In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting an intimate look at what day to day life was like for the women of colonial America. At times it’s difficult to imagine the kind of hardships they faced. The discomforts and the uncertainties of living in New England in the 1600’s were similar to those confronting their “sisters” in England and Europe. But the early settlers were, to a great extent, unprepared for the unique challenges of living in the New World.
In modern life we take so much granted; the ease of acquiring food, the expectation of warmth when it’s cold, the readiness of transportation. Acquiring the simplest necessities during the 17th century was a struggle. The average life expectancy at the time of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 was about 35-40 years of age, and many women and infants died during childbirth. The surprise was not that people died due to the harshness of life, the miracle was that anyone survived at all! But a woman’s life was not all dour and unpleasant. There were rituals and celebrations for honoring a marriage, welcoming a new child into the world, and enjoying the richness and sensual pleasures of nature.
This post pays tribute to the bravery and fortitude of our many times great grandmothers. We all stand on their shoulders.