More notes on confinement...
Posted by JennieC on July 29, 1998 at 21:42:04:
In response to confinement, written by Kathi on July 28, 1998 at 21:43:56
How confining was "confinement" likely to be for the wife of a man in Darcy's position? The fanfic is contradictory on this point. Would she be confined to her own rooms during most of her pregnancy? Or would she be allowed the run of the house? The grounds? At what point would confinement start? Could she receive visitors outside of her immediate family? Would women of other social classes live by similar rules?
In Jane Austen's own family, confinement seemed to last about one month, beginning right before the baby's birth and lasting until the mother was fully recuperated. It's really a wonderful idea--the mother lets go of all household responsibilities (except giving orders!) and just relaxes, gets to know her new child, eats, sleeps, reads, etc. She can walk around if she is up to it, stroll the grounds and more, but the whole point is to take it easy. It's almost like a vacation, although childbirth was often more difficult back then, so the rest was thought necessary to prevent hemorrage or muscle strain. Later, in the Victorian period, women of the higher classes tended to enter confinement earlier, which meant they did not go out in public after they were "showing." Gestation corsets allowed them to keep their "condition" private for at least five months, but after that, it was hush-hush until the "stork" brought the new child. Silly, I think.
I was put in "confinement" for one month before my son was born in 1997, relegated to my bed for all but the occasional trip to the privy! It was *not* pleasant, since I am an active person and enjoy being busy. My higher-than-normal blood pressure caused the midwives to stick me in bed, and I often thought of my foremothers in their times of confinement. I probably wouldn't have minded so much if I'd been allowed to get out of bed. Not having to do any chores was fun for a while, but I was glad to get back on my feet after my son was born!
- And..... Caroline 11:20:30 7/30/98 (0)
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.