A Pioneer Birth Story: Emmeline B. Wells


With Pioneer Day approaching I wanted to share a birth story from one of our pioneer sisters.  I was pleased to find something that Emmeline B. Wells wrote.  There are so many titles and achievements attached to our 5th General Relief Society President: writer, poet, pioneer, teacher, leader, political activist, women’s suffragist, and mother.  Even with her many achievements she maintained very close and tender relationships with her five daughters.  She recalled the birth of her second child after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley after a long arduous journey and many hardships:

“Nov. 2, 1874 This is Belle’s birthday, she is twenty-six.  What a contrast to the day when she was born, then the weather was severely cold and the wind blew fiercely, the snow, hail and sleet drove against our poor wagon and tents – the only homes we had.” (Olsen, Vicky Burgess, Sister Saints, Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah 1978, 464.)

I can only begin to imagine what my pioneer sisters endured as they bore children in such humble circumstances.  I often wish for even more words to describe their thoughts, feeling and sensations as they birthed their children.  However, I am grateful for the few words recorded here.  They teach me that against all odds, God will be manifest in the most humble of circumstances and bless women as they lay their lives down to give life.

In reading about Emmeline I found this quote, “I believe in women, especially thinking women.”  I love this quote because it reminds me of Henci Goer‘s book, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.  Like Emmeline, I believe in thinking women.  Thank you Emmeline for your legacy.