Saturday, September 13, 2008

White House Babies

I was laying in bed with my boyfriend while he showed me all the features of his new phone, when an option for "today in history" appeared on the screen. We began reading about all the events that occurred on September 9th. One blurb caught my attention, which mentioned that the daughter of President Cleveland was born in the White House on that day in 1893. I am fascinated with birth, and homebirths especially, and I had never really thought about White House homebirths before. I have read and researched about the history of birth, so I should have assumed that because of the time that all babies were born in whatever "home" the woman lived in. I am not quite sure why this concept is so thrilling to me, but it led me to further research.

I could only find one article dedicated to White House births which was originally published in 1908. Esther Cleveland was the only baby to be born to a President within the White House. I am sure this is because of the typical age of most Presidents, but the rest of my findings were equally interesting. As of the article's date, there had been less than twenty births in the White House during its one hundred and eight years of existence. The other babies born within the White House were actually grandchildren of the Presidents. Presidents such as John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, General Grant, and Andrew Jackson were among those in attendance for the births of their grandchildren. Imagine entering the world in the Exectutive Mansion among hisorical greatness!

The White House has always felt like a sterile, yet historically signifigant building that I could never really consider a "house" or a "home". But, the idea of families coming together through a birth, even in the White House, made me feel differently. No matter who you are, where you live, or what station in life you find youself, childbirth is still the raw and emotional connection that binds people and families.

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