The Importance of Midwives and Healers, From Martha Ballard to Mary Peterson: An Examination of the History and Cultural Significance of Midwifery and Healing in Native, European and American Societies.
Type (DCMI Terms)
Midwives have played an important role in the lives of women for thousands of years. In the past they have been depicted as witches and wise women that were often feared and revered by those in need of their special powers. Every society has sought the skilled hands of a midwife and healer to provide comfort in times of birth and in sickness. My interest in the history and cultural significance of midwifery stems from curiosity in its ancient and its modern practice. By examining past and present examples and by comparing this important phenomenon between cultures historically, it is my understanding that there are more similarities than differences in the practice of midwifery. The differences may lie in the social, spiritual and taboo aspects of childbirth among various cultures. And those differences may involve technique, which may vary world wide. Other factors entail the status of women within a specific culture, but that these differences do not affect the similar relationship in the practice of midwifery. Further, that Western medicine historically has been more of a foe than a friend to midwifery as a matter of course and that today the two appear to be more collaborative than they have been in the past. I seek to demonstrate this later on in this study.
Gifford, Elizabeth, "The Importance of Midwives and Healers, From Martha Ballard to Mary Peterson: An Examination of the History and Cultural Significance of Midwifery and Healing in Native, European and American Societies." (2003). Student Theses, Papers and Projects (History). 105.