Educating mothers: family, school and antenatal education

Angela Davis

in Modern Motherhood

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780719084553
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702109 | DOI:
Educating mothers: family, school and antenatal education

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This chapter addresses the process of educating women to be mothers. It asks whether commentators in these decades, and women themselves, felt that they needed to be taught how to mother or whether they thought it came naturally to them. It then considers the debate about where this instruction should take place, and who should provide it: home, school, or medical professionals. The chapter charts how changing attitudes about the roles women should be performing, both at a governmental and societal level, determined how girl were educated to become adult women. Through an analysis of the oral history interviews the influence of these national debates on individual experiences is shown. Three principal discursive models surrounding education for motherhood are discussed: motherhood as innate, commonsensical, or a skill that needed to be learnt.

Keywords: Motherhood; Girlhood; Family; School; Sex education; Domestic science; Antenatal education

Chapter.  12549 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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