When I had the first inklings that my journey to midwifery had already begun, I started looking everywhere for stories of Asian American Midwives. I didn’t care what their background was, whether they attended births at home or in the hospital…I was just hungry to hear about the experiences of other students who share a similar cultural background.
Of course, my identity as an Asian American is complicated some by the fact that I’m a Korean American adoptee, which in many Korean American circles amounts to me not really being “Korean” Korean.
I wanted to know more about the history of Korean midwives, and of Korean American midwives. Surely there were some around, somewhere. And although in the years since, I’ve actually met another Korean adoptee who’s a midwife, I haven’t met that many more folks in the midwifery community who identify as Asian American.
And, I’ve only found one book out there that explores the history of Asian American midwives, Japanese American Midwives: Culture, Community, and Health Politics, 1880-1950. This book has been on my to-read list for a while…and now seems like a great time.
I’ll be sharing what I learn as I read…and would love to hear more of your stories as well! What do you know about the history of Asian American midwives in your community? Who did they serve? What drew them to their work? What were the challenges they faced? What traditions did they carry with them as midwives and healers in their communities?