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Motherhood in the old south pregnancy, childbirth, and infant rearing - Motherhood in the Old South: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and.



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Motherhood was the primary role filled by all but a very few women in colonial Middletown. Yet as common as bearing and rearing children might have been, they often proved difficult, physically and emotionally draining, and even downright deadly for the weak of body or faint of heart. The experience of one Middletown woman, Sarah Stow Starr, illustrates the triumphs and tribulations typically encountered by a married woman 250 years ago.

Sarah Stow was 17 years old when she married 21- year-old tailor Jehosaphat Starr on November 24, 1737. As was frequently the case, Sarah became pregnant almost immediately after the wedding, and the couple's first child, a son named Jabez, was born on August 14, 1738, a respectable 38 weeks after his parents' marriage.

Sarah would experience 10 more pregnancies over the course of the next 24 years, delivering her last baby in 1762, when she was 42. The longest gap she experienced between childbirths was just three years and five months; the shortest was one year and four months.

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