Research & Future Projects
Having experienced my own fertility problems I’ve been really keen to make my longer term project a more personal one that looks at contraception and fertility in the post-war period when the idea of choice and control entered women’s vocabulary. This book will be published by Orion in 2023, and no, I don’t have a title yet! But I have plenty of questions… To what extent was that control an illusion? Why in the ‘swinging sixties’ were so many women still terrified of getting pregnant? What were the contraceptive options? How safe were they? What choices were available when girls accidentally got pregnant? And is there a relationship between the overwhelming fear of getting pregnant then and generation X, (my generation), a quarter of whom won’t have children? In December 1961 the contraceptive pill made its first piloted appearance on the NHS – so the time is ripe to write an oral history which I will combine with memoir and include details of my grandfather’s work. A physician, he was head of Britain’s first Drug Safety Committee in the 1960s, and played a key role in the adjudication of the many different contraceptive pills that were available then. If you or anyone you know had fertility or a pregnancy experience – especially in the post-war period – and might like to share their story, please do get in contact.
Oral history is my passion. I will always love telling the story of Britain through the intimate details of women’s lives. But slowly, step by step, I have also been trying to improve my Romanian so that I can tell the story of Romanian women post-45. The change, the pain, the resistance, the lack of control, endured by at least two generations needs to be told to the widest audience possible. Romania was occupied by the Red Army in 1945 and the country’s subsequent communist regime was particularly brutal. Romanian women were denied their freedom by communists who dared to outlaw contraception and abortion just as the rest of the world was waking up the independence they brought. Having worked with, listened to, read about and loved Romanians I know their stories of survival and defiance are testimony to the inner strength of women everywhere. Watch this space. Or as they say in Romania… fiţi pe fază!