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HER story Traditions
My family is from Alabama. My Dad, the oldest sibling of eight children, reminded me that all of them except one was born at home in the front room of the house I knew as my grandmother’s – Big Momma’s – house. He shared memories of his Dad (my Pa Pa) going to get the midwife “when it was time.” He told me how the women in the neighborhood (grandmothers, mothers, etc.) would assist my grandmother and care for her during her pregnancy. Then how they helped her during labor until it was time for her to give birth. He remembered these women taking long pieces of torn sheets and wrapping her stomach after she gave birth. He also said they cooked meals, cleaned for her and helped care for her children during the postpartum time.
My mother’s parents lived in a rural area that has no name except that it is in Hale County, between Greensboro and Moundville, Ala. They owned land and a farm on a red dirt road. We spent two or three months there every summer during our childhood. I never asked my Grandma about her birth experiences, however, my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister, told me about how her sisters and mother helped her when she went into labor. She said they helped her move around to help her contractions while she waited on the midwife to get there to “wait on her”. She said they always put a girdle on women after they had their babies.