Writing to Understand by Carol Van Der Woude

on Jan 12, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

As a child I enjoyed writing. I kept a diary where I wrote about my dreams for the future. I had a pen pal in England, and I wrote letters to my cousin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The deep motivation to write came later when I was facing hard questions in life.

After a two-year battle with leukemia, including bone marrow transplant, my son passed away. We were blessed by Steven’s trust in God, but grief stricken. Did God hear our prayers for healing? Does God love us? I read through my journals and spent a couple years writing to understand. And I concluded that God showed his love for Steven and our family in many ways. He was with us.

For me, writing is a process of understanding life. It is a pursuit of truth.

After attending home births (including a grandchild’s birth) I thought about my grandmother’s homebirths. I wrote Aliisa’s Letter: Legacy of Faith to honor women like my grandmother and to portray how childbirth care has changed over the last 100 years.

When I came across an article about a midwife at the center of a Massachusetts Supreme Court case, I was fascinated. She was Finnish (my heritage) and went to court multiple times in the early 1900s to preserve her right to practice midwifery. Why did she continue to pursue her profession when she was arrested again and again?

During the 1800s and early 1900s midwives had better outcomes than many doctors. I wondered why midwifery faded away in the first half of the twentieth century in the United States. So I research and write to understand.

Carol has a passion to honor the women who have come before her. Her hope is to connect them to the current generation by weaving their stories of courage and faith. Her past experience as labor/delivery nurse in the hospital, and as home birth nurse alongside midwives and doctors, informs her writing. She blogs at http://carolvanderwoude.com


  1. Carol, I love that we’re in this pursuit for truth together. Thank you for this powerful post.

    Susie Finkbeiner

    January 12, 2018

    • I’m so glad I attended the Breathe conference last fall–and happy to have met women that inspire me!


      January 12, 2018

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