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Midwives as Wives and Mothers: Urban Midwives in the Early Twentieth Century

Midwives as Wives and Mothers: Urban Midwives in the Early Twentieth Century Midwives as Wives and Mothers: Urban Midwives in the Early Twentieth Century LINDA V. WALSii Education Programs Associates-San Jose State University Midwifery has been described as an occupation, a spiritual calling, and a profession. Any description of the practice has been influenced by the scholar's beliefs about health and illness, sources of knowledge, the role of the health care provider during childbirth, and the sociocultural role of women. Few historians have used feminist methods to provide new ways of seeing, and thus interpreting, midwives' lives and practices. Not until we analyze midwifery in the context of women's life experiences will we better understand the actions and influences of midwives in the changing Ameri­ can health care system of the early twentieth century. Historian Elizabeth Pleck has noted that in analyzing the behaviors of family members in the home and workplace, scholars must address the question, "How did the physical and emotional demands of work alter family life?" Few unskilled occupations generate demands on family out­ side the actual work hours that the mother is absent from the home. Professional careers, on the other hand, often place demands of time and energy on the life offamily members. In this context, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

Midwives as Wives and Mothers: Urban Midwives in the Early Twentieth Century

Nursing History Review , Volume 2 (1): 15 – Jan 1, 1994

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.2.1.51
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Midwives as Wives and Mothers: Urban Midwives in the Early Twentieth Century LINDA V. WALSii Education Programs Associates-San Jose State University Midwifery has been described as an occupation, a spiritual calling, and a profession. Any description of the practice has been influenced by the scholar's beliefs about health and illness, sources of knowledge, the role of the health care provider during childbirth, and the sociocultural role of women. Few historians have used feminist methods to provide new ways of seeing, and thus interpreting, midwives' lives and practices. Not until we analyze midwifery in the context of women's life experiences will we better understand the actions and influences of midwives in the changing Ameri­ can health care system of the early twentieth century. Historian Elizabeth Pleck has noted that in analyzing the behaviors of family members in the home and workplace, scholars must address the question, "How did the physical and emotional demands of work alter family life?" Few unskilled occupations generate demands on family out­ side the actual work hours that the mother is absent from the home. Professional careers, on the other hand, often place demands of time and energy on the life offamily members. In this context,

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1994

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