Martha Ballard- a Midwives Tale

Topics: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Woman Pages: 3 (1325 words) Published: March 6, 2002
This Woman's Work

Before I watched "A Midwife's Tale", a movie created from the diary found by Laurel Ulrich chronicling the life of a woman named Martha Ballard, I thought the women in these times were just housewives and nothing else. I pictured them doing the cleaning and the cooking for their husbands and not being very smart because of the lack of education or them being unable to work. My view on the subject changed however when I watched this specific woman's life and her work.

To know that there was a woman such as Martha back in those days is very interesting to me because I especially did not think there were women who were as brave and independent as she was. The lives of women in general, not just in Martha's case, were busy and at sometimes hard during these times. They had to do an array of things from keeping the house under control and raising sometimes several children to working on a farm and spinning. Sometimes, some women would even work to make a second living for the family, as in Martha‘s case. And even though the women were able to work, they still did not hold as much power as men did, which is still evident today. And if the women were recognized as much as they should be I'm sure we wouldn't need a completely different subject for Women's History because they would cover it in the regular history classes, instead of the subject consisting of 99.9% males.

Martha's day was a pretty long one and consisted of many jobs to do, anything from cleaning the house to delivering a baby. The fact that she never lost a mother during any of the childbirths is astonishing in itself since it was the number one cause of death in women. Among those jobs she also spun, raised her children, worked on her farm, and treated illnesses, coming up with her own remedies. For example when Parthenia was sick and she had her drink the last milk from the cow in hopes of her getting better which unfortunately she wasn't able to make her get...
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