Don’t Know Much About (Birth) History. Don’t Know Much #Midwifery (Video)

The other day someone asked me for information about birth — for books or other types of references on midwifery, and how Black women experienced this in past generations. Not surprisingly I didn’t know much, and had it not been for a local midwife I’ve met on a few occasions, who appears in the video below and reading Listen To Me Good — a book she recommended when I asked about Black breastfeeding history, I would have been completely clueless.

I have been around family and friends who, over the years have given birth, and shared in their different stories and experiences — and have played a hand in helping raise all of these children. Also, when I was in my mid 20s not only did I want to have babies of my own — in the bathtub of my house — with all of my family in the next room eating pizza and playing games, but I wanted to be a midwife and assist other women during that incredible time. At this point in my life I’m not on that path. It’s interesting how things change. Today, if the universe drew me in that direction, I know it would be by becoming involved through vying on the side of justice and working towards equity for better birthing outcomes for disadvantaged and marginalized groups, more than just having a desire for the custom overall. But it has not done so. But even with this in mind, it does not mean I cannot and should not be able to point someone in a direction and have a few resources up my sleeve.

In addition to Listen To Me GoodMotherwit is another text I checked out from the library but was too busy and didn’t get a chance to read. I also decided to look up a couple more to add to this small list that I know of, and put the links below this video — on birth and midwifery. They are ones I may possibly like to read someday. I also gathered some information on other sources like films and documentaries, too, to ensure I am at least somewhat armed with info the next time I’m asked. And also, you can feel free to leave a link to your site or one you know of, or a book title or video url in the comments section below.


Community Story: Catching Our Babies: 3/14/2011 12:26

Michelle Sarju is one of the few African-American midwives in Washington state. While following her career path, we`ll explore the efforts being made to help women of all cultural communities find more positive pregnancy and birthing experiences.

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Below are videos and other sites on birth and midwifery.
  • Sites I Visit

International Center for Traditional Childbearing
it’s better at home

Soul Veg Mama

  • Videos

All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story
Bringin’ In Da Spirit
Killing Medical Self-Help Tradition among African Americans: The Case of Lay Midwifery in NC
The Legacy of the Black Midwife w/Shafia Monroe  (Playlist)
Safe Delivery: Traditional Birth Attendants in Liberia
The Healing. Author Jonathon Odell Interviews Midwife Mrs. Willie Turner (excerpts) (Playlist)
Toughest Place to be a Midwife

  • Other Birth and Midwifery Websites
  • Additional links and interesting articles

A Ritual Tradition: Midwifery Among Southern African Americans
Black Midwives, from Africa to Now
Black Midwife Launches Campaign To Stop ‘Baby Mama Epidemic’ – But Is Marriage The Answer?
NPR: Lessons from African American Midwife Traditions
The Hands of Black Midwives Have Always Saved Lives
The Persecution and Prosecution of Granny Midwives in South Carolina, 1900-1940

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