Saved Through Bearing Children:An Exploration into how Pregnancy and Childbirth was Represented and Experienced in Late Medieval and Early Modern England.
Pregnancy and childbirth is a biologically and socially constructed event which shaped the lives of the majority of English women between 1400 and 1700. While older historical accounts have focused on the progress made in obstetrics and the role of the male practitioner, accounts written since the 1990s have sought to place the mother at the centre of the account. Theoretically deemed as inferior, women gained a source of control through an oral culture and control of the birthing chamber, inaccessible to men in normative births. Examining primary works written predominantly by male academics and comparing their theoretical accounts of women’s nature with what actually occurred for a woman during her pregnancy and childbirth reveals how medical ideas differed from medical events in practise. The increase in personal writing which occurred during the period has resulted in a rich range of writings on pregnancy and childbirth undertaken by women themselves, thereby enabling the mother’s viewpoint to be accessed. Taken together these varied accounts enable a greater understanding of how pregnancy and childbirth actually occurred at the transition from the medieval to the early modern period in England, contributing to the growing number of works dedicated to exploring women’s experiences of motherhood.
SubjectsField of Research::21 - History and Archaeology::2103 - Historical Studies::210305 - British History
- Arts: Reports