The Country Midwife

Reader Contribution by Arkansas Girl
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Her name was Mrs. Alma Coleman-Knox. A physically beautiful woman. Warm, friendly, kind, considerate, compassionate, and just a darling person. She brought me and most of my siblings into the world. Once I asked her how many children she had delivered, and unfortunately I can’t remember the number, but I think it was well over 600. Now, that’s a lot of people for one person to help bring into the world. She told me that she still had the list of every child she “birthed.” By law, I guess she had to keep a record, in addition to filling out the birth certificates.

I can still remember the part of the country that we lived in when I was born, and actually I was the only one of the siblings born there. It’s near the small village of Patmos. One day, my Mother and I were driving down the highway and she pointed in the direction of where the house was that I was born in.

When I reminiscence about this midwife, I see this tall, not-too-thin, fair-skinned woman with her warm, smiling face. She was so pleasant, but of course, just about all country people are pleasant – with a few exceptions. I often wondered how she got around to so many pregnant women’s houses, because she didn’t drive. Actually, most women her age and time didn’t drive, but amazingly, they all got to where they wanted to go, and back then, this midwife made house calls.

This part is quite vague, but I remember her being at our house (and fixing breakfast) the morning after one of my younger brothers was born. It’s been so long ago, but I guess midwives did whatever they had to do for the family that they were attending.

The pay, I think was a little of nothing, and no doubt for those who couldn’t afford it, she probably delivered the baby anyway…for free. Long time ago, many families were desperately poor but generous, nevertheless.

One final and interesting note about this lady. Even though she delivered hundreds of children, she never had children of her own.

I thank God for that midwife. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here to write about her.

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