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American Experience - A Midwife's Tale
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Based on her personal diary, this program presents a dramatic exploration of the life of Martha Ballard, a woman who lived through the economic boom and bust, and political and social turmoil of the decades following the American Revolution. The video is approximately three minutes longer than the broadcast version.
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We all know about Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, George Washington. However, "A Midwife's Tale" is about an ordinary citizen. Se was a wife, a mother, a caregiver, a citizen of a young country. We only know about her because she kept a detailed journal about her life and those around her. She attended over 1,000 women when they gave birth and never lost a mother. She tended to the sick. She grew her own herbs which were used as medication. She was a midwife, a doctor, a nurse and a pharmacist but never viewed herself as a hero.
As I watched this DVD I grew to know Martha Ballard and to respect her. I watched it again and and again was left with many thoughts about her. Our history is fraught with so many unsung heros like Martha Ballard whose story need to be told.
PBS did not make an effort to glamorize her story--costuming was true to her era; a minimum of make-up seemes to have been used; her home was simple and was shown as such. This is a fascinating story about an ordinary woman and it is done beatifully.
And this film based on the research and reading of one woman's diary is really quite interesting.
It is the story of a midwife. It begins after the American revolution and through it we travel through time to her world to visit. We meet her husband. We meet some of her offspring. But best of all we meet her world.
Nicely re-enacted. Nicely done. Well researched. A must for anyone interested in the time period.