Greetings from the 18th Century

Chronicles of Martha Ballard. Nursing Humour

Greetings, my dear readers!

It is I, Martha Ballard (not really), the one and only frontier midwife and diary enthusiast, at your service! You may know me as the queen of childbirth or the master of medicinal miracles, but today, I’m here to share a different tale – the chronicles of Martha Ballard of the 18th century!

Now, before we dive into the depths of my misadventures, let me set the stage. Picture this: the year is 1790, the American frontier is wild, and I’m bustling about with my trusty birthing bag, ready to catch babies and dispense remedies like confetti at a parade. Oh, the joys of being a midwife in a time when leeches were considered the pinnacle of medical technology!

Firstly let’s talk about my legendary diary. You see, while most women of my time were busy milking cows and churning butter, I was jotting down every detail of my life like a pioneer Taylor Swift. Yes, folks, I was the OG influencer of the 18th century, except instead of selfies, I was capturing the riveting drama of frontier life.

Imagine my surprise when Laurel Thatcher Ulrich decided to turn my diary into a bestseller! Who knew that my musings on childbirth and herbal remedies would become the talk of the town centuries later? Move over, Shakespeare, there’s a new literary genius in town – and she’s armed with forceps.

Oh, the adventures I’ve had! From delivering babies in the dead of night to negotiating with grumpy husbands, there was never a dull moment in Martha Ballard’s world. And let’s not forget the endless parade of characters who graced my doorstep – from wide-eyed new mothers to seasoned grandmas who swore by their own homemade remedies (spoiler alert: most of them involved chicken soup).

But amidst the chaos and laughter, there was a deeper truth to my diary – a testament to the resilience and strength of frontier women like myself. We may have lacked indoor plumbing and Netflix subscriptions, but we made do with what we had, laughing in the face of adversity and finding joy in the smallest moments.

My diary is about 1400 pages long, filled with entries that start with the weather and the time. Many of my early records are short and choppy but then I got my groove on. I wrote with quill pen and homemade ink (there’s something for all those pen thieving Nurses of today!), recorded numerous babies delivered and illnesses treated. I travelled by horse or canoe around Massachusetts frontier,  you guys call it Maine.

I never did receive any formal medical training, learned by experience and my interest in herbal remedies. Served me well though considering I delivered around 981 babies in my time.

Anyhoo!  Just wanted to check in and say Hi. Until next time, keep laughing, keep living, and never underestimate the power of a good diary entry!


Martha Ballard

Yours in laughter and herbal remedies,

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