The First Fairy Tale Book II: The Awakening Heart (2018) by Susan Highsmith. Words Matter Publishing. 49 pp. ISBN 13: 978-1-947072-76-3; ISBN 10: 1-947072-76-5.
Fairy tale 2 continues the journey, describing the first three weeks of gestation. As the journeys of egg and sperm were hazardous, so is the next phase of the journey traversed by the beautiful new Being evolving from the union of these two energies. Life is growing at such an accelerated pace! This essential part of development is to be especially treasured and celebrated. (Highsmith, 2018, p. ii-iii)
The egg and sperm have now united and begin to divide and multiply into individual units that will continue to grow continuing to be in contact with the others. Moving through a narrow corridor, in what appears to be a vessel reminiscent of a space capsule, it plunges into an abyss. They must find a place to settle in or they will perish. The first location fails but they find a place full of nourishment that will allow it to grow. Now is a time for rest. The units express their own uniqueness and unite to blend their qualities. Growth continues and the heart begins to beat. And a loving future awaits.
This story “symbolically describes the embryology of the first few weeks after conception which includes implantation, the formation of the heart, and concludes as the heart begins to beat,” (p. iii). At the end of this book, the Epilogue is titled For Parent’s Eyes Only. I can understand not sharing with younger children, but there may be a time when the older ones can read and understand it.
At the end of The Awakening Heart, the mission to accomplish for this growing body of cells is “to be love on Earth.” This is what birth psychology advocates know to be true. We often imagine what our world would look like if children were loved and fed each day. I applaud Highsmith for taking this clinical conception and expressing it as a journey of love and peace. My children will receive these books and as I think about their parenting, I know they will eagerly share with my grandchildren when the time is right.
Reviewed by Barbara Hotelling, MSN, RN, LCCE, FACCE, AdvBD(DONA), CHT
Clinical Nurse Educator Duke University School of Nursing
JOPPPAH Book Review Editor