Irish Midwives; Practical Mystics, 1840

JPK Huson 1863

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“ Who snuffs the road home with gallop tremendous, Shakes the Country around, says the Dame, “ Lord defend us “ “ 1821

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While we Protestants were looking for excuses to shove women into cold, New England ponds- and found them in the form of witches, ghouls, spells, potions and basic weirdos- the Irish practiced dependence on each other. They practiced Hope.

*SO sorry- this is indeed long. So is Irish History- and Irish History in our country. The ' Penny Pamphlet ' discovered is short but lengthy for the purposes of a forum like ours. If anyone is interested in Irish History and lore- it's worth it, honest.

Better explain what I mean as a premise here- seems to me the unstoppable Irish perhaps retained their core for a good reason, despite centuries of British barbarism. Found something helpful illustrating why I've always felt this way. Since Time insisted humanity go forward, so have babies. Historically, seems to have been a baton both passed and wrestled back and forth between sexes, who was to help mothers as new humans begin this dubious, momentous journey. Men tended to assert themselves on the grounds theirs was the greater prowess in all matters, women on the grounds well, when was the last time anyone male achieved reproduction? Once in awhile women had to be forcibly removed from all spheres of power- hence our Salem witch hunts. ( If I'd been around I'd have stated well fine, you guys handle reproduction, too, all of it. )

Midwives historically played a part in these ' witch ' conversations. Major players in communities because they were females and plain, old badly needed, through centuries midwives have suffered hugely from undeservedly awful reputations. They still can be- modern medicine being what it is, ' Midwife ' can evoke images of dirt floor cabins instead of ' trained, capable and wise healer '.
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Men during pre-pre-pre-PRE war, pre-pre-pre-PRE Salem, United States were not really given a choice. I'm unclear when they initially risked their lives, intruding but one snuck in a back door somewhere in Time. No, I am not anti-male; just have always thought it a good thing to never pontificate on a topic one has not done personally.

Noticed something - could be wrong. Poking around in History, seems to me ancient cultures passed through centuries nearly unchanged. Yes, frequently steeped in superstition, laden with mysticism, unchanged because what looks like ' lore ' quite simply worked for the community. Irish, case in point, cut off from British ' progress ' through sheer barbarism, it sometimes worked for them. Found this amazing ' penny pamphlet ' written in 1840, encapsulating a result. Fair warning, long, for a thread. Could not see what should be cut!

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" .... sworn to communicate it to any but a woman"


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Little awesome

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Using this photo because we have the spinning wheel here although it came from a cottage on the Isle of Skye, and Scottish sheep contributed the wool.
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" Brimful of medicinal knowledge - possessed of many secrets "
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Charms cannot be taught from woman to man, or man to woman
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https://archive.org/stream/jstor-30001215/30001215#page/n3/mode/2up


by Carleton, William December 26, 1840


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donna

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Interesting thread. My Great Grandma was a mid-wife, She was Italian and came over from Italy to New York in 1890. My Grandma was a Midwife too besides a registered nurse. She actually graduated from the Bellevue School for Midwives. I have her diploma. I am always interested in reading about midwives. My Grandma brought many a baby into the world.
 

Anna Elizabeth Henry

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Excellent and interesting history on the Irish midwives and midwives in general. My great-grandmother from Austria was a midwife as well. She died before I was born, but my grandmother talked about her a great deal and her experiences not only delivering babies, but also in nursing in general. She had some great folk remedies that work quite well that are natural.

Interesting thread. My Great Grandma was a mid-wife, She was Italian and came over from Italy to New York in 1890. My Grandma was a Midwife too besides a registered nurse. She actually graduated from the Bellevue School for Midwives. I have her diploma. I am always interested in reading about midwives. My Grandma brought many a baby into the world.
That's awesome that she attended the Bellevue School for Midwives. It's such a rewarding calling. Have you seen the PBS show Call the Midwife? If not, I highly recommend it for anyone interested the fascinating and often challenging career of being a midwife and nurse. It's based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth who was a midwife during the 1950's in London's poorest neighborhood. Actually a new season starts airing on April 2nd on PBS I believe.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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For St. Pat's Day. Just had a browse around era papers- we were still devoted to midwifery during the war. Women doctors were just beginning to be graduated in 1850's but it'd be another 100 years before anyone let go of the idea OB/GYN's HAD to be men- another 50 before you saw a lot of women docs delivering babies. So midwives were precious, maybe the single exception to Irish prejudice.

Good to see midwives back and tradition continued.
 

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