The Birthkeeper of Bethlehem is the fictional tale of Salome, the Midwife who attends Mary when she gives birth to Jesus. In ancient Bethlehem men would not have been present at a birth unless it was an absolute emergency, so if Mary and Joseph had reached Bethlehem the local midwife would have been sent for. The Midwife in those days was the keeper of the birthstones, offering wisdom, herbs and skills.  What would she have thought of this couple arriving late at night and in labour? Feel the humanity of Mary and discover the lives of the women of Bethlehem. This is not the story of Jesus but of the women of Bethlehem, ancient wisdom and the transformational power of birth.

There was a time when birth was considered sacred, a rite of passage, a gift from God, tended to by women with herbs, wisdom, prayer, love, courage and the knowledge of their ancestors to bring new life safely into the world. These were the birthkeepers. Salome holds the birth stones and birth wisdom for the town of Bethlehem, like her mother and grandmother before her. She has helped so many babies into the world, including a baby born in a stable under the light of the brightest star anyone had ever seen. An unexpected birth which made ripples that reached across time…
This is not the story of Jesus, rather the woman who delivered him. Through her eyes we witness the sacred art of the birthkeepers, the transformational journey of birth and the power of a moment in time.

The Birthkeeper of Bethlehem is available from all bookstores from today, 1st December 2022.

With rave reviews from some of the biggest names in birth (see attached) this book has been described as “a joy to read”, “the story that has been waiting to be told” and “a love song to the sacredness of birth and the craft and care of the midwife, as important today as it was 2000 years ago”.

The Birthkeeper of Bethlehem is a beautiful read. With immense sensitivity, it describes the birth of Jesus Christ through the eyes of the midwife who attended Mary, his mother, during her labour. While the Christmas story is two thousand years old and is ‘owned’ by Christians and non-believers across the world, this book reclaims the intimacy and pathos of Christ’s birth to a young mother in a town far away from where she lives. It hints at the significance of the baby, but its focus is on Mary and on the midwife and women who surround her and nurture her while she gives birth. The author, Bridget Supple, is well qualified to write this story having spent twenty years as an antenatal teacher and tireless advocate for the rights of birthing women and families. Readers of faith and those of no faith will, I am sure, enjoy it as much as I did.
Mary Nolan, emerita professor of perinatal education, University of Worcester

We know this story. But we’ve never heard it quite like this.
Bridget Supple conjures the colors and sounds and rhythms of daily life in Bethlehem at the beginning of the Common Era. From the perspective of the midwife, Salome, it’s just another birth. Births are always miraculous, only this one is a little more so than usual. There’s a new star in the sky. And there are strangers with strange visions. But the mother and baby are the work of the moment and those mysterious things must be puzzled over later.

This book tells a story we all know with great sweetness and a loving heart.
Gail Hart, midwife of fifty years, dedicated to preserving improving birth outcomes by integrating traditional midwifery methods with appropriate medical care

Bridget Supple weaves a beautiful tale of birth and midwives through this story about the birth of Jesus. She takes us into the birthing lives of the women of the region, whilst sharing the sacredness of the work of the midwife. A joy to read.
Mars Lord, Abuela Doulas

About the Author: Bridget returned to Shropshire 15 years ago having first moved here in 1986. Bridget Supple has spent the last twenty years supporting women through all stages of pregnancy, labour, and parenting. A mother of four herself, she works as an award-winning antenatal teacher for the NCT, the NHS, including at a major UK Maternity Hospital and for Birth Companions, a charity supporting pregnant women in prison.
Bridget lives in Newport with her husband and four children, as a volunteer she founded and helped run the local Foodbank for nine years and was Brown Owl for eight years.