‘An important, fascinating and frequently shocking read.’ BERNARDINE EVARISTO, author of Girl, Woman, Other
Covering a fascinating period of population growth, high infant mortality and deep social inequality, rapid medical advances and pseudoscientific quackery, Confinement is the untold history of pregnancy and childbirth in Victorian Britain.
During the nineteenth century, having children was frequently viewed as a woman’s central function and destiny – and yet the pregnant and postnatal body, as well as the birthing room, are almost entirely absent from the public conversation and written histories of the period. Confinement corrects this omission by exploring stories of pregnancy and motherhood across this period. Drawing on a range of contemporary sources, Jessica Cox charts the maternal experiences of women, examining fertility, pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, maternal mortality, unwanted pregnancies, infant loss, breastfeeding, and postnatal bodies and minds.
From the royal family to inhabitants of the workhouse, this absorbing history reveals what motherhood was truly like for the women of nineteenth-century Britain.