Tag Archives: pregnancy

Birthin’ Those Babies in Lanark County

Birthin’ Those Babies in Lanark County



In years gone by childbirth was women’s service to their husbands and many wealthy families wanted children for heirs. These well to do couples would most likely keep reproducing until they had a male child to give his land and money to. Many poor families wanted children for workers as these children could help work on the farm, family stores, or in the domestic service.

A pregnancy was very dangerous and it was very common for women to pass away during childbearing. Another frightening asset was having a premature baby. The risk of death was more concerning to the lower class women and that is why through Lanark county you see the names of the poor children one after one on the gravestones.

These women had poor diets that didn’t have enough nutrition and the other hand, for the wealthy, it was a different situation. They had a more balanced diet, and this produced more healthy babies. Although rich women could afford more wine/beer, which they drank like water, it was very dangerous for their infants.



Women had to go through many lonely weeks, even months; in case of premature births, which was often, women had to go into confinement. Confinement was the term used to describe the last few weeks of pregnancy that were spent in the bed of a specially prepared house. Also having children gave women their rights and when a girl gave birth to their child they finally became a woman.

Did you know the actual beds women gave birth on were lightweight and portable, and were significant for several reasons. One reason the delivery beds were so highly regarded among women in aristocratic Victorian families was because they increased the important female bonding aspect of childbirth. Because of this, the beds were passed down from generation to generation.




Anaesthesia was first administered in 1847 to obstetric patients by the Scottish physician James Simpson. Before this pain-relieving medicine became popularized, doctors relied on blood-letting to alleviate labour pains and up to 50 oz. of blood could be drawn to ease pain and weaken the patient as a whole.

Even during labour, Victorian principles of purity and modesty are evident and the clothing women wore consisted of a shift tucked up under the arms with a short petticoat placed about the hips which used to be removed after labour and the dry shift drawn down.




The position most commonly used during childbirth was the Sims position which entailed lying on the left side of the body with knees bent and drawn up into the abdomen. This position prevented the doctor and patient from seeing each other, enabling the mother to save face in an embarrassing situation for women.

The recovery time for women after labour and delivery lasted between four and six weeks and consisted of various stages of progress unless you loved on a farm. The stages began with something as simple as walking from the bed to a nearby sofa and then was ritually ended by going to the church. There, the new mother would be religiously cleansed and had the opportunity to thank God for a full recovery after the pregnancy and childbirth.

Amen to all that– no epidurals for them….



Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place and The Tales of Almonte


Childbirth Court Case — Saunders Vs Dr Downing

The Sad Tale of Unwed Mothers of Days Gone By — Perth through the Ages Tour

The Trial of Ann Glascott

Women in Peril 1868 — Mathilda Routh

The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

To Be Manic Depressive in a Rural Town — Kingston Insane Asylum

A Tragedy of the Times– Not for the Faint of Heart — Lila Pickering

A Tragedy of the Times– Not for the Faint of Heart — Lila Pickering

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  15 Feb 1935, Fri,  Page 1


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  01 Mar 1935, Fri,  Page 1

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  01 Mar 1935, Fri,  Page 13


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  21 Mar 1935, Thu,  Page 24


Author’s Note–There was no other mention of the case in the newspaper archives and no other mention of what happened to Dr. Hobson of Perth. I could not find Lila’s death notice or grave marker. Another tragedy lost in the dust and this one paragraph said it all to me.

Screenshot 2017-09-26 at 17.jpg



Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.



Women in Peril– Betrayed by Heartless Scoundrels 1882

The Home for Friendless Women

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

Embroidery of the Insane?

Women in Peril 1868 — Mathilda Routh

Did You Know About the House of Industry?

The Very Sad Tale of Hessie Churchill

All the Single Ladies?

I’m Every Woman?

Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street in Carleton Place (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour walk with stories of murder mayhem and BOO!.. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!!


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Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Or Mike Muldowan’s Fries



Photo —Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Nancy Willis emailed me yesterday to tell me she used to crave Mike’s chips in the 60s– but didn’t live in Carleton Place. Nancy actually lived in Smiths Falls, and when she was 8 months pregnant she used to get the normal cravings similar to all pregnant women. The worst was getting a craving for Mike’s fries and having to hitchhike all the way to Carleton Place for some of his fare. Now that is devotion– or one heck of a craving!

Nancy has been telling her family that story for years, and also has pictures of when Mike’s wife was running the truck. She once asked Mike’s son what the secret to his Dad’s fries was and he told her not even his mother knew.

As a youngster she begged her grandmother for money, but granny could not understand why they all loved french fries because she was very old school. The word around this area is: once you had Mike’s you could never go back as they say.

Her grandparents lived on the corner on Morphy and Ramsay Street and the old house is still there. She said it must be over 160 years old and used to have a barn. She is looking for any historical information about it– so if you have any please drop me a line.

In Memory of Mike Moldowan — The Man Behind the Fries

1963 Rule of Thumb for a Strong Physique — Straight Outta Carleton Place High School


The Fat Shaming of a Pregnant Kardashian – Zoomers



The Fat Shaming of a Pregnant Kardashian – Zoomers.



Everyone and his monkey’s uncle has something to say about Kim Kardashian’s pregnant body, and none of it is great. A man has to be extremely overweight like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie before it causes the level of comment that a woman gets for even gaining a few pounds, let alone being pregnant.