The result of Ulrich's efforts was the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "A Midwife's Tale," now a movie of the same name, made in collaboration with Ulrich by producer/writer Laurie Kahn-Leavitt and director Richard Rogers. The film recounts the day-to-day events described in Ballard's diary and expanded upon by Ulrich, based on some careful deduction, a little guesswork, and the occasional flash of realization.
The film juxtaposes enactments of the events in Ballard's life, enhanced by voice-over read directly from the diary and interviews of Ulrich describing her exploration of the text. Ballard's account is stark, dry, stripped of passion like the stripped-down prose of a minimalist novel. But passion lurks beneath the unfeeling exterior, waiting to be unearthed by a careful reader.
Ulrich peers into the gaps of Ballard's narrative to find substance behind the trivia, exploring the ramifications of seemingly out-of-place comments and deducing meaning by thoroughly mapping out the events and people involved.
Ballard, adeptly portrayed in the film by Kaiulani Lee, was a midwife--the most lucrative job a woman could expect to have at the time. In a thousand deliveries, she never lost a mother's life. In addition to the delivery of babies, her duties also included medical care. She spent many nights away from her husband and...