‘With Great Care and Pains’: Tending the Sick Child

Hannah Newton

in The Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580-1720

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199650491
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741647 | DOI:
‘With Great Care and Pains’: Tending the Sick Child

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This chapter explores the impact of caring for the sick child on the everyday life of the child’s family. It argues that whilst caring for children was often a time-consuming, costly, and exhausting undertaking for parents, it was also something they desperately wanted to do, and were prepared to carry out with unstinting commitment. Fathers as well as mothers played an active part in the nursing and treatment of children, thus showing that gender roles were more flexible than has been acknowledged by historians. These arguments provide strong evidence that parents of both sexes loved their children deeply. The first section outlines the elements of care provided to child patients, such as prayer, medicine, and nursing. The second part explores the roles of relatives and other individuals in the provision of this care. Finally, the third part asks how parents experienced the tasks of tending their sick children.

Keywords: child; parent; father; mother; gender; care; patient; medicine; prayer; nursing

Chapter.  15469 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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