Oral History and Women’s Accounts of Infertility in Postwar England

  • Angela DavisEmail author


This chapter considers women’s accounts of infertility told during oral history interviews about their lives as mothers in postwar England. In telling their stories of how they became mothers, many women also spoke of the fertility problems they encountered in achieving their desired family size, or their inability to do so. However, the theme of infertility was often ‘hidden’ within women’s narratives. As these women were the biological mothers to at least one child they rarely presented themselves as experiencing infertility and downplayed the difficulties they had in conceiving their children, whether their first child or subsequent children. The chapter also reveals the fatalistic approach that women took to fertility problems and their ambivalence about seeking medical help. Powerlessness and helplessness characterized the narratives of both women who could be said to have achieved their desired family size and those who did not.


Motherhood Oral history Post-1945 England 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WarwickCoventryEngland

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