The officers' wives in the Frontier Army, as we have seen, were presented with a unique situation and lifestyle that flouted the commonly held views of a woman's role. Indeed, "for officers' wives the hierarchical structure of the Army, dominated by a rank system and social class structure, combined with the confinement and isolation of the Western frontier formed the impenetrable boundaries of their Army world" (Nacy, 43). Nineteenth century women were expected to build a home,
Childbirth was yet another occasion in which the officers' wives had to overcome their upbringing and the prevailing norms of the day. "Though they had been brought up in a culture that disapproved of such conduct, public 'exposure' during pregnancy became for them a rather normal occurrence" (Nacy, 76). The letters of Frontier Army wives reveal that these women remained openly a part of their garrisons' society during their pregnancy, something that would be unthinkable in the East. Additionally, during a period in which middle and upper-class women were ceasing to use midwives, officers' wives increasingly turned to this use and in fact many of them became midwives out of necessity and due to their experience in the matter (Nacy, 76). The complications associated with giving birth in the frontier, and the dismal conditions in which childbirth occurred, led many an officer's wife (and one in particular) to vehemently state "I would rather die than have another child" (Nacy, 89).
that had to be considered, in the West officers wives