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Mothers-in-waiting: maternographies of pregnancy in Australia since 1945

Pascoe Leahy, C ORCID: 0000-0002-6517-5034 2019 , 'Mothers-in-waiting: maternographies of pregnancy in Australia since 1945', in CP Leahy and P Bueskens (eds.), Australian Mothering: Historical and Sociological Perspectives , Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 155-177.

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A woman’s experience of pregnancy is influenced by a range of factors, including her physiological responses, the cultural beliefs of her society, and her personal emotional history. This chapter considers the Australian history of pregnancy since 1945, drawing upon oral histories about experiences of becoming a mother, which I call ‘maternographies.’ Changes to the historical context surrounding pregnancy are firstly examined, before focusing on the stories which women construct about gestation. Narrative themes recurrently emerged which I have termed stories of conception, preparation, suffering, generation, anticipation and transition. Although these nine months of waiting for maternity are often overshadowed by the intensity of birth and early mothering, I argue that first pregnancy is most meaningfully understood as an apprenticeship for motherhood.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Pascoe Leahy, C
Keywords: history, sociology, mother, Australia, maternal
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Copyright 2019 The Author(s)

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