From the time she was five, Serafina went with her mother to watch and to help and so to learn midwifery, falling into the work for which she was perfectly suited, she being fit and strong and not bothered at all by blood or the screams of others, but able to soothe in a blink a birthing mother’s agony.
She showed so much talent and at such an early age that even the wizened crones who frequented Oltramari’s piazzas agreed: send her for a certificate. So she was sent to Palermo to attend the school of midwifery, living with her maiden aunt Giuseppina.
Charged to be her guardian, Giuseppina’s gaze was canny, vigilant, and Serafina had no opportunity for diversion. She took classes and studied, delivered babies and more babies, always with strength and placid assurance. She was a certified midwife in two years.
Serafina’s note. Don’t believe a word she writes.
Photo: Bust of a woman, Val di Noto, Sicily. Photo credit: Mike Jack (Flickr), Creative Commons.