Women's Role As A Midwife

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Birthing a Nation: Mothers, Midwives and Mysteries The reading in question relates to the role of the woman as a midwife – more specifically in the 17th to 18th centuries. It explores how this role began to change over the course of the latter century with the emergence of the “man-midwife”. While this particular reading takes a more passive approach to its topic, it’s focus is undoubtedly on the enduring importance of the role of the midwife. Cody makes it clear that despite the growing popularity of the “man-midwife,” the midwife herself remained a staple in British society, one who could not be so easily replaced. Cody explains that women were able to retain their hold over the practice of midwifery because they were seen as the “natural…show more content…
The mother-to-be was the one to decide when to send for the midwife and other women, and upon their arrival was sequestered into a darkened room with men kept far out of range. Afterwards, a successful delivery would be celebrated with drinking, singing, and recounting of scandalous tales amongst the women. The birth room was, in essence, its own “tightly enclosed time and space,” one in which men were unwelcome for what could be hours or days. Prior to the emergence of the “man-midwife,” the appearance of a medical man during labour could mean only one thing: death. Their presence signified complications that often led to the passing of the child, mother, or in particularly tragic cases – both. Such dark connotations would obviously have led to wariness when contacting a medical man during this period, as more often than not in such cases, it fell to him to play the unfortunate role of grim…show more content…
Or the Whole Art of Midwifery,” who as a midwife herself seems a fairly credible primary source of information. This book sets the outline for Cody’s whole argument: that midwives were essentially superior to the increasingly popular “man-midwife”. Other sources include Thomas Chamberlayne’s “The Complete Midwife’s Practice Enlarged,” proof that she did incorporate the male viewpoint into her argument. She also uses secondary sources to back up her argument, those such as “Childbearing and Female Bonding in Early Modern England” by Linda Pollock. Her sources range from similar to diverse, with citations from books such as Keith Thomas’s “Religion and the Decline of Magic.” In conclusion, Lisa Cody presents a strong argument and has a plethora of varied sources to back it
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