Monday, January 6, 2014

A Midwife's Tale

Just finished reading Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's book A Midwife's Tale. The book is based on the diary of Martha Ballard (1735-1812), a respected midwife who lived Hallowell, in the state of Maine. Martha was not a prolific diarist--her entries are brief, but to the point. She did not have all day to write extensively.

What I enjoyed most about Martha's diary (and the book) is that it is not just a record of her work as midwife (ushering in more than 900 children, including her own grandchildren!), but the diary is a record of events in her community. Martha wrote of the trials and tribulations of her family, managing a household while delivering babies, the changing medical practices (doctors versus midwives), war, and the overall social and religious evolution of Hallowell.

Author Laurel Thatcher Ulrich does a fine job providing an insightful commentary into the everyday life of Martha, her family, and her community. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in 18th century Maine, and anyone who yearns to become familiar with women's work of that time.

No comments:

Post a Comment