Born to a Changing World

Bridget Williams Books

Emerging from diaries, letters and memoirs, the voices of this charming narrative tell of new life arriving amidst a turbulent world.

Women in the nineteenth century gave birth in widely varying circumstances: Māori women of noble families might be lovingly cared for within the whare kōhanga; wealthy colonial wives employed doctors and monthly nurses; rural women relied on local midwives and neighbours to deliver their babies. The poor or unmarried might need to turn to charitable institutions for support. These very different histories from the years before the Plunket Society, ‘safe’ Caesarean sections, and registered midwives are brought together for the first time.