(Video) “The Timeless Way Part 2: European Birth Images from the 1500s”
L’Accouchement (The Birth), engraving by Abraham Bosse, France, 1633
This video continues along the same historical path as did the first video in the series, this time tracing the visual history of birth through European images of the sixteenth-century. As was the case in the earlier video, there is a strong emphasis in this one on the important history of midwifery that parallels the history of birth. Across European culture, among the rich and poor, aristocracy and gypsy population, midwives guided women during the birthing of their babies.
Prior to the early twentieth-century, women gave birth at home, usually surrounded by women and their husbands. In this, birth was considered more of a social process than it was a medical one. Family and friends came together to support the laboring woman during her baby’s birth. Also important, this social sphere of support remained nearby to the woman and her baby after the birth to help everyone in the new family.