Originally published in 1990, this book met the rising interest in the subject of women in pre-industrial England, bringing together a group of scholars with diverse and wide-ranging interests; experts in social and medical history, demography, women’s studies, and the history of the family, whose work would not normally appear in one volume.
Key aspects of motherhood in pre-industrial society are discussed, including women’s concepts of maternity, the experience of pregnancy, childbirth, and wet nursing, the fostering and disciplining of children, and child abandonment and neglect. This unique book provides a comprehensive introductory overview of its subject, with emphasis on women’s experiences and motives.
Introduction 1. The Construction and Experience of Maternity in Seventeenth-century England Patricia Crawford 2. Embarking on a Rough Passage: the Experience of Pregnancy in Early-modern Society Linda A. Pollock 3. The Ceremony of Childbirth and its Interpretation Adrian Wilson 4. Puritan Attitudes Towards Childhood Discipline, 1560-1634 Robert V. Schnucker 5. Wet Nursing and Child Care in Aldenham, Hertfordshire, 1595-1726 Fiona Newall 6. Maternal Feelings Reassessed: Child Abandonment and Neglect in London and Westminster, 1550-1800 Valerie Fildes 7. Conjugal Love and the Flight from Marriage: Poetry as a Source for the History of Women and the Family Mary Prior