Born to a Changing World: Childbirth in Nineteenth-century New Zealand
Emerging from diaries, letters and memoirs, the voices of this remarkable book tell a new story of life arriving amidst a turbulent world. Before the Plunket Society, before antibiotics, before 'safe' Caesarean sections and registered midwives, nineteenth-century birthing practice in New Zealand was typically determined by culture, not nature or the state. Alison Clarke works from the heart of this practice, presenting a history balanced in its coverage of social and medical contexts. Connecting these contexts provides new insights into the same debates on childhood - from infant feeding to maternity care - that persist today. Tracing the experiences of Maori and Pakeha birth ways, this richly illustrated story remains centered throughout on birthing women, their babies and families: this is their history.