Three Midwives 'Parteras' to San Pedro's HALL OF FAME

o you know which doctor received you into this world? And was it a natural birth or was there an operation? Twenty five years ago, in the 50's and even into the 60's, there were no doctors in San Pedro and all babies were received by midwives or "parteras" as they were called. Parteras were women without formal education in delivering babies, but were God-gifted and did it with love and dedication.

In San Pedro there were several "parteras," but three of the most outstanding ones were Donia Isabel Guerrero, Donia Leandra Rivero and Donia Masita Alamilla.

Donia Isabel Guerrero was called Dona Chabby and was the mother of Verlios and Astolfo Guerrero. She was a beautiful woman - slim, short and with a small face with pointed chin. She had a sharp nose and silky, black, long hair. Donia Chabby had a sweet comforting voice and smile which assured any woman in labor pains.

Then there was Donia Leandra Rivero, mother of Emilio Rivero and Don Tach Rivero. She was a lovely woman - short and chubby, clear complexion, a sharp nose and long straight hair. Her face was serious but her voice was sweet and very kind.

Finally there was the third "partera," Donia Masita Alamilla, mother of Elvira and Joe Alamilla and grandmother of Aldo, Wilber and Betito Marin. She was a beautiful, short, chubby woman with silky long black hair and a very clear complexion. I do remember that she was very kind because when she caught us stealing her almonds, she would call us and give us as much as we wanted with the only condition that we should not break the branches. I developed a very special admiration and respect for Donia Masita when my mother informed me that she had delivered me.

All of these women were ordinary hard working housewives, but they were gifted as midwives. At any time of the day or night, they would leave their chores to go to one's house and labor along with the expecting mother. They spent many sleepless nights and in the end they would say, "It's nothing." A little thank you and personal satisfaction was all that they needed to perform their duties. However, because they were liked, they would be gratified with chickens, or eggs, or fruits, or a special cut of a pork leg whenever someone killed a hog. The people had their favorite midwife, but together they must have delivered over 200 babies during their life span.

After the baby had been delivered, the midwife visited the home daily to medicate the navel, give breast feeding instructions or to scold the mother if she got too close to an open window or removed the wrap around her head. These "parteras" were very devoted, very strict and very caring. After the ninth day of delivery, they prepared a special bath with lime leaves and water heated naturally in the sun for the nursing mother. Thereafter, and only after that bath, they gave the "okay" for the mother to leave the room and the baby to be taken outdoors.

All three of our beloved midwives have sadly departed, but their memories still live with us. San Pedro owes it to them for their devotion, patience and love for the mothers of San Pedro. We all admire and respect them for their simplicity yet their sophistication and we hope that God has all three of them on their thrones. It is with this profound love for them that we welcome them into San Pedro's HALL OF FAME.

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