Introduction
in Modern motherhood
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This chapter introduces the debates surrounding the history of motherhood and how this book adds to our understanding of the subject. It explains why the period after 1945 is of particular importance and interest due to changing conceptions of the role of women that were occurring at this time. It demonstrates how women in the post-war decades were making their choices in respect to motherhood in a new context, with post-war welfare reforms, the introduction of the NHS, falling maternal and infant mortality rates, and rising numbers of married women in the workforce. Further changes then occurred in the latter decades of the century, such as rising rates of cohabitation and divorce. The chapter also discusses the book’s use of oral history as a methodology and Oxfordshire as a case study.

Modern motherhood

Women and family in England, c. 1945–2000

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