Tuesday 2 June 2020

Midwife history

A recently published history that might interest those with a medical background is 'Neither Mischievous nor Meddlesome: the remarkable lives of North Queensland’s independent midwives 1890-1940’.  This fascinating new book by Townsville historian, Trisha Fielding tells the story of the North Queensland women who tirelessly devoted their lives to the service of others as midwifes.  Today they are largely forgotten by the communities in which they lived and worked.  Even though doctors at that time thought many of these midwives were mischievous and meddlesome, it was these women who dominated in the provision of midwifery services in the North.  It was also these women who built and operated many of the private general hospitals and conducted lying-in hospitals from their own homes, all before the advent of government-funded maternity hospitals.  This book examines the courageous lives of these women who quietly went about their duties with dignity and grace, though they were often faced with the same pioneering challenges as their patients – the perils of childbirth, loneliness and isolation, and frequent tragedy.  Congratulations to Trisha Fielding, this is another great achievement.