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


Pascoe Leahy, C, Mothers-in-waiting: maternographies of pregnancy in Australia since 1945, Australian Mothering: Historical and Sociological Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, CP Leahy and P Bueskens (ed), Cham, pp. 155-177. ISBN 9783030202668 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-3-030-20267-5


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 Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:history, sociology, mother, Australia, maternal
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Pascoe Leahy, C (Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy)
ID Code:148726
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2022-02-04
Last Modified:2022-07-26

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