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Victorian Maternity Essay

Assignment id 1010031
Discipline Arts Entertainment
Assignment type Essay
Words 2727
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Victorian Maternity Working Class Maternity According to writer Helena Wojtczak, "the typical working class wife was pregnant or breast-feeding from wedding to melancholy," bearing roughly eight pregnancies, and ultimately raising approximately five children. This overflow of offspring was probably linked to the fact that birth control literature was prohibited in the time (Wojtczak). Wohl's research of the difficulties in Victorian childbirth shows that a combination of a nutrient deficient diet, along with a substantial deficiency of both weight and height widespread in urban working class Victorian girls very likely contributed to an exceedingly high number of premature births, and consequently, a high infant mortality rate. Also, working class women were expected to keep on working during their whole pregnancy. Examples of this bias can be found in Victorian posts such as "The Rearing and Management of Children: Mother and Baby" at Cassells Household Guide. The article states that, "He placed one girl in a position in which labor and exertion are elements of her presence, gives her a stronger condition of body compared to her more lavish sisters. To a inured to toil from youth, ordinary work is merely exercise, and, consequently, necessary to maintain her bodily abilities, though extra work should be, of course, avoided as much as possible" With regard to pregnancy outside marriage, Wojtczak notes that it was especially normal for a working class girl to become pregnant out of wedlock, also as a result of social stigma involved, and the possibility of unemployment, these women often opted to hide their pregnancy. Middle Class Maternity By the mid nineteenth century, Abrams states that Victorian middle cl...

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