Born to a Changing World

Childbirth in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand

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Print publication:

eBook publication:

Pages: 312

RRP: $39.99

ISBN: 9781927131428

ISTC: A0220120000214DD

DOI: 10.7810/9781927131428

Emerging from diaries, letters and memoirs, the voices of this charming narrative tell of new life arriving amidst a turbulent world.

Women in the nineteenth century gave birth in widely varying circumstances: Māori women of noble families might be lovingly cared for within the whare kōhanga; wealthy colonial wives employed doctors and monthly nurses; rural women relied on local midwives and neighbours to deliver their babies. The poor or unmarried might need to turn to charitable institutions for support. These very different histories from the years before the Plunket Society, ‘safe’ Caesarean sections, and registered midwives are brought together for the first time.

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1. Open Air and the Whare Kōhanga: Māori Birth Ways
2.  Lying In: Pākehā Birth Ways
3. ‘Destitute and Ailing’: Giving Birth in Hospital
4.  ‘What Beautiful Children These Are!’: Clothing the Baby
5.  From Wet Nursing to Condensed Milk: Changes in Infant Feeding
6.  Christening, Churching and Circumcision: The Religious Rituals of Childbirth
7. ‘The Angel of Death Was Waiting for Them’: Maternal Illness and Death
8. ‘She Has No Baby Now to Call Her Mother’: Infant Death

Appendix: Court cases