Hello dear readers, just under a year ago Austenesque Reviews was paid a visit from first-time author, Sophie Turner, who was just celebrating the release of her Pride and Prejudice sequel, A Constant Love. Today, Sophie is returning to Austenesque Reviews to share some interesting history and an enticing excerpt about her second release, A Change of Legacies, which is Volume 2 in her Constant Love series!
If you’re like I was before I did the research for A Change of Legacies, you have a certain impression of how birth went for the upper classes during the Georgian and Regency eras: As soon as she was visibly pregnant, the lady would hide herself away from society. Eventually, the family would retire to their estate, and about a month before she was due, the woman would go to her bedchamber, all of the curtains would be drawn, and she would lie there quietly in that stuffy room until she had the child. The birth itself would take place in some giant ancestral bed, attended by a midwife, and the poor woman had better hope it did not become a choice between her life and that of her husband’s heir, because they would cut the child out of her, if necessary. Even if she lived, she would still have little contact with the baby – it would be given over to a wet nurse, and sent off to the nursery.
Some of this might have been true before this era, but for the Georgian upper classes, this is not the story of most births. I was fortunate to find two excellent sources, during my research – Judith S. Lewis’s In the Family Way: Childbearing in the British Aristocracy, 1760-1860, and Thomas Denman’s An Introduction to the Practice of Midwifery. Lewis’s book, especially, turned on its head most of what I had thought about childbirth during that time.