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Mothers and midwives reveal the wonders and difficulties of early twentieth century childbirth in this informative and insightful healthcare history.
Before the foundation of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, expectant mothers relied on midwives to help them through childbirth. Based on interviews conducted with dozens and mothers and retired midwives over several years, Billie Hunter and Nicky Leap’s The Midwife’s Tale shares the stories of these women in their own words, shedding light on their experiences and on the realities of childbirth in the first half of the twentieth century.
Intriguing, poignant, and sometimes humorous, this oral history covers the experiences of women from the 1910s through the 1950s including accounts of the difficulties of rearing large families in poverty-stricken environments and the lack of information about contraception and abortion—even as midwifery changed from an unqualified “handywoman” skill to an actual profession.