasy Careers: Apprentice Midwife & Herbalist
Fantasy Careers is a blog series where I interview characters from fantasy books about their interesting jobs and unusual careers. Interested in taking part? Drop me a line through my contact form.
Elise: Today, I’d like to welcome Mere, daughter of Carryn and Trevor, to Magic Writer. Mere is an apprentice midwife and herbalist, and she lives in Boeskay just south of the inland sea on the Sur River. What does your job involve, Mere?
Mere: I am apprenticing with my Aunt Alessandra. She’s a midwife and herbalist like my great-grandma was. A midwife helps pregnant women deliver their babies. In time, I’m sure I’ll be delivering babies on my own, but for now, I get to help Aunt Alessandra. My job consists of boiling the ginger water, preparing the cloths for compresses and cleaning the baby after she arrives. Before delivery, Aunt Alessandra takes me with for a visit with the ma and her baby. I love that time because it’s the first contact I have with the little one growing inside the woman. That’s also when I discover the gender of the baby and talk with him. This helps me bond with the little one and so later it’s not so difficult of a birth.
Elise: It must be exciting to watch new life come into the world. What’s your role in the delivery of the baby?
Mere: My job is to help the baby relax and work with the ma instead of fighting the delivery. I comfort the little one and communicate what she needs to do. On my very first delivery, the baby was breach–that means her feet pointed down instead of her head. Little did I expect I’d be the one to help get the little girl repositioned so she could be born.
Elise; Gosh, you were thrown in the deep end with your first birth, then! What does a typical day in your job involve?
Mere: After arriving at Aunt Alessandra’s, I go out to the herb garden. There I help weed the rows of lavender, calendula, rosemary, and other vegetables and herbs. From there, Aunt Alessandra has me recite the herbs and their properties. Then she’ll teach me about a new herb. Every time I learn a new plant, I write all the information in my herb journal and draw a picture of it so I’ll remember what it looks like. Sometimes we’ll go visit a woman or get a message saying someone’s in labour. If that happens, I ride with Aunt Alessandra on her dragon to the woman’s house.
Elise: Ooh, travelling by dragon sounds exciting. I think that would be my favourite part of the job! So, tell me, do you like your work, and what’s the part you enjoy the most?
Mere: Oh, yes! I can’t imagine doing anything else. My favourite part is the delivery. Although it’s exhausting, it’s also very exhilarating to communicate with the baby and see a new life enter the world. I think I like delivery the best because my job is so unique. No one can tell me how to do it. Uncle Darryn and Aunt Alessandra can help me figure out some things, but for the most part, this is something that only I can do. It makes me feel special.
Elise: What’s your aunt like? And do you work with anyone else at all?
Mere: Aunt Alessandra teaches me. She’s really the best person for the job. I love her quiet, gentle behaviour in the garden and with people. Carvall helps in the garden. He’s an old farmer that originally owned the land where Uncle Darryn and Aunt Alessandra live. Carvall teaches me about the ground and how best to plant and harvest the best crop.
Elise: And how did you get this apprenticeship? Does it run in the family?
Mere: As you’ve learned, my aunt and great-grandma were healers, as is my great-aunt. I guess if I think on it, my family really falls into two job descriptions—dragon riders or healers. Since no dragon has chosen me, a healer is probably the best position for me.
Elise: So are you disappointed that you didn’t become a dragon rider?
Mere: From the time I was wee-little, I always wanted to be a dragon rider. It’s still my dream. I want to know what it’s like to have a close connection with a dragon and to fly the skies as one with my dragon. Instead, I fly on other people’s dragons. At one point in time, the lack of a dragon was how I defined who I was. Now, I am a midwife, or will be when I’m done with my apprenticeship.
Elise: Well, I’m glad you’ve found a job you enjoy, even if it wasn’t what you originally wanted. And who knows what the future will bring? Now, on a lighter note, do you have any embarrassing or funny stories about the job?
Mere: Hm, I’ve not been an apprentice long enough to have any embarrassing stories. Now, if I would have fainted at my first delivery, that would have been embarrassing. Instead, the door jamb held me up, and Aunt Alessandra sent me to boil some lavender and calendula. That relieved the pressure I was feeling and couldn’t describe.
Elise: A narrow escape from embarrassment, then! To finish off, let’s say I’m planning on having a baby. Do you have any advice for me?
Mere: I think I’d ask you about yourself and what your health is like. If you’re not at optimal health, I’d probably recommend some herbs to help you become the best you can be. It’s really amazing the things that grow naturally that promote a healthy you.
Elise: That sounds very sensible. Health is very important. Well, thanks for chatting to me today, Mere. It’s been interesting. All the best for your apprenticeship–it sounds like you’ll make a great midwife.
Mere: Thanks for having me.
In a world where dragons fly free and dragon riders are honored by all, sixteen-year-old Mere struggles with her place. Everyone in her family is a dragon rider, except for her. When a bully begins to rub it in, Mere’s insecurities come to a head. Upon seeing her so upset, Grandma Duskya gives Mere her old journal; a book inscribed with the family’s special heritage.
Will Grandma’s journal help Mere see that not everyone has to be the same to be special? Will it help Mere acquire the courage to stand up for herself?
Start from the very beginning in this exciting prequel to the middle-grade fantasy Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Heritage by Kandi J Wyatt.
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.