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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the thread about induction a mama asked about women failing to go into labor and if that had ever been recorded...I didn't find an answer to that but I found this HORRIBLE article...will keep looking...

Jenne
 

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That was terrible. Notice how she put an exclamation point on nearly every sentance. She must be really excited about everything.
 

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I've been thinking about this since I posted that thing, and I know a few research geeks who might be interested in digging up some stuff for us. I'm far too scatterbrained to do it myself these days. I know someone who was working on researching medieval midwifery a few years ago. If I discover anything, I'll pop back in here.

ETA: I have to say I was sooo impressed by that article.
Wow, she researched it so well that she didn't even need to cite sources. I'm sure I've heard of male doctors attending births before the 1900's. It's all about what culture, what time period, you're in. And her writing skills are just delightful.

Mountains of laundry... babies only wore a linen gown and were wrapped in wool blankets as needed, for much of history. Adults clothing was based on having linen (or cotton when that became cheap and available) undergarments that were washed, and wool overgarments that were not. I've handwashed linen in a bucket, it's not that hard. I imagine the diapers would be a real bear, but maybe they EC'd, maybe they let the babies roam around nakey-butt in good weather. I've heard of various cultures doing that.


The scenario in the beginning is.. interesting. I'm sure it could have happened kinda like that, but... why did this room have no heat, but yet firewood has to be chopped? Shivering with cold while in labor? Maybe if she was outside sitting in a snowbank. How much work were the other 3 children anyway? Wouldn't they be chopping the wood and gathering the snow and whatnot? The husband went to the pub that's 2 hours away in a blizzard? What "baby supplies" did they supposedly need from town, anyway? Children's clothing and laundry soap? Why would a poor homesteader buy these things ready made instead of making them herself? Sheesh, I learned more about history by reading Little House on the Prairie than this woman knows.

Ahh, that reminds me... Laura's births were (male) doctor-attended in the 1880's. So that's one example.
 

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I did a search and found another article written with a better grasp of history but it had some of the exact same quotes. So I think she is a bad writer and a plagerist.

Did you notice that she is a reviewer of baby products, hence her emphasis (over and over) on what wonderful modern conveniences we have in strollers, baby swings, cribs, etc. Blech.
 

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yeah, that bugged me about the mountains of laundry and shivering while in labor, too. Hello? I'm sure the midwife would have built the fire up to steaming hot herself. And mountains of laundry? I don't think so. From what I've read, like someone posted above, you had 1 set of underclothing that you hand washed and let dry overnight about once a week. Then you had 2 shirts, one for regular wear and one for special occasions. And then you had several petticoats that you switched which was on top according to where you were going. You had the dark dirty one on top for working and probably dusty traveling, a clean prettier one hidden in the middle while working (and removed if you were doing wet work) that was moved on top for special occasions(sp?), and a few more to rotate. These were handwashed only when absolutely necessary, which was probably once or twice a year, no joke! The baby had 1 or 2 cotton or linen loose gowns that s/he grew into until they were undershirts. And of course blankets and hats and booties when he started walking. Not much laundry there to do, is it? My ds's school does a fundraiser at a local historical reenactment and a mom at his school did a heck of a lot of research as we were required to wear historically correct clothing. I don't think the kids had too, but it was fun making their costumes while we were making the adults. I asked her about diapers and she couldn't find anything on diapers at all. I wouldn't be surprised if moms either ec'd or just used rags w/ knitted wool soakers. And left their babies bare in the summer either way.
 

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Oh yes, and I needed to add, if men weren't allowed in the delivery room, then why have I seen SEVERAL drawing or plates (or whatever they're called. You know what I mean!) of men helping their laboring wives? 1 in particular that I remember, they were wearing 18th century/early 19th dress and the husband was on a chair with his wife in his lap and he was holding her legs up for her, obviously during pushing. There were also 2 other women in the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I LOVE YOU MAMAS!!!!

My major in college was Early American social history of women emphasis childbirth and childrearing. I have DOZENS of midwife accounts which were written from the primary sources of ledgers and journals. Sigh. Anybody with a couple bucks and a bookstore or better yet a library has access. Obviously this writer didn't need to bother with "history". Too bad she probably has convinced many women that they need their Drs. and their cribs to "survive".



Jenne
 

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Hi, Jenne, I read that article.

The reason that the 1980s saw such a boom in childbirth education is because of the homebirth movement and the boom in husbands in the delivery room.

This was something that homebirthers and the women's movement pushed...the hospitals accomodated them ... to a point ... in so far as their sacred procedures were still in force...

Little by little the old procedures have disappeared...no more complete perineal shaves, no more 3H enemas, but the sacred I.V.'s, EFM's, epidurals, bedridden, strapped legs, persistent cervical checks, time limits, starvation, and episiotomies have survived...

Read the 1973 Immaculate Deception by Susanne Arms and decide for yourself if things have really improved.

I had one of the first Women's Studies classes at UCLA in 1974 and you should know that if you read an account of a labor from A.D. 98, that it is probably one of a woman in the upper, leisure class, a woman who did not work much and had servants, therefore, she got little exercise and when her body did get into active labor, she could not ask her handmaid to do it for her, she then was in trouble and the court obstetrician was called...most of the lower, working classes had midwives.

Midwives did share information with each other...usually the granny midwife in the village was the woman who had raised her own children and then had acquired some knowledge from the woman who delivered her children and began to help her....
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenne
I LOVE YOU MAMAS!!!!

My major in college was Early American social history of women emphasis childbirth and childrearing. I have DOZENS of midwife accounts which were written from the primary sources of ledgers and journals. Sigh. Anybody with a couple bucks and a bookstore or better yet a library has access. Obviously this writer didn't need to bother with "history". Too bad she probably has convinced many women that they need their Drs. and their cribs to "survive".
What an awesome degree!
Have you written anything? Maybe you could get some good stuff out there on the web.
 

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Wow, that article read like a satire. I'm thinking, "this can't really be for real, right?" {{{sigh}}} Sure it's better now that doctors know to wash their hands but did she point out how moving women into the hospital in the first place increased the maternal & neonatal mortality rate? Just my opinion, but those women & babies would have preferred to be at home and SURVIVE it. And yes, the !'s She's really really excited about something. I personally love reading anything about the history of childbirth and found Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers a fantastic read (although infuriating at the same time b/c the truth of how things have been). It's more of a pamphlet than a book - you could easily read it in an hour. I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting historically accurate information.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by love_homebirthing
I personally love reading anything about the history of childbirth and found Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers a fantastic read (although infuriating at the same time b/c the truth of how things have been). It's more of a pamphlet than a book - you could easily read it in an hour. I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting historically accurate information.
This is the best book ever written on the subject and it is very short..

Thank you, love_homebirthing, I was trying to remember the name of this little book!
 

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I had to stop reading, couldn't stand reading that...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Some other GREAT resources on midwifery in context "A Midwife's Tale" by Laura Thatcher Ulrich. She has written some other good books about women in colonial America as well, err..."Goodwives". I have more but all my academia books are packed up just this minute. Hmm...Paquerette, I never thought of putting my stuff on the web...I'll think about it...one big drawback, imo, is that the field is so large in terms of who, what, and when that I had to really focus in to get papers that weren't overwhelming. So almost all of my stuff is about southern white women of the aristocracy (middle class and up) and thus doesn't nescessarily provide a good "complete" picture except that segment of society in that region. I'd love to Applejuice's stuff
though!

Jenne
 

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So in the first paragraph she spells breech "breach"... and it is obvious she has not spent much time in a very small house with a wood stove or a couple of large fire places-- this would be a fairly comfy place to be- there was no place of men folks to go and many times the house was full of people- (extended families lived together more often than not)

the women who came alone across the plains to the west were the isolated ones but they usually didn't even have a midwife to send for and if sent for it was a family member or close by neighbor or hired hand who waited and showed her the way.
mountains of laundry didn't exist people rarely had many changes of clothes, yes it was hard work but often it was shared work-not how our households are run today.
I have several autobiographies of old physicians dating into the 1800's and none support this "history" article
a while back I found some info online on old Italian or Greek birth practices. will try to locate them again and post later
 

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*scratching my head*
The author is a "successful and talented freelance writer"? Well um, that was a really badly written article!
Wow, that wasjust horrible on so many levels!
Namaste, Tara
mama to Doodle (6), Butterfly (23mos), and Rythm (due at home 1/06)
 

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Aside from the inane tone of that article, I'm quite sure my 12-year-old son would do a better job of researching. Plus, he's already grasped the proper use of the exclamation point. It scares me that this woman actually found a market for that piece...
 
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