Colleen O'Neill Conlan's Reviews > In the Way of Our Grandmothers: A Cultural View of Twentieth-Century Midwifery in Florida

In the Way of Our Grandmothers by Debra Susie
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's review
Feb 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: cultural-studies, history
Read in February, 2011

I read this for a class on midwifery. Susie examines the "granny midwives" of the south, and the encroaching bureaucracy that slowly put them out of business. It starts with the medical community vilifying midwives as dirty, ignorant, and superstitious. Next, they pile on more and more onerous regulations an monitoring requirements. Then they subsidize hospital birth to make it more affordable for the typical home birth client/patient of that time in the south: poor black women. Before you know it, midwife-assisted birth with a known and trusted woman in the community becomes a thing of the past. The second half has extensive interviews with those midwives. Finally, there's a fictional piece used as propaganda to mark midwives as dangerous undesirables.

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