A Midwife's Tale:
The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812
Have you heard of this book? I am assuming not unless you were a Woman's Studies Major or you happened upon it some way or another.
This book is a nonfiction account of the life of Martha Ballard written through her journal and explained in greater detail by Ulrich.
Martha Ballard was a midwife in New England in the 1700's. She was also an herbalist, homemaker, mother, seamstress, wife (etc...) and vital part of community at a time when woman played a seemingly small role in a world largely dominated and documented by men. Among her other roles, she also became a historian by the faithful keeping of her journal and thus documented the lives and experiences of a town that would have otherwise been lost with time.
Following Martha through her life journey you not only get a glimpse into the social structure of that time but you get a real view of how life was lived, how much hard work and energy was put into every day life, how important each member of society was then and individual roles that were played, how people were medically treated, treated by law, born, how they died and most intimately, the circle of Martha's life.
It's a beautiful book I often forgot it wasn't a story. It doesn't read as a story either but as it unfolds it becomes just that. This book is not for everyone though. I wish it were.
You might find that you will enjoy it if you are interested in History, Social Studies and particularly Woman's Studies, Midwifery generally and as it's meant to be.