Natalie's Reviews > A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812

A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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Dec 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: nursing-midwifery
Recommended to Natalie by: Grandmother
Recommended for: All women
Read from December 18 to 31, 2011 — I own a copy

I only give 5 stars to books that really touch my heart and mind. This book is one of them. My grandmother gave a copy of this book to me and I devoured it.

A Midwife's Tale is not just a book on midwifery in the 18th century, but a peek into what life was like in New England at that time. The author took Martha Ballard's diary and used it to illustrate the history, social order, customs, gender roles and more was like.

The amount of research she must have conducted is quite staggering. This book is a treasure.

But the real treasure is the fact that Martha Ballard kept a diary. She was born in 1735, got married, had 9 children, lost a few to illness, and then at age 50, began her diary. She was a midwife for the Augusta, Maine community. Being a midwife was more than birthing babies. She was an herbalist, a nurse, a go-to for help of any kind. She kept this simple diary for 27 years until her death in the early 19th century.

One thing that I personally gleaned from her life was the idea that you don't have to do it all at once. This diary composed the final third of her life, but not much is know about the first two thirds. She grew up, she raised her family and then when her children were raised and capable of helping around the home, she was able to put to practice her gift, her calling, her passion.

It is my hope that I may enjoy these young mothering years that I am in, and be able to embrace what ever is to come in the latter years in my life with equal fullness of heart.
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