If you’ve not seen this documentary you need to. From the description:
Both educational tool and poetic portrait of a black midwife and childbirth in the Deep South.
“This beautiful film is the story of “”Miss Mary”” Coley an African-American midwife more than half a century ago in rural Georgia. Conceived as a demonstration film for “”granny”” midwives its production sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health All My Babies quickly transcended its initial purpose. It was used around the world by UNESCO and has become an enduring classic of non-fiction film.
All My Babies was written produced and directed by George C. Stoney in close collaboration with Mrs. Coley as well as with local public health doctors and nurses and shows the preparation for and home delivery of healthy babies in both relatively good and bad rural conditions among black families at that time.
The film is in addition both a deeply respectful portrait of “”Miss Mary”” who is revealed as an inspiring human being and a record of the actual living conditions of her patients.
Selected in 2002 by the Librarian of Congress as a “”culturally historically and artistically significant work”” for permanent preservation in the National Film Registry.”
While there were some moments that made me cringe (like Miss Mary telling a mama it wasn’t “safe” to give birth on the floor and that the bed was “much better”; and her fully and completely cleaning and dressing the baby before letting the mama even see the baby), it is still gives great insight to the culture of the time, and it is obvious that the doctor, nurse, and all the midwives had their hearts in the right place, and did the best they could with what they knew at the time.