Birth Stories: Transforming Our Culture

Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date


Degree Title

Master of Arts in History



Major Advisor

Sandra Schackel


I was raised with no knowledge of childbirth. Of my three younger siblings, I remember only one of them swaddled in the arms of my mother. She brought my little brother home from the hospital, and nothing was said about how he came to be or how he was born. I was seven years old then. Four years later, when I started menstruating, my mother handed me a book on the "birds and the bees." She never spoke one word on the subject. I thumbed through the illustrated pages with curiosity, then set the book down. At the time, I did not know I would devote my entire life to the study of childbirth and, later, to its history.