Emergency baptisms by the midwife

In the Roman Catholic church, if a child was in peril of dying during the delivery, the midwife was allowed to perform an emergency baptism. Here is a summary of the instructions for such baptisms, as printed in Brussels in 1698. Instructions for midwives regarding baptisms of young children who were born, or were in peril of not being born whole In case there is fear that the child will sicken or die, they shall wash the child with natural water while speaking these words: "I baptize thee … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vroedvrouw

A vroedvrouw was a midwife. There were also vroedmeesters, doctors specialized in helping women deliver children. The midwife was responsible for more than just seeing the mother and the child safely through the birth. In the case of an unwed mother, she was also urged to press the mother into revealing the name of the father of her child. It was believed that no woman would lie in childbirth. She would know that she could meet her maker at any minute and would have to account for her … [Read more...]