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|Farming out babies
Written by Deborah Julia
(2/10/2003 9:51 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Weaning, penned by Clare A
It does seem strange to our modern way of thinking, Mrs Austin farming out her babies, but from what I have read in JA bios. Mr. Austen was running a school, so there were several pupils lodging at their house, plus the Austin's own children, plus some servants. Had Mr& Mrs Austin not been so pressed for space, they may have opted to have nurses, wet and dry, living in.
Also, I believe Mrs. Austen was very much involved with the running of the school, acting as "matron" to the pupils, in addtion to running the household, so her time was limited.
Mrs. Austin was very much a Working Mum and like Working Mum's today (who havn't the financial resourses or the space to employ a nanny) found the best solution she could.
It is to be hoped that Mrs. Austin received less critisim over her choice of childcare than Working Mum's have to put up with today.
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