I’ve been doing some reading and video watching lately. Since I want to become a midwife someday I wanted to know where the black midwife originated.
I came across this great article titled Black Midwives, From Africa to Now.
Here is a clip from the article.
Unlike the history of Anglo- midwifery, midwives of African descent have an origin and a story of her own. A history that is deep rooted in the culture of her ancestors of hundreds of generations from across the waters, which survived the middle passage of slave trading, bringing with them their knowledge of birth and medicinal botanical roots. In many African villages there was not just one particular woman who was known as the Midwife of her village. That is why it is difficult to find an African translation to the word midwife. Birthing was looked on as being women’s work and older women who had given birth before assisted another during labor. Oftentimes it would simply be the birthing woman’s mother or grandmother and other women to help. Only if there were difficulty would someone else be called in, (usually the medicine man). Other than him, it was considered a taboo for a man to be in the hut of a birthing mother (including the father). It wasn’t until slavery on the plantation, that women were appointed as midwives based on their knowledge and familiarity of woman craft.
Also this article from Mothering.com The Legacy of Black Midwives, originally posted in 2007. It talks about Shafia Monroe and how she became a midwife and founded the well known ICTC program which stands for International Center for Traditional Childbearing.
ICTC is an infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion, and midwife training non-profit organization