Laurel Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale Essay

Laurel Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale Essay

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Laurel Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale


     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 better and Parthenia died. Martha?s own children however all lived into their adulthood which was also a very rare thing to add to her list of unique facts.

     Although Martha did have different jobs to do, her real job was being a midwife. She got paid high for a woman at this time and she was a well respected person in the town. This job was the most demanding and it?s not like...


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...because I probably would have if my kid took over my house and I missed my husband.

     When Martha Ballard died, she was definitely missed and even though her diary sat in the back stacks of a library for a very long time because authors thought it was useless, her story was told and it was a good one at that. It wouldn?t be a surprise to me if her story has inspired women and I know it has definitely educated people about women?s lives at this time. It?s just a shame that more women?s stories from this time will never be told. I?ve learned from Martha Ballard?s story that she must have been a very good, decent, and smart woman and I would have loved to have met her. She is a good example of what some women were like back then and it?s good to see that not all of them were powerless housewives as some people think and how I, myself, thought before I saw this movie. I saw her struggle and her get through the hard times. The things she had to live through throughout her life were astonishing and I?m really glad I got to see this woman?s work. I realized how easy we have it now and how women like Martha paved the way for us and we have to appreciate them for what they?ve done.

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