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Midwifery then and now...

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Midwifery then and now...

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rhi & me
I just spotted this piece on midwifery in the 1950s, and it quotes Mary Cronk quite extensively.  Mary is a famous and enormously respected midwife, and in the latter years of her career she focused on helping women in difficult circumstances or with problematic medical presentations, who wanted a home birth.  By pure chance she came out as a backup midwife for the birth of my first child, which started out as a home birth (we ended up with an assisted delivery in hospital).  Mary would have been in her early seventies then, and mobility was difficult for her but she was amazing. She knelt on the bathroom floor beside me as I laboured, spooning honey into my mouth or offering sips of water, and made conversation between contractions.  She even managed to keep Steve calm(ish), which is no mean feat.  When she found out I was a writer she told me she had attended the same school as Iain Banks--that was a surreal moment.  When Andrya, my much-younger main midwife, offered me Rescue Remedy for the shakes, Mary snorted and muttered in my ear that I'd do better with a dram of whisky.

I'm not sure I could watch the program without gales of tears, though. Reading this article and thinking about what Mary's work must have been like in those days reminds me how easy we have it now!  Not that 'easy' is the first word that leaps to mind.  Shudder.
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