'She said she was in the family way'

Pregnancy and infancy in modern Ireland

Elaine Farrell (ed.)

Pregnancy and infacy in modern Ireland book cover

'She said she was in the family way' examines the subject of pregnancy and infancy in Ireland from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. It draws on exciting and innovative research by early-career and established academics, and consider topics that have been largely ignored by historians in Ireland. The book will make an important contribution to Irish women’s history, family history, childhood history, social history, crime history and medical history, and will provide a reference point for academics interested in themes of sexuality, childbirth, infanthood and parenthood.

Price: c.£40.00 (tbc), hbk.
ISBN: 978-1-905165-65-0
Published: September 2012

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From January 2017: this title is also available as an open access PDF via the School of Advanced Study’s Humanities Digital Library.




Foreword – Mary O’Dowd

Introduction – Elaine Farrell

I. ‘I would take anything to prevent me having a child’: contraception

Ann Daly – ‘Veiled obscenity’: contraception and the Dublin Medical Press, 1850–1900

Sandra McAvoy –  ‘Its effect on public morality is vicious in the extreme’: defining birth control as obscene and unethical, 1926–32

II. ‘Inexpressible rendings of heart at the prospect of my child’s death’: pregnancy, childbirth and mortality

Clodagh Tait – Some sources for the study of infant and maternal mortality in later seventeenth-century Ireland

Rosemary Raughter – ‘A time of trial being near at hand’: pregnancy, childbirth and parenting in the spiritual journal of Elizabeth Bennis, 1749–79

Julia Anne Bergin – Birth and death in nineteenth-century Dublin’s lying-in hospitals

III. ‘The natural and proper guardian of the child’: material culture and the care of babies

Emma O’Toole – Medicinal care in the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Irish home

Elaine Murray – The chrysalis in the cradle

IV. ‘The world acted unjustly to women in this fallen position’: unmarried mothers and ‘illegitimate’ children

Sarah-Anne Buckley – ‘Found in a “dying” condition’: nurse-children in Ireland, 1872–1952

Jennifer Redmond – In the family way and away from the family: examining the evidence for Irish unmarried mothers in Britain, 1920s–40s

V. ‘I know she never intended to rear it’: infanticide

James Kelly – Responding to infanticide in Ireland, 1680–1820

Elaine Farrell – ‘A very immoral establishment’: the crime of infanticide and class status in Ireland, 1850–1900

Anne O’Connor – Beyond cradle and grave: Irish folklore about the spirits of unbaptized infants and the spirits of women who murdered babies