Child birth and maternity dress.
Written by Mandy N
(7/12/2013 11:09 a.m.)
'The rest of his letter is only about his dear Charlotte's situation and his expectation of a young olive-branch'-
Mr Bennet to Elizabeth. P&P. Ch. 57.
Jane Austen was familiar with the pregnancies and 'lying-in' of her sisters-in-law. For instance, Elizabeth Brydges who married her brother Edward Austen-Knight bore about 10 children.
There isn't much about pregnancy in JA's novels. In Emma, Mrs Weston was present but did not dance at the ball at the Crown Inn . Nor did she attend the picnic at Box Hill. Mrs Weston gave birth to a baby girl in ch. 58 and her friends were glad of her safety.
My impression is genteel women in JA's time did reduce their activities such as dancing and probably withdrew from social activity in their last months.
This is the only picture I know of an Regency era woman in a maternity style dress. It is a painting of the Princess of Wales who sadly died in childbirth at this time.
Like her father, Princess Charlotte was a fan of JA's novels, particularly S&S.