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Title: Radiant Motherhood - A Book for Those Who are Creating the Future
Author: Stopes, Marie Carmichael
Language: English
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RADIANT MOTHERHOOD



_BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR_


SCIENTIFIC.

    The Cretaceous Flora, Part I. Illustrated. Published by the
    Trustees of the British Museum. 12s. net.

    The Cretaceous Flora, Part II. Illustrated. Published by the
    Trustees of the British Museum. £1 1s. net.

    Ancient Plants. Illustrated. Published by Blackie. 4s. 6d. net.

    The Study of Plant Life. 2nd Edition. Illustrated. Published by
    Blackie. 3s. 6d. net.

    Married Love. 8th Edition. Published by Putnam. 6s. net.

    Wise Parenthood. 6th Edition. Published by Putnam. 3s. 6d. net.

    A Letter to Working Mothers. Published by the Author. 6d. net.


TRAVEL.

    A Journal from Japan. Published by Blackie. 7s. 6d. net.


LITERARY.

    Man, Other Poems and a Preface. Published by Heinemann. 3s. 6d. net.

    Conquest, a Three-Act Play. Published by French. 1s. net.

    Gold in the Wood and The Race. Two Plays. Published by Fifield. 2s.
    net.

    With Prof J. Sakurai, Plays of old Japan, The Nō. Published by
    Heinemann. 5s. net.


    The author’s vivid and imaginative sympathy has really enabled her,
    in some degree, to communicate the incommunicable.

        ATHENÆUM.



  Radiant Motherhood

  A Book for Those Who
  are Creating the Future


  By

  Marie Carmichael Stopes

  Doctor of Science, London; Doctor of Philosophy,
  Munich; Fellow of University College, London;
  Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
  and the Linnean Society, London


  LONDON
  G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS, LTD.

  TORONTO
  THE MUSSON BOOK COMPANY, LIMITED



  _First published August 9, 1920_


  _Copyright; translations and all other rights
  reserved by the Author. Copyright in U.S.A._



_Dedicated to young husbands and all who are creating the future_



CONTENTS


                                                       PAGE
         PREFACE                                         ix
 CHAPTER
      I. THE LOVER’S DREAM                                1
     II. CONCEIVED IN BEAUTY                              9
    III. THE GATEWAY OF PAIN                             18
     IV. THE YOUNG MOTHER-TO-BE:
         HER AMAZEMENTS                                  32
      V. HER DELIGHTS                                    39
     VI. HER DISTRESSES                                  44
    VII. THE YOUNG FATHER-TO-BE:
         HIS AMAZEMENTS                                  52
   VIII. HIS DELIGHTS                                    58
     IX. HIS DISTRESSES                                  62
      X. PHYSICAL DIFFICULTIES OF THE EXPECTANT MOTHER   71
     XI. PHYSICAL DIFFICULTIES OF THE EXPECTANT FATHER   93
    XII. THE UNION OF THREE                              99
   XIII. THE PROCESSION OF THE MONTHS                   113
    XIV. PRENATAL INFLUENCE                             130
     XV. EVOLVING TYPES OF WOMEN                        146
    XVI. BIRTH AND BEAUTY                               161
   XVII. BABY’S RIGHTS                                  171
  XVIII. THE WEAKEST LINK IN THE HUMAN CHAIN            183
    XIX. THE COST OF COFFINS                            201
     XX. THE CREATION OF A NEW AND IRRADIATED RACE      208


  APPENDICES

  A. PHYSICAL SIGNS OF COMING MOTHERHOOD                        229
  B. ON BIRTH                                                   231
  C. SUGGESTIONS FOR CALCULATING THE DATE OF ANTICIPATED BIRTH  233



PREFACE


This book is written for the same young people who inspired _Married
Love_. Many of my readers have asked me to write such a book as this,
and I sincerely hope that it will not disappoint them. Many, many
people have contributed facts which have helped me to write it. The
book, however, is pre-eminently the work of my baby son and his father,
whose beautiful spirits have been, and will be, through all eternity
united with me in a burning desire to bring light into dark places.

        M. C. S.



Radiant Motherhood



CHAPTER I

The Lover’s Dream

    So every spirit, as it is most pure,
        And hath in it the more of heauenly light,
    So it the fairer bodie doth procure
        To habit in, and it more fairely dight,
        With chearefull grace and amiable sight.
    For of the soule the bodie forme doth take:
    For soule is forme, and doth the bodie make.

        SPENCER: _An Hymne in honour of Beautie_.


Every lover desires a child. Those who imagine the contrary, and
maintain that love is purely selfish, know only of the lesser types
of love. The supreme love of true mates always carries with it the
yearning to perpetuate the exquisite quality of its own being, and to
record, through the glory of its mutual creation, other lives yet more
beautiful and perfect.

Existence being such a difficult compromise between our dreams and the
material facts of the world, this desire may sometimes be thwarted by
factors outside itself; may even be so suppressed as to be invisible in
the conduct and unsuspected in the wishes of the lover. Yet the desire
to link their lives with the future is deeply woven into the love of
all sound and healthy people who love supremely.

It is commonly said that most women marry for children, and not out of
a personal love, and there is more truth in this saying than is good
for the race. To-day, alas, many women cannot find the perfect and
sensitive mate their hearts desire and they hope in _any_ marriage to
get children which will mitigate the consequent loneliness of their
lives. Sometimes they may, to some extent, succeed, but far less often
than they imagine, for that strange and still but little understood
force “heredity” steps in, and the son of the tolerated father may
grow infinitely more like his physical father than he is like the dear
delight his mother dreamed he might be.

Few girls have not pictured in day dreams the joy of holding in their
arms their own beautiful babies. No man of their acquaintance, however,
may seem fine enough to be their father. Until she has been crushed
by experience, or, unless she listens with absolute belief to the
depressing information of her elders, each girl believes that her own
intense desire for perfection will be the principal factor in creating
the beautiful babies of her dreams. Often it seems as though this power
were granted, for women sometimes bear lovely children by fathers in
whom one may seek in vain for any bodily grace or charm.

The century long working of economic laws based on physical force,
the remnants of which still affect us, has resulted in man generally
having the selective power and tending to choose for his wife the most
beautiful or charming woman that his means allow; hence hitherto on
the whole, the race has been bred from the better and more beautiful
women. This has undoubtedly tended to keep the standard of physical
form from sinking to the utter degradation which we see in the worst of
the slums, and in institutions where live the feeble-minded offspring
of inferior mothers who have wantonly borne children of fathers devoid
of any realization of what they were doing.

From these avenues of shame and misery, however, I must steer my line
of thought, for this book is written pre-eminently for the young, happy
and physically well-conditioned pair who mating beautifully on all the
planes of their existence, are living in married love.

Whether early in the days of their marriage or postponed for some
months or more out of regard for his wife’s body and beauty, the hour
will come when the young husband yearning above her, sees in his wife’s
eyes the reflection of the future, and when their mutual longing
springs up to initiate the chain of lives which shall repeat throughout
the ages the bodily, mental and spiritual beauties of each other, which
each holds so dear. Perhaps in lovers’ talk and exquisite whispers they
have spoken of this great deed on which they are embarking, and each
has voiced that intense yearning which filled them to see another “with
your eyes, your hair, your smile,” living and radiant. The lovers dream
that they will be repeated in others of their own creation, always
young, running through the ages which culminate in the golden glories
of the millenium.

The dream is so wonderful, the thought that it pictures in the mind so
full of vernal beauty, light and vigour that, were facts commensurate
with it, its result should spring all ready formed from between the
lips of those who breathed its possibilities like Minerva from the head
of Jove.

It seems incredible that such splendid dominant designs to fulfil God’s
purpose should be hindered, and made to bend and toil through the hard
material facts of the molecular structure of the world, and that it
is only many months afterwards that the first outward body is given
to this dream, and that then it is in a form not strong and dancing
in lightness and beauty but weak and helpless with many intensely
physical necessities which for months and years will require the utmost
fostering care or it will be destroyed by material effects, hostile
and too strong for it. Yet such is the limitation of our powers of
creation. And underneath the intense passion of love and all its rich
dreams of beauty is the slow building, chemically molecule by molecule,
biologically cell by cell, against obstacles the surmounting of which
seems a superhuman feat.

Lovers who are parents give to each other the supremest material gift
in the world, a material embodiment of celestial dreams which itself
has the further power of vital creation.

In this and all my work, I speak to the normal, healthy and loving in
an endeavour to help them to remain normal, healthy and loving, and
thus to perfect their lives. So in this book I do not intend to deal
with those whose marriages are mistaken ones, or with those who do
not know true love. I write for those who having made a love match
are passing together through the ensuing and surprising years, and
incidentally doing one of the greatest pieces of work which human
beings can do during their progress through this world, and that is
creating the next generation.

In nature, the consummation of the physical act of union between
lovers generally results in the conception of a new life. We share this
physical aspect of mating and the resulting parenthood with most of the
woodland creatures. How far many of the lowlier lives are conscious of
the future results of their mating unions is a problem in elementary
psychology beyond the realm of present knowledge. But that parenthood
is the natural result of their union is to-day known, one must suppose,
by almost all young couples who wed. I am still uncertain how far the
two are _conscious_ of this in the early days of their union, when
every circumstance encourages that supreme self-centredness of happy
youth. Much must depend on the age, and on the previous experience and
education of the two; much also on their relative natures. A profoundly
introspective and thoughtful man and woman are more liable than
others to be speedily aware of the many interwoven strands of their
joint lives, and to live consciously on several planes of existence
simultaneously.

The supreme act of physical union as I have shown in my book, _Married
Love_, consists fundamentally of three essential and widely differing
reactions, having effects in correspondingly different regions. There
is (_a_) the intimately personal effect on the internal secretions and
general vitality of the individual partaking of that sacrament; (_b_)
there is the social effect of the union of the two in a mutual act in
which they must so perfectly blend and harmonize; and (_c_) there is
the racial result which may lead to the procreation of a new life.

In the early days of the honeymoon, personal passion and the
concentrated delight of each in the mate is probably more than
sufficient in all its rich complexity to fill the consciousness of
the two who are thus united in a life-long comradeship to form that
highest unit, the pair. But as education and the conscious control of
our lives grow, the young pair who are so blissfully self-centred as
not to remember or not to be aware of the racial effects of their acts
are probably decreasing in numbers. Among the best of those who marry
to-day, the majority only enter upon parenthood or the possibility of
parenthood when they feel justified in so doing. The young man who
profoundly loves his wife and who considers the future benefit of
their child, protects her from accidental conception or from becoming
a mother at times when the strain upon her would be too great, or when
he is unable to give her and the coming child the necessary care and
support. That myriads of children are born without this consideration
on the part of their parents applies to the commonalty of mankind, but
not to the best.

Often to-day the betrothed young couple will speak openly and
beautifully of the children they hope to have, while others equally
full of the creative dream feel it too tender a subject to put into
words, and may marry without ever having given expression to the
possibility that they will generate through their love yet other
lovers.



CHAPTER II

Conceived in Beauty

    ... Here in close recess
    With flowers, garlands and sweet smelling herbs,
    Espousèd Eve deck’d first her nuptial bed,
    And heav’nly choirs the Hymenæan sung,
    What day the genial angel to our sire
    Brought her in naked beauty more adorn’d,
    More lovely than Pandora, whom the Gods
    Endow’d with all their gifts....
    ... Into their inmost bower
    Handed they went; and, eased the putting off
    Those troublesome disguises which we wear,
    Straight side by side were laid; nor turn’d, I ween,
    Adam from his fair spouse; nor Eve the rites
    Mysterious of connubial love refused:

           *       *       *       *       *

    These, lull’d by nightingales, embracing slept,
    And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
    Shower’d roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on,
    Blest pair, and O! yet happiest if ye seek
    No happier state, and know to know no more.

    MILTON: _Paradise Lost_.


In ancient Sanskrit, there is a work dealing minutely with love and
with the different forms its expression takes in different types of
people. This has been modified, added to and re-written by many later
authors, and under various names works based on this are to be found in
Sanskrit and translated into various Indian dialects.

In these volumes much that is curious, and to Western nations, absurd,
is to be found, but also several profound observations which appear
to be based on truths generally ignored by us. One of the interesting
themes of these very early writers is a recognition and a description
of the characteristics of the best and most perfect type of woman, the
“Padmini.” In addition to describing fully her physical appearance and
characteristics, it is observed that she being a child of light and
not of darkness, prefers the supreme act of love to take place in the
daylight rather than the dark.

In this country, owing to our artificial, over-burdened and
over-strained lives, the physical union of lovers is almost always
confined to the night time. Crowded as we are in cities and suburban
districts, solitude in Nature is almost impossible; for most, seclusion
is only known in a closed room after dark. The Sanskrit writer of the
sixth century, however, takes love more seriously than we do, and he
describes how for the sacred union serious preparation of beauty should
be made--a room or natural arbour decked with flowers; and for the
supreme expression of love (that is the love between a pair each of
the highest and most perfect type), this should take place in the light
of day and not the darkness of the night. Even in our present degraded
civilization there are some who do realize the sacredness and the value
of the bodily embrace in the fresh beauty of nature and sunlight. There
must be many beautiful children who were conceived from unions which
took place under natural conditions of light and open air radiance. The
most spontaneous time for conception is the summer when our air is mild
and sweet enough for true love in Nature’s way.

In an empire where woodland or seaside solitude is not obtainable by
lovers for this their most sacred function, the distribution of the
population is gravely wrong. It will, however, probably for some time
to come be difficult for those who desire such a profound return to
natural rectitude, to obtain the necessary security of seclusion amid
beautiful surroundings. Therefore, alas, it will in all probability
long remain only possible to most lovers to ramble together in nature,
and then later to follow the usual course of uniting within their room.

We do not know enough about ourselves or the results of our actions,
under our present conditions, to realize to what extent the hour of
conception modifies the quality of the offspring. We only know that
the child of lovers beautiful in mind and body, the child ardently
desired by them, whose coming is prepared with every beauty which it is
in their power to obtain, is often well worth all the outlay of love
and thought. Certainly among those personally known to me who have
followed the rather exceptional course I indicate, the children are
remarkable for both physical beauty and exquisite vitality, balanced
with sweetness and strength of mental and spiritual qualities.

There is an old and in my opinion valuable view (although it has not
been “scientifically proved”) that the actual hour of conception, the
condition of the parents at the moment when the germs fuse is one of
vital consequences to the child-to-be. Scientific proof of this will
be, of course, extraordinarily difficult to discover, but indirectly
there do appear to be some actual data in favour of the converse,
namely that temporary unhealthy states of the parents result in the
conception of children so inferior as to be markedly and seriously
anti-social. Forel (_Sexual Question_, 1908) says:--

    The recent researches of Bezzola seem to prove that the old belief
    in the bad quality of children conceived during drunkenness is
    not without foundation. Relying on the Swiss census of 1900,
    in which there figure nine thousand idiots ... this author has
    proved that there are two acute annual maximum periods for the
    conception of idiots (calculated from nine months before birth)
    the periods of carnival and vintage, when the people drink most.
    In the wine-growing districts, the maximum conception of idiots at
    the time of vintage is enormous, while it is almost _nil_ at other
    periods.

It is, of course, not always possible to arrange the hour of the union
which will lead to conception. And further even when the hour of the
union is arranged, nature, to some extent, controls and may modify
conditions before conception. Sometimes the fertilization of the egg
cell by the sperm cell takes place in the hour of the bodily union of
the lovers, sometimes this inner process is delayed by hours or days
(see overleaf). Conception is possible in most women at almost any
time during the years of potential motherhood, yet there do appear to
be several factors which lead to the potential fertility of a woman
varying very much from time to time. Some women, for instance, appear
to be liable to conceive only for a certain number of days in each
month, and these are in general the two or three days immediately
following the monthly period and the day or two immediately before.
With other women, however, unions on any day of the month may lead to
conception, but this depends, possibly, not only on the woman herself
but on the vitality and probable length of life of the sperm cells of
her husband. This also varies very greatly in individuals. The longest
time which the individual sperm has been observed to remain vital after
entry into the woman is seventeen days (see Bossi, _N. Arch. d’Obstetr.
Gynocol._, April 1891).

Hence it will be realized that a union arranged to take place under
ideal and perfect conditions, perhaps on a holiday into wild and
inspiring solitudes, may result as desired in the entry of the sperm
into the womb of the woman, and yet the actual fusion of the sperm and
egg cell, and the consequent conception may not come to pass until some
days later.

Strange it is indeed in this world, in which so much scientific and
laborious observation has been devoted to all sorts of irrelevant and
trivial subjects, that knowledge of the actual processes of our own
fertilization and conception and of the extent of the significance to
the future generations of the mode and condition of the union of the
parents are almost totally unknown to scientists or doctors, and are
disregarded by the majority of the public.

A recent memoir in the French Academy of Science[1] dealing with
statistical figures (going back in France, at any rate, so far as 1853)
proves that there does seem to be a definite seasonal influence on
the power of conception. Taking the births for the whole year, it is
found they are not equally divided throughout the months, but that a
notable maximum of births is found in February and March for most of
the countries in the northern hemisphere, the actual maximum of births
being from the 15th February to the 15th March, and thus indicating
that the maximum of conceptions took place between the 5th May and the
5th June. Richet quotes Bertillon as having established the fact that
this maximum of conceptions does not depend on the chance that brides
like to be married in the spring, because an identical maximum is found
in the illegitimate birthrate. Richet gives many tables of figures,
and maintains that the maximum corresponds both in the town and in the
country, among the rich and the poor, and among the married and the
unmarried, and is, therefore, in his opinion, an actual physiological
function:--

[1] Charles Richet, “De la Variation mensuelle de la Natalité,” 1916,
Comptes rendus Acad. Sciences, Paris, pp. 141-149 and 161-166.

    C’est que les conditions physiologiques de la maturation de l’ovule
    et de sa fécondation ne sont pas également favorables dans toutes
    les periodes de l’année. Par suite d’une ancestrale prédisposition,
    au moment du printemps, chez la femme, comme chez la plupart des
    animaux, mais moins nettement que chez eux, la maturation, la chute
    et la fécondation de l’ovule se font dans des conditions meilleures
    et plus assurées.

The corresponding maximum for the southern hemisphere arises between
August and October. This natural tendency to produce children
according to the season is, to some extent, altered by the conscious
and deliberate control of parenthood, which all the more highly
civilized countries now find that their better citizens are exerting.

This natural time for conception will, however, tend not to be thwarted
by those who are consciously regulating their lives, because from
almost every point of view, the summer is the best time in which to
experience the joys of love. As the verdant spring is the best time for
a baby to be born, the thoughtful mother-to-be will try, other things
being equal, to arrange that its birth should take place then, both for
her own sake and for that of the child. The weeks of recovery after the
strain of the birth are more easily and happily spent lying in the warm
sunshine of a spring or summer garden than in the chill of the winter
months, and even the actual expense of the birth is reduced when it
takes place in the warmth of the spring or early summer when fires and
the labour they involve will be saved.

The child too has warm air to surround it on its first introduction to
the outer world after its long period of warmth and protection within
its mother, and when in a month or two it is able to kick about on the
grass, it benefits directly from the rays of the sun and also from the
sun-warmed earth.

Various notable men and women, and, in particular, the famous Dr. Trall
of America, have held that the actual hour of conception is the one of
fate, and that the moods, feelings and conditions of the parents in
that hour work more vital magic then than they can do in any succeeding
days or weeks. Instinctively, one would like to feel that this is so.
Indeed it will take much to _disprove_ it, although it is a theme which
it is at present impossible to prove, and it must remain always only a
personal bias, until thousands of people who view marriage aright will
consciously observe and record many things and contribute them to some
thinker who will tabulate, correlate and understand them.

Whether the hour of conception affects the child directly or not, the
memory of an ardent and wonderful experience in which the pair of
lovers consciously surround themselves with beautiful conditions, and
deliberately place themselves through their love at the service of
God and humanity in the creation of the next generation, must give a
vitalizing and joyous memory to both throughout all their lives. This
memory being especially connected with the dear child of that union
must, therefore, have in this indirect way at any rate a positive
racial value.



CHAPTER III

The Gateway of Pain

    As when desire, long darkling, dawns, and firs
    The mother looks upon the newborn child,
    Even so my Lady stood at gaze and smiled
    When her soul knew at length the Love it nurs’d.
    Born with her life, creature of poignant thirst
    And exquisite hunger, at her heart Love lay
    Quickening in darkness, till a voice that day
    Cried on him, and the bonds of birth were burst.

    D. G. ROSSETTI.


The price of every beauty in this world is in proportion to its
quality, even although the payment of the price exacted may be long
deferred or may be made in such an intricate and remote form that its
connection with the result is overlooked.

As the greatest thing which lovers can give each other is a child,
and as none in the world are so great as lovers, the price exacted by
Nature for the child of loving and sensitive people is correspondingly
heavy.

This statement may apparently conflict with the idea that the joy of
bearing a child to the beloved is a woman’s consummation of happiness;
yet it does not conflict, because of the deeper truth that the
supremest happiness is mysteriously intermingled with self-sacrifice.
A young woman whose character is sufficiently beautiful and sensitive
to know the highest joys of motherhood--the full delights of human
existence and love--will also be sensitive to the varied pains which
motherhood will bring. Indeed, in this respect, the poet’s saying that
“the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers is always the first to
be pricked by the thorn” is essentially true.

The radiance of the highest form of motherhood is that of the
transfigured saint, hallowed by suffering comprehended and endured,
transmuted into a service beyond and above the lower desires of self.

For long, indeed for the many millions of years during which she has
shown a motherhood comparable with that of human beings,[2] Nature has
essentially trapped and tricked the mother into her motherhood. All
the woodland and jungle creatures, the deer or the tiger, the rabbit
or the squirrel, grow up through their brief adolescence into a
partial consciousness of delight in themselves and reach the phase of
their development in which their own desires urge them to unite with
each other. One can scarcely believe that they are conscious of the
resulting parenthood which will become a physical fact at a later date,
although the training of her cubs by a woodland mother undoubtedly
does include handing on, through some speechless communication, of
some actual instruction. A similar blind parenthood, but in addition
_coerced_, has for many thousands of years been characteristic of a
large portion of the human race. Even to-day motherhood is too often
blind: the young girl delighting in herself and the fairness of her own
body, conscious of the power she wields in social life as a beautiful
and attractive creature whom older people pet and please and young men
place upon a pedestal, is urged by this natural self-centred delight
into accepting through flattery the enjoyment of herself by some chosen
mate; and the later consequences of motherhood are then faced either in
amazed astonishment or in open revolt.

[2] By this I mean the motherhood which carries and protects the
developed young within the mother’s body, unlike that of the lower
animals, such as fishes, which leave the eggs to their fate.

Earlier civilizations often dealt with the excessive births resulting
from blind or coerced parenthood by destroying the children as infants
after birth. This was done directly, and often by her leading citizens,
in Greece (one of the highest forms of civilization ever attained) and
_still_ infanticide direct or indirect goes on among all the populous
races of the world. Where the value placed on the mother’s mental and
physical suffering is low, one may still see motherhood, not as a fine,
voluntary and glorious act of self-sacrifice from the highest possible
motives of love and service directly to the beloved, and indirectly to
the race, but as the exploitation of a trapped and helpless sacrifice.

Mothers will say that their babies are their greatest joys; one may
ask, therefore, how I can use the word “sacrifice” in connection with
motherhood. The use of the word is just, and based on truths too
generally concealed by those who know them, and far too generally
unknown by those who ought to know them. Ignorance of their extent has
made men callous, indifferent or ribald towards the profound sacrifices
of motherhood.

Few there be, however, who do not know of the agonizing torments of
actual birth. The Bible is read aloud in churches, and in its wording
there is some recognition of the existence of this agony, although
based upon earlier and simpler civilizations in which the women were
probably better cared for and better fitted for motherhood than the
majority of women are to-day. Following biblical tradition, the memory
of the agony of birth is generally portrayed as being wiped out by
the supreme joy in the child which follows. To-day, however, this
effacement of the anguish is by no means universal, and the abiding
horror of the birth is so great that not a few women refuse to bear
another child. Then men, who cannot even imagine the experience of
child-bearing, denounce such a mother, rate her and hold her up to
derision. How little do they realize that in her they may see Nature’s
working of the laws of evolution (see p. 24).

The torturing agony of birth might so easily have been averted by
Nature had the construction of our bodies differed but very slightly
from those which we to-day possess in common with most of the higher
animals. The human baby when the hour comes for it to sever its
connection from its mother, and as an independent individual to venture
into the open air of the world, has to make its way through the arched
gateway of bone fixed and set by the mother’s own requirements as a
frame to her own structure. The encircling archway of bone through
which the infant has to pass is but three or four inches in diameter.
It would have been possible had our evolution taken a different
turn for the infant to have made its exit through the soft wall of
the mother’s body instead of through this fixed and hardened circle
of her bone. But for some causes too remote for us at present to
discover this was not so, and the essential fact faces us to-day
that every infant born naturally must be born through this circle of
bone. Moreover if the infant is a well-developed and healthy one,
as the ordinary baby of a healthy and beautiful young couple should
naturally and rightly be, that infant’s head is larger in diameter than
the circle of bone through which it has to pass. Its tissues have,
therefore, to be squeezed and pressed to mould their shape in order to
allow its exit through the orifice, and this must be a slow process,
and one which almost always entails great pressure and consequent agony
to the mother. Dr. Mary Scharlieb says in _The Welfare of the Expectant
Mother_:--

    It is, however, scarcely possible that either the public or the
    profession realizes that one woman dies in child birth for every
    250 children born alive. In addition to this we have to remember
    that the same accidents and diseases which kill the mothers and the
    babies inevitably cause a still heavier percentage of crippling and
    invaliding (p. 43).

Twenty-five per cent. and more of the babies conceived and borne die
before they reach normal birth. Often they find the journey through
the bony archway into the outer world so difficult and arduous a task
that they perish in the process of birth, although probably had they
been born by Cesarean section, they would have survived and grown into
healthy children.

We do not consider what the infant itself in birth may be enduring.
The infant is “unconscious,” that is to say it carries no memory of
these earlier months in its conscious memory as it grows up, but the
excessive moulding, particularly of its head, which often has to take
place and sometimes takes weeks to right itself, must, one thinks,
greatly disturb the little brain, and in my opinion may have a lifelong
effect.

I have never heard this aspect of our present problem duly considered.
The fact that the increasing brain capacity of civilized man tends ever
to give the new born infant a larger head, and tends proportionately
to increase the size of the head out of relation to the size of the
circle of its mother’s bone, has been commented on, and appears to some
far seeing thinkers as the possible cause of the ultimate extinction
of the human race. Because if we go on developing in the way we are at
present doing, ever depending more and more on our brains, and the head
of the new born infant tends to increase with the natural development
of the brain, the day will come when the birth of a child is absolutely
blocked by the relative diameter of its head and of its mother’s pelvic
bones. If the higher races maintain a dominant place in the world, the
day may come when with nearly all women such an incompatible relation
will arise. Of what avail then would be the ratings and peevish fury
of callous men? What scheme the race may have devised before that date
to relieve this cruel deadlock we cannot here discuss. The perfecting
of the method of birth by Cesarean section offers much promise. It may
become a racial necessity. This possibility, on which to-day we are
beginning to impinge, indicates one great cause of the torturing agony
of the actual hours of birth which the young mother and father-to-be
may have to face before they can see the child of their love.

Fortunate women are even still so constructed that the circle of bone
has a relatively large orifice which allows the infant comparatively
easily to pass through it, and the difficulty and danger of birth for
them is minimized. With them the birth pangs may be so trivial in
comparison with the result, that they are truly “almost negligible” as
most men would like to believe of most women.

Such women, when outward circumstances allow it, are those whom every
impulse should encourage to be the mothers of the large families, which
are, under proper conditions, still desirable for a portion of our
people.

Such a woman as the one who wrote me the following letter is indeed the
standard which all women and would-be mothers would gladly reach were
it possible in any degree to control the formation of a growing girl’s
body so that as a woman she might retain such a primitive adaptation to
motherhood:--

    On the exact right day the babe arrived ... in a quarter of an hour
    he was there, without nurse, doctor or any one and with no pain to
    myself. This little party has grown into a splendid specimen, very
    large (he was 8-1/2 lbs. at birth) and firm and muscular. He is the
    whole day long laughing and kicking or sleeping.

Such women, however, so far as records go, are few. Much might be done
by science to discover what are the causes of the reverse condition,
and if possible to attempt to eliminate them.

In view of the agony which myriads of women throughout the ages of
civilization have endured, it seems strange indeed that no effort
should apparently have been made by the learned to understand the
causes which control the individual formation of the growing structure,
with a view possibly to securing some such development. In recent
years, however, a little has been done in the recognition of the
causes of the converse, that is to say the excessive narrowing of the
pelvis to the degree where child birth is not only torment but a life
and death agony. And it is now well known that this condition is
associated with malnutrition and rickets in infancy and early girlhood.

The little baby girl who has rickety bones (which result from being
improperly fed as an infant) is, in extreme cases certain, and in
many cases very likely, to have such contracted pelvic bones that
when her turn comes for motherhood, the birth of a living child may
be impossible by the ordinary processes of Nature. Here again, as so
often is inevitable, in the course of any consideration of the profound
truths of mated existence, we impinge upon the treatment of the unsound
and the diseased. This _under_ development of the mother’s pelvic bones
is a different problem from that evolutionary one touched on in the
paragraphs above.

Alas, that it should be true that the great majority of city dwellers
come into the category of the spoilt and the tainted in some respect or
another. But with the vision of true health and beauty as a standard
before our eyes, many might escape the incipient weaknesses by
consciously pursuing a standard of health, beauty and normality. It is
this standard, this ideal picture, which may yet be reproduced in the
lives of millions, which I desire to present in this book, so that in
telling young married people some of the great facts which are ahead of
them I will present only those difficulties which are inevitable, and
leave to others the handling of disease. As things are to-day among
British stock,[3] it is the very exceptional women who find birth an
entirely easy process of which the pain is trivial, and this is chiefly
due to the bony structure fixed and limited in size, which stands as
a gateway of pain between the infant and the outer world, between the
young wife and her motherhood.

[3] In this, and in most of the generalisations found in this book,
I am speaking of things as they are in Great Britain. While to a
considerable extent the same is true of America and the Scandinavian
countries, it must be remembered all through that I am speaking of the
British, and primarily of our educated classes.

Before the hour of birth is reached, however, the young mother-to-be,
if she is neither instructed nor helped by the wisdom of her elders,
may have already endured much that it will distress and dismay her
lover and husband to observe, and much more which she, being a woman,
will endure without allowing him to perceive, although she may be so
frightened that it may be hard indeed for her not to cry out in her
bewildered pain. How much of this distress and pain is essentially
“natural,” how much is the artificial result of our mode of living and
our ignorance of Nature’s laws? What are the things which a healthy,
finely-built young woman mated to a healthy young man must endure,
those experiences which she _cannot_ escape and those which she may
with proper help avoid altogether or in part? It is the object of
several chapters in this book to answer these questions more truthfully
and I hope more helpfully than they have yet been answered. The things
I deal with specially, because they will face nearly every _healthy_
girl, are in most books ignored.

My chapters may appear superfluous to those who view the long list
of books purporting to give advice to the young wife and expectant
mother on how to treat herself and the coming child. I have read the
majority of those books, and I write this one because of their failure
to touch on the profoundest essentials in a way which will truly help
the healthy and sensitive type of young people. The healthy, normal
and happy in my mind’s vision are the standard of the race: those who
to-day to some extent foreshadow the strength and beauty of bodily and
mental equipment which will become a commonplace when all have risen
to their standard, and it is for them that I feel it imperative to add
this one more book to the long list of books advising the young mother.
With the young mother I also consider and try to help the young father
who has been so strangely neglected and ignored and who also needs help.

The majority of the writers on cognate subjects, like the majority
of the minds of those who are concerned at all with the problems of
the young mother, really though perhaps unconsciously present studies
in disease, pictures of aberrations from the normal, accounts or
innuendos dealing with illness and handicaps, with abnormal conditions
which should never arise, and the knowledge of which should not be
brought before the sensitive mind as if they were a usual and general
thing. The acquiescence in a low standard of health, the discussion
of diseased conditions as though they were normal, or even as though
they were unavoidable, are intensive in their result and harmful to all
who come under their influence. The race sickens ever more and more
profoundly because of such influences.

We have to-day in our community a new conception in the Government
Department of the Ministry of Health, but alas, that Ministry is
engrossed in the contemplation of disease. In the present state of
our civilization this is perhaps unavoidable, because there are not
enough people in the country of standing and experience in scientific
research who have concerned themselves with the problems of the
healthy and beautiful, and with the needs and requirements in the way
of instruction and outward conditions and environment of those who by
nature are healthy and normal, and who desire to remain healthy and
normal. Even these need instruction to compensate for that which Nature
cannot give to those who toil apart from her bosom in the cities, where
they cannot hear her voice for the roaring of the traffic. This is the
piteous plight of the majority of our citizens to-day, for so many live
in towns.

Alas, that there are physical facts which all must face of a type
which makes one feel that Nature is cruel in her treatment of us. When
two young, beautiful and ardently happy beings are embarking upon the
greatest work for the community which they can do, with a desire to
create further beautiful and happy lives, it seems indeed an ironic and
wanton mistake that there should be distressing physical experiences
for both of them to endure. But “As gold is tried by the fire, so the
heart is tried by pain,” and if they are given a conscious knowledge of
what they must face and what they may avoid, there will then be a firm
foundation and a triumphant consummation to the visions and ideals of
splendour and perfection which they can secure unimpaired through the
trials which they conquer.



CHAPTER IV

The Young Mother-to-be:

Her Amazements

    But lo! what wedded souls now hand in hand
    Together tread at last the immortal strand
      With eyes where burning memory lights love home?
    Lo! how the little outcast hour has turned
    And leaped to them and in their faces yearned--
      “I am your child: O parents, ye have come.”

        ROSSETTI: _The House of Life_.


The intermingling of the physical, the mental and the spiritual is so
subtle, intricate and inexplicable that, in describing the states of
the bride who is about to be a mother, it is difficult to know with
which first to deal.

In an Appendix, p. 229, I put in compact form one or two of the obvious
physical phenomena with which it may be necessary for the bride and
bridegroom to acquaint themselves. Although generally known to their
elders, my many correspondents have shown me that even such simple and
direct facts are often unknown to young people, who are frequently so
shy that they do not like to consult a medical practitioner or an older
friend. Assuming then that the simple physical facts are known, there
still remain innumerable subtleties which may cause heart searching,
perhaps to both bride and bridegroom.

It is almost as though the bearing of a child were a function so
primitive in its origin that it tends, to some extent, to dissociate
the ordinary coherence of the mother’s life, and to result in a
weakening of the sub-conscious control over her emotions to which she
had all her life grown accustomed. Thus she enters upon a complex state
in which primitive instincts and feelings may be at variance with the
conscious thoughts and aspirations of highly civilized and sensitive
humanity.

This complexity of her instincts and her conscious feelings may lead
the young wife to find an apparently inexplicable conflict in her
attitude towards her husband. Consciously she desires ardently, with
all that is best in her nature, to bear the child of their love. She
adores her husband and is full of tender emotions towards him as the
coming father, and experiences a form of gratitude that he should be
the means of fulfilling her dreams; but possibly, at the same time,
she may be amazed to find in herself an intense and active antagonism
to his personal presence, an antagonism which she has to fight against
revealing. She may realize that it is utterly at variance with her real
feelings, and she may know that it would be the acme of cruelty to
allow him to become aware of it, particularly when he is full of deep
concern and love for her, and is doing all that a loving consideration
can do for her happiness and welfare.

Such a complex diversity of mental states existing perhaps
co-incidently at the same hour in the mind of a girl may, if acute,
lead to an outwardly recognizable form of hysteria and even to an
unbalanced mind. Of such, however, I am not speaking, but am now
describing the outwardly controllable, but nevertheless inwardly felt
effervescing conflict of instinctive emotions, which is far more
frequent than is generally recognized, and which the best balanced and
most loving women are amazed to experience in themselves.

From women whom I know to be exceptionally happy wives and mothers, I
have evidence on this theme. With, of course, personal variations, they
tell me that they have never confided this bewildering experience to
their husbands, their doctors or their relatives, but, in essence, they
say what is said in the following words by one of my correspondents:--

In the first few months of coming motherhood she had a feeling of
antagonism so strong “that it amounted to actual dislike of my
husband’s presence, and a desire to be right away from him. This
distressed me very much at first as I thought I must be losing my love
for my husband, and could not understand such a sudden reversal of
feeling as I loved him very deeply.... At the end of the first three
months, I found that my feeling of love returned in full strength, and
with it a feeling of intense devotion and tenderness towards my husband
as the father of my coming child.”

Some such experience, generally and fortunately limited to
comparatively short though different periods, is not infrequently felt
and is often a source of secret distress and anguish to the young
wife whose sense of loyalty to the man she loves and married bars her
from the relief of talking of these feelings. As is now beginning
to be realized, emotions deeply experienced which are deliberately
suppressed, may have far reaching effects even on the health. It is,
therefore, well that she should know what is, I am sure, the truth,
that this physical repugnance, which sometimes even amounts to a
detestation of sharing the same house with the husband, and a desire to
escape even from the superficial contact of eating in the same room
with him, is a temporary phase, possibly phylogenetic[4] in its origin.

[4] That is to say, repeating the history of our very early ancestors,
where the female probably felt some resentment towards the male who had
encompassed her maternity, and who most certainly would live apart from
her and not in the ordinary contact of a united life.

This passing phase, whether it lasts a few days or months, is neither
necessary nor absolutely universal, but so far as I can ascertain it
appears to be a common occurrence in the lives of the more sensitive
and tenderly loving of wives. Where the coming child has not been
desired by both parents, and where the mother resents her coming
maternity, there is, of course, a totally different problem for
which there is a very obvious reason. I am speaking now only of the
mother-to-be who deeply desires her child, who is physically healthy
and well formed, living under comfortable, protected and happy
conditions, and who ardently loves and is loved by her husband; it is
she who may and most frequently does feel this passing phase of intense
physical antagonism. That she loves, and consciously loves, gives her
an outward control so that this under-current of inherent antagonism is
not allowed to show, and is gallantly concealed from the whole world.
She would feel it an intense disloyalty to speak of it to any living
soul, but it is there and it is so often a source of distress and
strain upon the nervous system that it should be openly faced instead
of being as it now is a repressed feeling. This repression tends to
result in one of the greatest difficulties of the _healthy_ woman who
is carrying a child, namely sleeplessness. The complex balance of her
nervous control is strained by her surprise at herself, and perhaps by
her self-reproaches, and thus she has an unnecessary burden in addition
to the one of the coming child. This phase, therefore, is not a fact
to be ignored or treated too lightly, and while it lasts it should be
respected so far as is compatible with the circumstances of the two and
with due regard for the mother. It is not a thing either to fear or
to be ashamed of. It is perhaps best openly faced as a fact of rather
curious interest as an ancient survival in oneself of racial history.
If possible it should form the object of innocently playful laughter
between the girl and her husband; this would do much to prevent its
suppression taking a serious root.

Aware of the existence of this phase and its probable meaning and
treating it in this simple sensible way, neither the young mother nor
the father-to-be need fear this brief physical antagonism. Where its
danger lies, however, is in the possibility that unrecognized, it will,
with those who live a shade less perfectly, result in the beginning
of a habit of irritation, and perhaps in the setting up of some form
of verbal bickering on the part of those who cannot lead as secluded
and separate lives as would be possible in a spacious country or in a
large establishment. When once the pair have broken the sweet custom
of speaking only in love to each other, then, even after the temporary
phase of antagonism has passed, they may find themselves with a habit
of verbal bickering which is intensely corrosive, ultimately perhaps
more than any other thing tending to destroy the outward beauty of a
mutual life.

There is another and reverse aspect of the mental phases through which
a young mother-to-be may pass, in which she has an intense and added
passion for her husband, and, as this leads to a subject of great
importance, and a subject which has never been adequately handled, I
will defer its consideration to Chapter XII.



CHAPTER V

The Young Mother-to-be:

Her Delights

    The sweet, soft freshness that blooms on baby’s limbs--does anybody
    know where it was hidden so long? Yes, when the mother was a young
    girl it lay pervading her heart in tender and silent mystery of
    love--the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed on baby’s limbs.

        TAGORE: _Gitanjali_.


In a happy and desired motherhood, every hour of the day and night may
bring its intense delight, both in the dreams of contemplation, wherein
the experience of love sinks deep into the heart, and of the linking up
of the present with the future. All natural functions rightly performed
give a deep satisfaction and content, but this, the greatest function
of all, now so specialized and intimately interwoven with every highest
racial impulse and every dearest personal desire of the loving pair,
yields a wealth and profundity of experience surpassing all else.

In my opinion, undoubtedly the ideal way of spending the earlier months
of coming parenthood is in the form of an extended honeymoon, in which
the couple travelling slowly should follow the guide of seasonal
beauty or should visit place after place of historic interest or
natural charm so that the mother’s mind should be fed and stimulated
by historic memories, by the exquisite freshness of nature, and the
grandeur of man’s artistic achievements. This, of course, would not be
possible in its fullest extent to many, until, in the future, society
recognizes the supreme importance to the race of the expectant mother.
Some such course, however, might be possible to a larger number than
it is at present were they to realize not only their personal good but
the racial benefit of this procedure. In our country, owing to our
artificial and unclean attitude, the mother-to-be, particularly during
the later months, stays at home so far as possible, and does not go
from place to place. When going about entails battling with crowds on
public conveyances, this is wise. But the easy effort of walking or of
riding in the old fashioned horse carriage from place to place on an
extended journey, is ideal, and sometimes appears to have beneficial
reactions on the character and quality of the child that is coming.
But, even if such a mode of life is impossible, yet the mother by
reading and conversation can, if she has a mind of trained imagination,
vary and enrich the mental environment of her child while it is
developing.

Then, too, the mother-to-be can count among her delights all the
intimate personal enjoyment of the little physical things which
contribute to the great anticipations of the future. She can, if she
has the skill herself, sew the little clothes, stitching into them
sunny thoughts and beautiful hopes, making them links between the
present delightful _solitude à deux_ and another beautiful time which
the little one who is coming cannot comprehend till, many years hence,
he or she will experience its charm in turn.

Little things intensely loved undoubtedly bring a greater reward in
human happiness than great and numerous possessions, the joy of which
can be but partly grasped. Within a tiny home, a mother whose heart
vibrates with love can find a thousand sources wherewith to enrich the
coming life.

But of all her delights, the greatest must always be the thought of the
wonderful gift, which, at some ever nearing date, she will be able to
give to the man whom she adores. Some men are negligent of the charms
and enravishments of children, but I think in every man who fully loves
and is fully loved by his wife, the thought of the child of them both
must always be a stimulant to everything most ardently beautiful and
profound in their natures.

Pictures of the child in after life filling brightly and beautifully
some big position in the world may flit past the mother’s mind during
this time, but, if the mother is wise, she will not too intimately
visualize the outward form of her child as a maturing girl or boy. By
so doing she may indirectly wrong it. (See Chapter XIV).

Her delight should be to picture a tiny laughing messenger from God,
thinly veiled so that its sex is hidden; the figure of a child a few
years old, still full of divine innocence and radiant possibilities.
Happy hours of bodily rest may be spent picturing it in a thousand
beautiful actions dancing in the sunlight, a contagious centre of joy
in the whole world around them. On such an idea of delight she may
lavish every day invigorating thoughts and wonderful dreams; none
will be wasted, of that she may be assured. If, at the same time, she
is securing the coming child’s bodily well-being through the proper
material channels, then she can feel that these dreams of higher than
material beauty are being built into reality. The secret sacred wonder
of the process of which she is the active centre casts its spell of
magic and delight around the willing mother. “A Garden enclosed is my
Beloved,” and she feels within her own existence the mystic sense of
divine beauty, which one feels in another form in a walled garden in
the summer twilight.



CHAPTER VI

The Young Mother-to-be:

Her Distresses

    The amount of suffering that has been and is borne by women is
    utterly beyond imagination.

    HERBERT SPENCER: _Principles of Ethics_, II.


The bodily changes which at first almost imperceptibly steal upon the
mother, if she be a girl who has enjoyed her own physical beauty,
and has taken that care of herself which so delightful a thing as a
young woman’s body merits, will be at first a series of amazements and
perhaps of delights as her body rounds itself and becomes more perfect.
At this time the husband should fill his memory with her exquisiteness,
for though she will, in the end, return perhaps to her normal strength
and a re-awakened and different beauty, she will never again in her
life reach such a point of bodily perfection as she does during the
first three months or so of her coming motherhood, culminating at about
the close of the third month.

As the years pass, hallowed and sanctified by love which is understood,
even when grey with age, her face may gain an ever increasing beauty
and power, but the perfection of her body is reached in the early days
when she is first about to become a mother.

To one who cares for the outward form of her body, changes will occur
inevitably as the months pass, which may give rise to deep distresses,
principally because they feel at the time so permanent and it is
difficult to believe that the disfigurements will ever pass. For a
time she must inevitably become less and less beautiful; she may
indeed become, even to herself, repugnant. Perhaps to her as to so
many thousands of women the sight of themselves then is a torment, and
the conquest of this feeling is a great and increasingly difficult
mental exercise. As this time approaches and is upon her, the young
mother-to-be must concentrate all her conscious thought on the beauty
of the future. She must forget the present and its cruel distortions
and live in the months and years that are to come when she will have
with her another life and lovely form to which she has given origin.

Nothing is at present gained for our civilization by the obstinate
blindness on the part of some, and the wilful deception on the part of
others, which together encourage the concealment from the bride of
what she has to face.

On the one hand stand these prudes, but on the other the too eager
and explicit, even lewd and profane and soiled minds who delight in
lugubrious warnings.

The result has been that many a woman enters upon her motherhood gaily
and eagerly, totally unprepared for what is to follow, totally unaware
that, by the first act of motherhood, she gives up something essential
to herself and something which is irreplacable in all the after years.
So great a gift should be made not only voluntarily, but consciously,
and with full knowledge of what it entails.

Cruel indeed is the callous hardness of the older mind that can see
without desiring to help the proud and sensitive young spirit embarking
upon a course which cannot but entail subtle difficulties at the best
and extreme physical anguish at the worst, yet help of the kind the
modern sensitive girl needs is almost unobtainable. Rare indeed is the
mother of the last generation who has the power and the knowledge to
meet the unvoiced demands of this.

Acquainted as I am with all sorts and conditions of men and women, I
am nevertheless frequently amazed and filled with burning indignation
at the well-nigh inhuman cruelty, stupidity and hypocrisy of the older
generation towards young potential parents. It is not an uncommon
thing to hear a man who is unfaithful to his wife because she has lost
her physical beauty, at the same time haranguing the public on the
compulsory duties of parenthood on the part of all young married women,
and coupling his denunciations with sneers at the young girl who fears
to embark on motherhood, reviling her as selfish. Yet the cause of her
shrinking may be that from all the weltering confusion of contradictory
and scrappy information which may have been allowed to reach her, the
one which has fixed itself in her mind most vividly, is that which
promised her loss of her bodily charm and that of all she possesses
which is most valuable to her as a bond which binds her husband’s
affection to her. The woman who is perfectly sure of the continuance of
her husband’s spiritual and romantic love does not fear the risks of
motherhood. All who truly and deeply love, desire parenthood. But can a
woman who was married by a shallow man only for her beauty dare to risk
the thing which holds him to her?

There is indeed a diabolical malignity in the older man who is himself
unfaithful because of the very things in his wife which he denounces
the younger girl for fearing.

This must not be misunderstood by my readers as indicating that I think
a woman should shrink in any way or that her husband should grudge the
sacrifice of all the fragrance and beauty which they possess towards
making the child of their love the citizen of the future. But with
fervent intensity, I feel that to keep the young woman ignorant of
facts, and, at the same time, on the one hand to upbraid and bully her
and on the other to terrorize her with evil minded tales and tragic
sights, is conduct which would be laughable in its absurdity did it not
touch the spring of tears.

As the months of expectant motherhood succeed one another the girl
will find her power to walk and run, to keep up with her husband in
his pleasure, his out-door exertions, or even to do the usual standing
involved in the course of her house work, increasingly curtailed. This
is perhaps the inevitable consequence of the burden of actual weight
which results from the later growth of the child within her as it
increases and approaches the size of a living baby.

Sometimes the fortunate mother finds that she is still capable of the
same amount of exertion to which she is generally accustomed, but,
under modern conditions, this is but seldom. The stories of Kaffir
women on the trek who bear their children and follow on with the
rest, and savages whose activity is in no way curtailed, are neither
applicable to modern conditions, nor are they fair standards to set,
because such women do not live as the modern woman is forced to, nor
is their bodily organization really comparable with that of our highly
sensitive brain-evolved race.

Nevertheless, with the exception of heavy exertion, the girl who is
carrying her child should be able to indulge in a much greater amount
of healthful exercise, without undue fatigue, than she is generally
able to enjoy. (See also Chapter X).

Most women have heard rumours of others who have been able to follow
out almost all their usual occupations, and have felt little or
no handicap from child bearing. Such an exceptional woman is my
correspondent who wrote:--

    I lived exactly as usual; I played golf up to the middle of the
    seventh month and bicycled up to my very last. On the afternoon
    of the day my second child was born (weighing 8-3/4 lb.) I was
    shopping with a woman acquaintance, who had no idea there was
    anything on the way.

Such women, although not very many, do exist among us. Their existence
is perhaps the source of the hope which always animates every girl
first embarking on her parenthood that she, by the sheer force of the
longing for health which is within her, will prove also to be such
an exception. Sometimes this desire may be apparently fulfilled,
but generally, unless it is coupled with much greater knowledge
than most girls possess, as the months pass one by one, her proud
spirit will bend, she will give up and give up and give up. Humbled,
weakened, humiliated before herself, through the fact that she is not
strong enough to fight what she now is inclined acquiescently to call
“Nature,” she too goes down the stream with all the myriads of other
happy hearted girls, whose gallant endeavours have equally failed. Then
she creeps, wearily resting by the way, where she had hoped to tread
with a firm and lightsome step.

There grows in her mind, and this is stronger the more she loves her
husband, the added distress that she feels that she is failing him.
He married a mate, an equal, who lighter of step could yet cover the
ground as well as he, and who could share his amusements, his work to
some extent perhaps, and his pleasures. She feels that she must, so
far as she possibly can, maintain this position. This hope impels her
particularly if they have been married but a short time, and hence
their days of delightful untramelled companionship have been so few.

In this unselfish distress, which is primarily for him, she is tempted
to conceal her effort and tends to overstrain herself in an endeavour
to act as completely as she can the part, as reported, of the early
Greek or Roman matron or of the proud and savage mother who could
bear her children as lightly as a woodland creature. Finding sooner or
later that she _cannot_ do so, she suddenly gives in. Her strength,
undermined by the series of distresses, the subtle shocks and blows to
which she is secretly subjected, she yields and takes on that air of
semi-invalidism, demanding constant care and consideration from her
husband and those about her, which in a way represents the hauling down
of her gallant flag. Her dreams of an easy motherhood are vanquished.

She will at times be dimly conscious that she is no longer able to feel
so acutely. This, in a way perhaps, is Nature’s provision against the
too intense experiencing of emotion, which would otherwise come with
sensitive motherhood. The sensation can be described, as one woman put
it, as though each one of her powers of feeling were wrapped round in
cotton wool, deadened and clogged so that they no longer gave contact.
This may be well, but it adds in a dim way to the various distresses,
a sense of unreality and apartness, which, if it coincides with that
temporary antipathy to her husband, which was noted on page 33, may
make the mother-to-be, for the time at any rate, indeed a wanderer in
the valley of the shadow.



CHAPTER VII

The Young Father-to-be:

His Amazements

    Till from some wonder of new woods and streams
    He woke, and wondered more; for there she lay.

    D. G. ROSSETTI.


The young father-to-be, though a real and very important person, has
been curiously neglected by all and sundry who concern themselves with
the affairs of the “expectant mother,” “child welfare,” and the other
social and semi-eugenic matters about which well-meaning people have so
voluminously written and so sedulously talked.

Sometimes jesting reference is made to the rather strange fact that,
in some savage races, it is the father and not the mother who lies in
bed for weeks after the birth of the child, but of the material and
very real psychological experiences and physical difficulties which
the young father is encountering and living through during the months
before the advent of his first-born, few have any knowledge. Fewer
still have offered the father-to-be any sympathy or help. Nevertheless
with the increasingly perceptive and specialized individuals comprising
our civilization, there arises an increasing number of young men
capable of feeling and suffering in some degree corresponding to the
great realities of which, for each, his home is the centre. And,
moreover, it must not be forgotten that among our thoughtful classes
are now growing up the young men whose mothers were among the pioneers
of women’s emancipation, whose mothers, therefore, were _voluntary_
mothers who have trained their sons consciously and unconsciously,
directly and indirectly, to be more in harmony with the true and
natural attitude of a sensitive human being to its mate than are the
average gross and over-bearing males, sons of enslaved and involuntary
mothers. The sensitiveness of the modern young man towards his duties
as a father, towards his wife as the mother of his child is, in my
experience, very remarkable in its extent and its beauty. I have direct
and indirect evidence from thousands that among the young Army men in
various messes on the continent in recent years, an unexpected racial
seriousness of attitude was shown when the necessary key that unlocked
the secret chamber was available. Although it is a most deplorable
truth, that there has been an increase in the racial diseases and an
outward levity towards women, this is less an inherent baseness on
the part of the young men than the result of the existence of the
false conditions in which they have been placed, due to the criminal
mishandling the whole racial problem has received from those older and
in a position of authority.

In the nature of things, at first the young man can scarcely avoid
taking fatherhood much more lightly than the girl takes motherhood.
In normal, sweet, and healthy men, a desire for children of their own
is very strong. Yet, however sympathetic their dispositions, however
observant they may be of others, the unmarried young men cannot, under
present conditions, have a full comprehension of what the attainment
of motherhood involves in sacrifice for the mother. Hence the ideally
mated young couple embarking upon parenthood set about it gaily, but
before many months have passed, the young father-to-be must also be
filled with amazements. For, control her impulse to be alone as she may
(see Chapter III), curb her induced fretfulness as she may, the general
psychological attraction between the man and the woman must be affected
by the physiological state of the mother. The young man should find
himself, if not actually repelled as the months progress, at least
much more able to give his wife an impersonal tenderness in place of an
active desire for physical union than he would have imagined possible.
However sweet their love, if they are average human beings and not
exceptional, he will perhaps, from time to time, be amazed and pained
by unexpected peevishness and fretfulness, perhaps by what appear to
be quite irrational and unjustifiable complaints from his wife. He
should be made acquainted with the facts on page 33, and should apply
them to himself and his wife. Knowing of the liability of such a
temporary development, he can guard against any permanent injuries to
love arising from the experience, such as often do result when it is
unexpected and misunderstood.

I remember once being told by a nurse who had been at a large maternity
home that of those who came there for the birth of their child she had
only seen one couple between whom there was no bickering, not even
infinitesimal criticisms and gusts of temper to ruffle the surface
of their intense and romantic devotion. “Generally the women at this
time,” she said, “lead their husbands an awful dance, and are always
snapping at them, but they do not really mean it, of course.”

Men, on the whole, I think (although it is difficult and dangerous to
generalize) are less tolerant of “superficial snappiness” than women,
and the ruffling of the surface which comes with a few angry words
enters probably deeper into the life of a sensitive man than it does in
the life of a girl of corresponding type, although, on the other hand,
a man may very quickly acclimatize himself to ignoring such comparative
trivialities. Yet at first, at any rate, they not only amaze but
distress, and when they appear irrational and swiftly pass, they may,
although a trifle in themselves, be the cause of much misunderstanding
and may be the foundation of more serious later disharmonies.

To the man who has any biological knowledge, all the wonderful
processes of the growth of the unseen embryo, leading up to birth, are
full of amazed wonder. If a man knows, as all should in these days
(see my book, _Married Love_, for information about the fundamental
processes of mating) how minute is the single sperm cell from which
his growing child takes its rise, the immensity of the results of the
activity of that tiny cell appear indeed stupendous. His flower-like
bride is changed, her whole body is permeated, altered and impressed by
the activities of this particle of himself united with its counterpart
within her.

Only for the utterly callous can the experience of the months of
waiting be anything but full of continual reminders of the amazing
complexity of life. Long ago Tennyson felt:--

    Flower in the crannied wall,
    I pluck you out of the crannies,
        I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
        Little flower--but _if_ I could understand
    What you are, root and all, and all in all,
    I should know what God and man is.

Even more filled with humble and profound amazement must be the future
father, who feels that his wife is now the very centre of the greatest
mystery and wonder of the universe. Looking at her, brooding in her
dreams, his mind must be continually filled with the consciousness of
the eager active growth that is in progress, and the intense desire to
take part in the mystical processes.



CHAPTER VIII

The Young Father-to-be:

His Delights

    A Garden enclosed is my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

        _Song of Solomon._


It is said that men naturally have a more casual interest in fatherhood
than women have in motherhood. It is sometimes even definitely said
that men do not have a passion for fatherhood or care profoundly for
young children. This is not my experience. A much larger number of
men than are credited with it feel an intense desire for fatherhood,
and take a great delight in young children. Though they should share
the joy equally, yet the father often has a larger proportion of the
pleasure of the little child, while to the mother comes a larger
proportion of the burden and the difficulties. To the child itself,
too, the father is often more precious than the mother. An accidental
testimony to this effect was given by the little daughter of one of
those “devoted wives and mothers” who thought woman’s place was only
the home, and a mother’s duty only to care for her children. The child
and I were chatting and the little one misunderstood something I said,
and thought that I asked which of its parents it loved most. The child
quickly answered, “Oh, I like father best, _of course_--mother is
there every day and she washes us.” The privilege of being a child’s
favourite is no small one, and, as this child shows us, a father may
win it with unfair facility.

The conscious dream of parenthood, a parenthood which shall give the
children the best possible chance in life undoubtedly lies behind the
majority of marriages. Hence when the young man who has married with
the desire, perhaps not for immediate, but for ultimate fatherhood,
first learns the definite fact that he has already inaugurated the
beginnings of his child’s development he must experience an intense
and unique wave of feeling, which, as in the early days of marriage,
with all its freshness, and with the actual physical difficulties yet
unfaced, must be one primarily of buoyant delight.

There is also in the earlier months, for the man of artistic
perceptions, an unique experience in the appreciation of his wife’s
enhanced beauty. It is perhaps known that the most critical artistic
view of woman claims the highest point of perfection in her form
about the third month of her first period of motherhood. To a pair of
lovers who have delighted in their bodily beauty, as all natural and
healthy and well formed young people should do, this period, when the
loveliness of the woman is at its very height, and when the man can
feel that he has contributed to its perfection, must be a time of very
special entrancement. That it is something from within his most sacred
being that has added this glow and radiance in perfecting the rounded
form of the body that he adored in its virginal grace, must give a man
with artistic and poetic potentialities an all too brief but never
to be forgotten experience. The young father-to-be should not lose a
day of these swiftly passing weeks, for this phase, like all human
developments, but even more intensely so than most, is passing and
transient, only to be immortalized in the permanence of a perceptive
memory.

When, as is inevitable, it has passed, and is followed within another
month or two by a phase so acutely, perhaps agonizingly its reverse,
the crucifixion of the mother’s sensitive feelings which is entailed
should be hallowed and elevated in both their minds by that deeper,
less personal, and more profoundly racial delight, the picturing with
each other of the radiance, the strength, the power, the purpose and
passion of the life which they are creating. So tragically soon after
the days when he has feasted his eyes and filled his memory with her
beauty, she will, she must withdraw her body from him and for months
to come he will be shut out entirely from all sight of her. The reward
will be an inner experience of the mind.

A day will come when, for the first time, the father-to-be may lay his
hand upon his wife below her waist and feel the sturdy little kicks of
his future son or daughter, and can know that, though hidden from him,
still there is beside him a vital and independent being whom he has
wakened to life. The presence of this little creature whom he has not
seen colours and permeates every hour of their joint existence, and
links the family in an extraordinary unity, the full significance of
which I will consider in Chapter XII.

When the later months pass, the father-to-be will have lost one of his
most exquisite memories if he has not already talked and laughed with
his future child, and if he and his wife and child together have not
united in that most mystical union possible to human flesh.



CHAPTER IX

The Young Father-to-be:

His Distresses

    When one knows thee, then alien there is none, then no door is
    shut. Oh, grant me my prayer that I may never lose the bliss of the
    touch of the one in the play of the many.

        TAGORE: _Gitanjali_.


With all the passion for children, with the protective chivalrous
feeling towards his wife which a well born and well knit man
instinctively feels, through all the joy of fatherhood that is coming
and the delight in its accomplishment, there must run a thread
of intense distress at his own helplessness to help. With every
consideration that the most resourceful man can think of towards his
wife, with every helpful, tender, encouraging, supporting thing that he
can do, how little is his share during all these months in the burden
of the coming parenthood. If, through sympathy, he feels each pang his
wife may feel; if, through sympathy, he curtails his activity to rest
with her, nevertheless it is a voluntary abnegation, and if it became
intolerable at any moment he could escape; he could run over the hills;
he could go for a day’s fierce solitude and activity wherever his feet
desired to lead him; but he knows that his wife _cannot_, that she is
chained, that not for a moment of the day or night for nine months can
she lay down the burden for a brief rest--that there is no exit for her
from this imprisonment of so many of her potentialities but through the
gateway of agonizing pain.

The instinct behind marriage is often a feeling of chivalrous devotion
towards a tender and confiding girl, and the desire to give her every
protection. The man finds, however, that his act has placed the one
whom he desired to _protect_ in such a position that she must bear the
greatest burden possible for a human being to bear, and must bear it
alone. This must be a deep distress to an imaginative man of integrity,
although the distress be mingled with other and joyous feelings. To
pretend that it is not so, to say that the joy of coming parenthood
should and does wipe out all such under-currents of thought is merely
to be callous or silly. To repress an intense feeling, to pretend that
it is not there, may give an apparent surface bravery or brightness.
But such repression is ultimately destructive to the consciousness and
whole physique of the one who, thus gallantly to himself, endeavours
to deny the truth, and is often apt to lead to deeper disorders. The
modern school of psycho-analysts who endeavour to set right the effects
of mental strain often discover that throughout life, perhaps dating
from childhood, a personality has been handicapped and weakened by some
deep suppression of an intensely experienced emotion.

In my opinion, the pretence that a sensitive man does not feel, and
does not endeavour to conceal his feeling about his relation to his
wife, particularly at the time of their first coming parenthood is to
dishonour man’s capacity and his imagination. Why imply that a rational
man does not experience what surely all but a brute must feel. It
impoverishes our life of emotional expression, and it tends to injure
the man himself, to increase the strain by the pretence that the strain
is not there. I know, for instance, one man who fainted at the time his
wife gave birth to their child, and who, under no consideration, would
allow her to have a second child, although he had intensely desired
and looked forward to the fatherhood of a large family before he knew
the actual physical experiences which it entailed. Such a man, in my
opinion, was a good father wasted by an excess of emotion made all the
more intensely destructive to himself by the endeavour to maintain
the totally artificial and indeed the crude attitude which is supposed
to be “correct” for a man, namely a sort of dissociation of himself
from his wife’s experiences and a hardened lack of recognition of all
that is involved. It is surely better to recognize that there is that
intense and poignant sense of helplessness, that the sensitive and
developed young man should and does feel it, but that it should be
recognized as the compensating price which he pays for fatherhood.

If we are ever to raise our race to the point when every child is
so precious that no child can be hungry, neglected or unwanted, the
conscious price which the _father_ pays for his children will be one
of the assets in valuing the children of the nation. It is, therefore,
better to acknowledge and encourage such sensitiveness in the father by
allowing the open and honourable expression of such feeling, and thus
to avoid that almost neurotic and destructive effect of the suppression
of such intense feeling as warped the father mentioned above. Because,
if the wife avails herself of the advice I give in this book, and if
the time for parenthood is chosen rightly and wisely in relation to her
general health, and it is ascertained before she embarks upon potential
motherhood that her bodily and bony structure is fit for motherhood,
then though the experiences of both will be difficult and profound
in their testing of the quality of each other, motherhood should
not result in any excessive strain, and should indeed be a time of
wonderful life activity.

With all needless ill-health, and wanton ugliness and wasteful distress
which at present are artificially involved in it, once swept away,
potential motherhood should not be an unendurable burden. Though the
father’s feelings should be intense and poignant on behalf of his wife
and though she may go through searching experiences, yet the gladness
should so preponderatingly weigh in the balance in excess of the
troubles and difficulties that no normally healthy and well endowed
young couple should ever suffer so much that they dare not face a
second maternity, as happens alas only too often to-day.

On quite a lower plane, but nevertheless on the one so essential that
it greatly affects all the rest of life, is the too frequent distress
of the young father-to-be about the more material provision of all
that is necessary for his wife. In counting the cost of the coming
parenthood, too often quite heavy expenses are unforeseen, and, with
a fixed income, the young man may have the intense distress of being
unable to provide all that his wife not only wishes but really ought
to have. Recent years, for instance, were times of extraordinary
difficulty for all women who bore children, and who had a naturally
healthy and proper desire to eat fruit. With oranges at a shilling
each, as they were in the winter of 1918-19, how could an ordinary
young couple afford a glassful of orange juice a day, which I recommend
as profoundly valuable (see p. 80). It was obviously impossible. Such
a time, of course, one hopes will never be repeated. It was a period
of undue strain, when none, considering the future of the race, should
have borne a child unless private reasons made it specially advisable.

But apart from such excessive and unprecedented difficulties, there
are, and probably always will be, difficulties for the young man who
desires to provide everything that can benefit his wife. Not long ago
in the newspapers, a budget of the cost of the baby in an ordinary
lower middle class home was given, and there was an item: “Dentist’s
bill for the mother, twenty pounds.” A wise comment was made on
this that, alas, it is by no means an unusual, indeed it is a usual
experience that the coming child adversely affects the mother’s teeth,
and both for the health of the baby and the mother they should be
attended to. Possibly, even her very life may depend on her teeth being
thoroughly free from decay after the birth. A heavy dentist’s bill is
too often an unexpected anxiety to the young husband, so that the
teeth are neglected. Neglected teeth either weaken, or may actually
result in the death of the mother from their decay, causing internal
poisoning, to which she is peculiarly liable after bearing a child.

Then too, there are unexpected and heavy expenses which are unforeseen
through a variety of circumstances, such, for instance, as the
uncertainty of the date of the birth. Those who go to nursing homes,
as many are now doing owing to housing and service difficulties,
experience this trial more acutely than others. They expect and plan,
perhaps, for the birth within a given week, and the baby may delay two
or three or even more weeks beyond the calculated time. Young couples,
scarcely able to afford the heavy expenses of a good nursing home,
who yet had saved sufficient to allow the wife three weeks there, may
have their plans quite dislocated by a delay of three weeks in the
infant’s appearance, resulting in the mother unexpectedly having to
remain double the length of time for which they had saved the money
for the nursing home. The young father is then faced by the sordid
difficulty of finding the necessary money, and unless he is gifted in
such a way as to make extra earning a possibility, is under a condition
of strain. Just when all his free energy and time should be devoted
to companionship with his wife and infant, he has to spend extra hours
working at high pressure in order to meet unexpected expenses. The
young father-to-be who wishes to maintain the right and beautiful
atmosphere around his coming child should inform himself of all certain
and likely contingencies of expense, and should make due provision for
these before the great act of calling into being one for whom he is
primarily responsible.

To a healthy man, also, there may be a period of chastening experience
in sharing daily life with one who is out of health. Though the
prospective mother _ought_ not to be in any way invalided, yet, alas,
as things are, too often she is, and only an unselfish man will fail to
resent the personal sacrifice which he endures as a result.

There is a certain self-centred type of man who may, with the most
model intentions and in order to lead a self-respecting life, marry,
and who may find the resulting pregnancy of his wife very disconcerting
to himself and very thwarting to his own requirements. With a certain
bitter selfishness, this attitude was unconsciously expressed by one
of my correspondents in the following words: “Something must be done
to prevent any more children; imagine what a wretched time I have
with my wife sick every day for nine months.” Perhaps the reader can
scarcely restrain a smile at so callously self-centred an attitude on
the part of a husband, but, nevertheless, that man does have a real and
difficult physical problem before him. One way, of course, in which to
help such a man would be to place such help and knowledge before his
wife that her motherhood should be more normal, and not so terrible an
experience for her.



CHAPTER X

Physical Difficulties of the Expectant Mother

    We cannot reason with our cells, for they know so much more than we
    do that they cannot understand us; but though we cannot reason with
    them, we can find out what they have been most accustomed to, and
    what therefore they are most likely to expect; and we can see that
    they get this, as far as it is in our power to give it them, and
    may then generally leave the rest to them.

        SAMUEL BUTLER.


To far too many women the time when they are carrying a child is a
period of strain and semi-invalidism, a time filled not only with
surprises and difficulties, but too often coloured with actual
distress and ill-health. _This should not be._ The time of prospective
motherhood should be one of buoyancy, health, physical activity and
mental vitality. The low standard of health which the modern woman
tolerates is deplorable.

But to whom can the young mother-to-be turn for advice and assistance?
Such healthy, happy, prospective motherhood does not come by instinct
in our city life. Those around her, older than she, who have had
children of their own may perhaps be able to give her a hint here and
a little piece of advice there, which to some extent may alleviate
her difficulty or pierce with a faint shadow of light the gloom of
perplexity in the ever deepening unknown into which she is entering
for the first time; but nearly all such women have themselves gone
blindly and individually through this period of immense significance
and mystery without having had any rational help from one devoted to
the maintenance of _health_.

Almost every book written to advise the coming mother is written by a
doctor of disease, with very few exceptions by doctors who tolerate
what is, in my opinion, a disgracefully low standard of general health
in women. A distinguished gynecologist who, in cross-examination
before a commission persisted in maintaining that the “daily morning
sickness” which is so prevalent in women who are carrying a child is
“physiologically right and natural” (indeed, he implied almost that it
was necessary) represents an attitude of mind very general and capable
of far-reaching hypnotic injury to the community as a whole.

By far the best and sanest book available for healthy women is one
to which I have already referred, namely _Tokology_, by Dr. Alice
Stockham, but this book has its inaccuracies and its drawbacks, and
even its pages are too much occupied with the wretched and handicapping
troubles which women do experience in large numbers, but _which should
not be_.

Nevertheless, to allow a young girl or woman to enter upon these months
of trial without making clear to her what she has to face, is cruel
indeed. For a sensitive woman the experience, even at its best, and
when most free from incapacities, is yet incredibly and penetratingly
more terrible than she anticipated. The more sensitive and more
conscious she is, the deeper and profounder may be her joy in her
coming motherhood, but, at the same time, the more intense the physical
experiences through which she must pass.

The modern sensitive young woman does not take things blindly and
patiently and with resignation, with a pious belief in her own
inferiority, which may have helped to dull and moderate the sensations
of her grandmothers. The more evolved she is, the more she may be
willing to bow to natural law, but the less is she content to suffer
wanton cruelties imposed upon her by ignorance, stupidity or coercion.

Many are the midwives, maternity nurses and medical practitioners with
whom I have discussed such matters, and from whom, often incognito,
I have asked advice. I may say that _none_ gave _all the necessary_
advice, not one gave one-tenth of what is in this book, only one or two
gave any necessary simple advice in the sympathetic and understanding
fashion desirable, and only one or two appeared to have any clear
_generalizations_ or scientific understanding of the facts about which
I asked. The resignation, the shrugging of the shoulders in the face
of things which would otherwise make one weep, or the cheerful braving
out or pretending that things are not as bad as they are, which is the
general attitude of mind of the maternity nurse is little more helpful
than that of the practitioner. Concerning many of the practical facts
of the later months of pregnancy and actual birth, and the succeeding
weeks of recovery, the properly trained midwife seems on the whole
wiser than the average general practitioner, wiser even than the
specialist who may come at a crisis, but who does not watch his patient
through the succeeding weeks.

Many young women who have recently been mothers have told me of the
mental and physical horror which they then experienced, and of the
added horror that they should feel horror. They have asked me to
generalize, if it is possible, from their cases in such a way as to
help others who enter upon maternity’s difficulties for the first
time, so that they may at least be spared that terrible sense of
isolation and of exceptional failure when they experience one by one
the things which are inevitable, or the things which are, by our
artificial lives, so frequently imposed.

The bearing of a child very often may be complicated by actual disease,
and then requires, of course, expert medical attention. With those who
are in any sense actually ill, and who should be in the hands of a
doctor, I am not here dealing, for, in this respect, as throughout my
other books, I desire only to write of health for the healthy so that
they may have sufficient knowledge to maintain their health and raise
the vitality of the race.

I may say here that, even for the healthiest, it is very advisable, not
only for her first, but for every succeeding pregnancy, that a woman
should be examined and measured by some wise and healthy-minded medical
practitioner or midwife at least once during the first three months
and twice again during the last three months, but that, for the first
baby, it would be better to go at least every month for examination. In
that way, the various insidious disturbances of the excretory system,
and other fundamental things which _may_ go a little wrong, even in an
otherwise healthy woman, can be detected immediately and dealt with.
Many however, find a great difficulty in bringing themselves to do
this.

Undoubtedly it is much better for the prospective mother to go to a
specialist, old enough to be wise and experienced and mellow, and
yet young and virile and active enough to be acquainted with modern
knowledge, and healthy and clean enough to look for and to desire
health and normality in those who come for advice.

This should pre-eminently be the special field for women doctors,
but there is not nearly a sufficient body of them with the necessary
qualifications to meet the requirements of the community, and I should
like to see a new profession created for women who, to the experience
and the training of first-class midwives, have added a sufficient
training in general medicine to be specialized to advise the _healthy_
prospective mother, and to be able to detect at once anything which
should necessitate handing her on to the doctor of disease. Such
practitioners should rank in status somewhere between the cultivated
midwife of gentle birth (such as a Queen Charlotte’s Hospital nurse)
and the medical woman. Thus the prospective mother would be spared
that hard and bitter contact with one who has become myopic in the
observation of disease, and would be able to go to someone specially
trained to encourage health. Meanwhile, as this is but a bright picture
of what may come in the future (and that _will_ come if women make a
sufficient demand for it) it may spare many women distress if I set out
the physical difficulties and peculiarities which are most liable to
occur with a _healthy_ woman.

From the welter of accounts of the effects of pregnancy, I have
disentangled into three groups those which normal women may have to
face. The difficulties are:--

(1) Those nature-imposed; these are essential; they cannot be avoided
by the healthiest woman. They can be perhaps, to some extent,
mitigated. They are things which the coming mother must be helped
through and over; she cannot be saved from them.

(2) Those entirely artificial; these are quite needless and are the
results of either ignorance or our gross disregard of known facts, and
can be entirely eradicated.

(3) Those which are to-day very usual, but which knowledge and a better
mode of life may entirely conquer.

Now to consider first the third group: those which are general, but
which a knowledge could or should conquer.

One of the first signs that she is to become a mother, and one of the
most usual experiences of a young woman when this time begins, is the
daily recurrence of that penetrating nausea and sickness usually after
she has risen in the morning, called “Morning Sickness.” This is so
usual that medical practitioners rely on it to some extent as a sign
of pregnancy. It is described in almost every book for the prospective
mother, and, as I have mentioned (p. 72), it is sometimes even
maintained by distinguished gynecologists as a physiological function,
_i.e._, a normal function.

Now this is a very nauseating and wretched experience to the majority
of women, and it is one which, I maintain, is entirely imposed by
ignorance, wrong living and the general hypnotic effect of others’
perverted views on the woman’s system. In those women whose internal
organs are improperly placed or somewhat malformed, it occurs as a
physiological result of pressure or other disturbance. _In true health
there is no physiological reason whatever for the morning sickness_,
and a woman who lives as she should live during the time of her coming
motherhood need not experience it. This should, in the next generation,
be entirely conquered, because it is to a very large extent caused
by allowing, even forcing to wear corsets, girls when they are still
unformed and developing. Those women who have never worn corsets in
the whole of their lives, and who dress as they should dress, and do
as they should do during the months when they are becoming mothers,
seldom experience morning sickness. Though there are some who, when
they know the child is coming, discard their corsets too late, and
these may still experience this unpleasant feature. The extraordinary
adaptability and vitality in a woman’s system, however, is a remarkable
thing, and even those who begin later in life than they should to train
for motherhood may yet accomplish much.

Granted a healthy, well-formed body, a previous life of normal
activity, sensible attention to the following points will insure
complete freedom from morning sickness in all but the exceptional and
pre-disposed:--

    (_a_) Discard every scrap of heavy or constricting clothing,
    wearing only the lightest garments hung from the shoulders entirely.

As I said in _Married Love_ the standard of dressing for the
prospective mother, whose garments should be of the lightest wool and
silk if possible, and should be so lightly hung that a butterfly can
walk the length of her body without tearing its wings.

    (_b_) Discard all rich, heavy and over-cooked foods, such as
    pastries and hot cakes, dried peas and beans, rich game or highly
    seasoned dishes, and live as much as possible on uncooked foods and
    simple milk puddings, stewed fruit, lightly cooked meat and fish,
    with the largest obtainable quantity of very fresh ripe fruit.

    (_c_) Start the day not with tea, but with the juice of two or
    three oranges squeezed into a tumbler.

If she does these things a normal woman may go through the whole nine
months without experiencing one single moment of nausea, as many a
woman has done.

A retardation of the action of the bowels or constipation is very
frequent, and is a cause of many other ill-effects. A right diet such
as I advise, adding for this purpose honey and brown bread, does much
to prevent it; if it exists in spite of this, take suitable bending
exercises (see also page 72), even a warm hydrostatic douche (using a
douche-can with a little common salt in the water), but do _not_ take
regular drugs or “aperients.”

Another of the very frequent experiences of the mother who is carrying
a child, particularly towards the later months, is the enlargement of
the veins of the legs and ankles and the formation of varicose veins.
These may become very serious if neglected, and even if the woman is
being doctored, unless, at the same time, she regularly follows the
proper healthy method of dieting and living. In addition to the dieting
and clothing described above, which will make her almost certain to be
immune from varicose veins, she should take warm comfortable sitz baths
every evening, and she should lie down for at least half an hour or an
hour in the middle of the day or early evening with her feet raised a
few inches above the level of her head.

One of the most serious difficulties, felt even by those who avoid all
other drawbacks, is sleeplessness, particularly in the last month or
two when the activities of the child may be very disturbing. In this,
much depends on the position in which the child is lying, and sometimes
the position of the child can be improved by massage and manipulation
by a trained midwife or doctor. Something also can be done by the
mother herself through her mental attitude and hand touch on the child,
and also by taking hot sitz baths nightly before going to bed. Still
more, however, is accomplished by right diet, clothes, exercise and
happiness (see also Chapter XII).

The habit of taking aspirin regularly or in large quantities, which too
many women indulge in if sleepless during this time, is extremely bad
both for the child and for the mother. Drugs of any sort should not be
appealed to. If it is possible during these later months, sleep will be
much more refreshing, and the advantage will be very great both to the
coming child and the mother, if her bed can be arranged on a verandah
or out of doors, but it must not be forgotten that towards the end of
the period the expectant mother ought not to be out of ear-shot of
someone.

Now to consider the second group of disabilities; those entirely
the result of artificial outlook and condition. Among these must be
classed the inability to walk any distance or to take part in active
work of any sort. This is partly imposed by the hesitation of a woman
to be seen at this time, and particularly to face the vulgar and
leering attitude of the general public, and it is partly also due to
the general heaviness or strain on the muscles or to the presence of
varicose veins. If these have, by the methods just described, been
almost or entirely avoided, she will find that her natural activity is
much less reduced than it would otherwise be. To walk a mile or two,
or even three miles the day before or even the day of the birth is not
at all beyond what can be expected from an ordinary healthy woman who
lives as she should.

The necessity perpetually to be fussing, to be taking tonics or
drugs or medicines, to be thinking only of herself and never of any
general or greater theme, is also eliminated when the general health
is improved, and any mental or bodily activity which the mother can
indulge in without a sense of strain is advantageous to the child as
well as to herself.

The highly nervous condition and overstrained state of so many modern
women during this time is due entirely to the artificial social lives,
involving late hours, which they try to lead. The mother-to-be should
give up almost all social engagements which keep her out of bed after
9 o’clock. Sleep, fresh air, exercise under the healthiest natural
conditions she can command, coupled with the right diet, will secure
her health and strength throughout the time.

The difficulties, however, about which help is most needed are the
first group, those nature-imposed and inevitable difficulties which
the woman _has_ to face, and which, without instruction in the things
she might do to mitigate them, often lead her to suffer intensely,
though needlessly, and tend to have life-long effects on her health and
appearance. Simple and sometimes obvious precautions are required, and
yet these are almost unknown to the generality of advisers to whom the
prospective mother can turn.

The first and most obvious inmost change that affects her is that
felt in the muscles below the waist, particularly those which run
vertically, and which support, by their elasticity and strength, the
whole front of the body. As the months pass and the child and its
attendant tissues grow, there is a slowly increasing strain on these
muscles. As the enlargement proceeds the skin will also stretch, and
the under-skin and tissues beneath it are finally stretched almost to
breaking-point, stretched sometimes so that they do break apart and
leave ultimate permanent little scars under the skin of the mother.
Few apparently know, but all _should_ know, that this can be almost
entirely avoided (by fortunate women entirely avoided), if the skin
and tissues immediately below it are kept supple by daily rubbing with
olive oil from the fifth month. Perhaps from the fourth month once a
week, and certainly from the fifth month daily, the mother should rub
the lower part of her body and her breasts with a little olive oil.
This will not only have a soothing effect upon the skin, but will
assist its elasticity in such a way that she may return to her virgin
condition without leaving those tell-tale scars which so often mark
a woman, and which many, even highly trained maternity nurses and
doctors, seem to think are inevitable. Such scars _are not inevitable_,
and this very simple precaution, coupled with exercise, will frequently
be sufficient safeguard for the woman who desires to avoid them
altogether.

The same internal growth which enlarges the muscles and strains the
skin will also sometimes press apart the two main vertical muscles in
such a way that there is a tendency for inner tissues to project, and
for the last month or two this may be very uncomfortable without in
any way being dangerous. It is then advisable to wear a small stiff
pad over this and fasten it in place with a narrow, soft elastic band.
The use of a localized plaster very often strains the skin and leaves
scars or makes it sore. It is wise to have the small hard central
bandage wherever there is a tendency to localized projection as will be
self-evident to anyone who experiences it.

The natural darkening of the colour of the skin when it is strained
and stretched as it must be is very displeasing to the eye and,
particularly to a young girl whose beautiful body has been her delight,
may be a cause of great distress and self-repugnance. It is well that
she should be helped over this most anxious time of self-detestation
by the reliable assurance that it is only a temporary phase, and that
if she keeps in good health, and rubs herself with pure oil for two or
three months after birth as well as before, the skin will be entirely
freed from any stained or discoloured appearance, and will return to
its normal condition.

As the months pass, the actual physical weight of the body will
increase, gradually becoming a greater burden, so that long distance
walking and any acute activity such as running or tennis-playing
must become impossible. Nevertheless if the diet and mode of living
suggested above is followed out this will be very much less
embarrassing than is usually experienced.

Many forms of support or maternity corsets are advertised or medically
recommended to assist supporting the weight at such times, but, unless
the woman has any actual slipping of the position of the organs or
any deformity, she is very much better not to take such proffered
assistance for they will form a broken reed, and, as one knows, “the
broken reed pierces the hand.” It is much better for her to strengthen
her own muscles by slow and careful exercise, bending forward until she
touches the ground or as nearly touches the ground as possible; also
lying on her back on the ground and rising without touching the floor
with her hands and arms; also slowly raising the feet forward above the
head while lying on the back, and then allowing them to drop slowly to
the ground, this last exercise being very strengthening to the central
muscles of the body wall (detailed accounts of other useful exercises
will be found in Dr. Alice Stockham’s _Tokology_). So long as there is
no strain upon her, she should exercise throughout the whole of the
time. She would then not need any artificial support, and would be much
better without it.

I have never seen it elsewhere clearly stated, but I have discovered
that one very important reason against corsets is that, however well
shaped and loose they may be, they tend to touch and exert some slight
pressure on the soft tissues at the back of the waist; they must do so,
merely to remain upon the body without dropping off, and this amount
of pressure is sufficient to induce morning sickness (see p. 88) for
the following among other reasons. As the womb grows in the centre of
the body it pushes aside and to the back the many yards of soft tubular
alimentary canal which normally lie coiled in the front of the body,
and, if there is no constriction or pressure, these tend to find room
for themselves round the waist line and to the back, so that there
appears what seems almost like a coil or roll of fat round the waist.
This disposition is very advantageous, however, and should not be
interfered with in the way any corset must interfere, and it greatly
reduces the ungainly frontal size and helps to keep the body better
balanced (see p. 91).

At first the breasts will become firmer and larger and will support
themselves more readily than at any time, but later on their shape
somewhat changes and they tend to fall. They should then have carefully
slung and properly arranged supports looped over the shoulder. Neglect
of this often results in the final and lifelong loss of the beauty of
the bosom, and it is indeed a cruel thing that the average doctor or
nurse appears not to be capable of giving any useful advice on this
point, so that hundreds of thousands of women have not only lost their
beauty, but have been told that it is an inevitable and natural result
of having borne a child. That it is well-nigh inevitable under modern
unaided conditions, may be true. With proper support, proper massage
and treatment afterwards, the ugly breasts need not have been, and need
not be.

A thing which often distresses girls, but which however unsightly it
is while present is a temporary and passing phenomenon, is the sudden
appearance of freckles, even large patches of brown colouring matter,
on the skin during the time the baby is forming. So far as I am aware
nothing can be done to prevent it, and if as sometimes happens these
brown patches even appear on the face, it is a misfortune which must be
endured as stoically as possible, encouraged with the knowledge that it
will entirely pass.

Another curious thing I know one woman experienced, and about which
I am awaiting further evidence, was the apparent transplantation by
the child in the mother of the strong black body hairs of the father.
The result was that during the later months of carrying and for a few
months after birth, the mother’s lower limbs and forearms had a thick
growth of masculine-like hair, which nearly all fell off within six
months after the birth.

The tendency that the coming child has to extract nutriment from the
mother’s tissues often results in the loss or temporary spoiling of two
of her beauties, the beauty of her nails and the beauty of her hair.
These are apt to suffer unless she is warned in time and protects them.
The injury to them probably depends on the withdrawal of the proper
quantity of fat from the tissues. It is, therefore, advisable for the
mother-to-be to rub her nails and hair with some suitable natural oil.
Refined paraffin, almond oil or castor oil for the hair are by far
the best, and for the nails some animal grease such as lanoline, or
perhaps simple vaseline. Expensive concoctions, very much advertised
and claiming wonderful properties, generally owe anything which they
may contain to these ingredients, but more frequently contain little or
nothing of any value, and are often harmful.

The more fundamental, and, alas, almost inevitable result of bearing
a child is that it extracts not only the fat from the system, but the
hardening matter from the teeth. This indeed is, so far as I am aware,
a theft from the mother by the next generation which no knowledge of
its liability can prevent, and which can only be met by a careful
supervision of the mother’s teeth both before and after birth. Women
differ in the amount they lose, but it is, alas, one of the almost
inevitable things that there shall be a certain weakening of the teeth.
Sometimes this will right itself and teeth which shook in their sockets
immediately after the birth may apparently harden again and refix
themselves firmly, but if the weakening takes the form of actual decay,
they must be attended to.

In this respect the diet recommended by Dr. Stockham in _Tokology_,
which advocates the elimination of all calcareous food is perhaps
inadvisable if strictly followed out, because the growing child insists
on mineral matter, and it simply takes it from the mother’s structure
if it does not get it in other ways. I have, therefore, thought it
advisable not entirely to eliminate the wheat and other bone making
materials from the usual diet as Dr. Stockham recommends, but to
maintain a certain proportion of wheat, especially whole wheat, in the
food. Her advice to replace rich dishes by simple rice, stewed fruits,
etc., is certainly wise, and still more important is it to follow her
warm recommendation to eat large quantities of fresh fruit.

One of the perfectly natural, but to the young mother rather
unexpected, results of the changes of the later months is the
alteration which gradually comes in the position of the centre of
gravity of her whole body. She is of course scarcely conscious of
this, and yet it is a point of some importance, because it results
in a certain liability to slip and to fall, particularly coming
downstairs. The danger of such a fall is less to the child, which is
safely surrounded by a buffer of fluid and by the mother’s protective
muscles, but more to the mother herself, who, in falling, may strain or
injure herself. The growth which results in this change in the centre
of gravity comes too rapidly for the system quite perfectly to adjust
itself to it. It will be remembered how long it takes a baby to learn
to balance itself upright upon its feet; the adult mother-to-be has
had a whole lifetime knowing just how to balance, and every muscle
has become adjusted to the centre of gravity in its accustomed place.
The change in the distribution of weight changes the position of the
centre of gravity to some extent, sufficiently at any rate to throw
the co-ordination of many years somewhat out of gear, and it is,
therefore, wise for the expectant mother to take particular care not
to slip or stumble unexpectedly. The sudden and active movement of the
child which may kick or turn with no warning may cause her quite to
lose her balance, particularly if she is on a steep staircase. It is
well, therefore, to make a special point of keeping guard against this
possibility by always having a firm grip on the handrail when going up
or down stairs during the later months of carrying a child.

However well and full of a sense of power and creative vitality she
may be, a woman should take long hours of rest: to bed at nine each
evening and not up till eight o’clock in the morning and taking at
least one hour lying down during the day. During the nine months of
bearing the unborn child, she should remember she is providing it with
_vitality_ every second of the twenty-four hours of each day, and she
should neither have forced upon her, nor should she desire to do, work
which ever tires her, though she should live an active, full, healthy,
happy existence and should be capable of nearly all her normal work and
enjoyments. If she is wise she will work in direct contact with sun-lit
earth. Gardening ensures the truest sense of physical well-being.



CHAPTER XI

Physical Difficulties of the Expectant Father

    I was a child beneath her touch,--a man
      When breast to breast we clung, even I and she,--
      A spirit when her spirit looked through me,--
    A god when all our life-breath met to fan
    Our life-blood, till love’s emulous ardours ran,
      Fire within fire, desire in deity.

    D. G. ROSSETTI.


The higher the evolution of the creatures, the more is the parental
responsibility shared by both parents. Among human beings the
institution of monogamy, which is universally accepted as a higher
form of human relation than polygamy, involves in the dual partnership
a certain sharing of the actual physical difficulties of parenthood
by the father which is not entailed in the fatherhood of a polygamous
establishment. In fact, a pure monogamy strictly maintained, does
really affect the physical aspects of expectant fatherhood _more_ than
it does the physical aspects of expectant motherhood.

The modern pair, being intensely and deeply united, the effects of the
experiences and physical states of one have actual reverberations and
physical effects on the other. In this respect the change in the girl’s
attitude of mind towards the man, which is sometimes a result of the
physical effect of motherhood (see Chapter III), may have a very far
reaching influence upon the man’s health and happiness if he does not
comprehend the cause of this experience, and, through comprehension,
know how to endure or overcome it. Undoubtedly a home which is
disturbed by uncomprehended antagonisms or suppressed irritations has a
physical effect on the general mental balance, and consequently on the
whole health of the pair involved.

The way in which these difficulties can be overcome is by a mutual
comprehension, so far as is possible, of the needs of each other, and
sometimes perhaps by the attitude of “bowing before the storm” until it
has passed, recognizing that it is a phenomenon beyond human control.

Beyond this may be subtler and more intricate reverberations from
his wife’s state. The actual physical fact has to be faced by the
father-to-be that perhaps rapidly following on the period when all
his natural desires for a completed sex union with his wife were met
and consummated by equal desires in her, there comes a time when such
impulses on his part are not only not responded to by his wife, but are
perhaps antagonized and may be entirely thwarted by either her mental
or her physical condition.

In Chapter XII, I will show how, to some extent, and at probably rather
long intervals, his impulses may be not only satisfied but may be
harmoniously responded to and may be profoundly valuable. Nevertheless,
in almost every period of coming fatherhood, there will be at least
some months when bodily union is actively repugnant and consequently
actively harmful, to the wife. At such a time the instinctive feeling
of the mother against any act should be sufficient to bar it, because,
even if the act itself should not be harmful, to force her will at such
a time or to lure her into coercing herself against her own will is in
itself harmful. A young husband, therefore, will be faced by periods in
which it will be impossible for him to have any of the unions to which
he may have become accustomed and which his natural virility may at
first continue to demand.

This difficulty is of very varying intensity for different types of
men. Some feel it so acutely that, although they may do so with deep
shame, they yield to the impulses and are unfaithful to their wives
in a bodily sense just at the time when of all others they may be
mentally and spiritually most deeply united to her. Such shameful
conflict of will with deed must have blackened many a father’s memory,
and, with due understanding of all the circumstances, it should be
eliminated from our race: it should not take place. Nature has created
a way out for the man who deeply loves and is in sympathetic rapport
with his wife. While the wife on whom he centres all his desires
and love is in a bodily condition which deprives her from such an
experience as a complete union with him, this fact has a mental and
consequently a physical reaction on the better type of man, and he
finds, sometimes even to his surprise, that the instinctive impulses to
which he has been accustomed die down. At first perhaps becoming only
sufficiently dormant to be conquered by a deliberate exertion of the
will, but as the weeks pass and the inhibition from his wife increases,
its reaction stills his desire also, and his need for unions may
temporarily cease.

This is partly to be explained as a nervous reaction due to his anxiety
and his concentration of nervous force on his wife, which tend to
inhibit the setting free of the vital energy which would otherwise
demand an outlet.

The vitality, the physical state, the needs, however, of different men
vary very greatly, and there are those who really do require some
physical assistance in addition to will power and even a religious
determination to help them through this time of difficulty. For such
I recommend daily thorough washing in cold water of the organs of
generation, and when an over-mastering desire may come, the soaking of
the whole body in as hot a full length bath as can be borne.

It may perhaps sound fantastic because one has not yet scientific
proof (neither had Leonardo da Vinci when he casually made the first
announcement that our earth is a planet of the Sun), but I think,
in addition to the physical presence of the secretions potentially
demanding exit, that a very important factor in the desire for sex
union is an electrical accumulation within the system, and undoubtedly
the soaking in hot water tends to disperse this tension, and to allay
the urgency for a desire for a sex union.

These two simple physical assistances, combined with a definite will to
maintain himself purely for his wife, and the definite concentration
of his nervous energy to her support with the desire to contribute
everything possible, mental and bodily, to the well-being of his child,
should suffice to keep the body of a normal man in that condition which
his best instincts will approve. Others more acutely handicapped by
incorrigible physical requirements, may have a hard time; if it is
insupportable, the explanation of that may be the existence of some
slight physical abnormality for which they should and can get medical
treatment.

After the restraint of the time of betrothal, followed by the usage of
the honeymoon, the strain of almost total deprivation again, due to the
wife’s pregnancy, is greater on the husband than it need be; and this
is another argument in favour of deferring conception for at least some
months or a year after the wedding. (_Cf._ _Married Love_, Chapter IX).

Even when, as is indicated later, there may come times when the impulse
of the potential family is to unite, the physical condition of the
mother may offer a hindrance to the customary form of union, but this
with tact and intelligence may be surmounted.



CHAPTER XII

The Union of Three

    “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.”


In the early days of our modern civilization, that is to say within the
last couple of hundred years, the treatment of women in Western Europe
sank to a terribly low ebb. Although the last few years have done much
to restore woman to some of her ancient rights and privileges, there
are still among us a distressing proportion of ignorant, coarse and
consequently ruthless men who are not debarred from becoming husbands.
Such men have been in the past in the habit of “using their wives”
regardless of the desires or even the actual health requirements of
the unfortunate women who are tied to them, and such men have made a
practice of continuing to indulge in sex union even through the later
stages of pregnancy. I have heard from midwives, to my amazed horror,
that some such depraved men (not bestial, for no beast behaves in such
a way) have even used their wives while they are still in bed after
child birth. With such I have in this volume no concern beyond the
mention that they are loathsome.

Their existence, however, has had an effect on a better type and has
given rise to reaction on the part of men infinitely their superiors.
Women who have seen their sister women thus outraged have had the
support of men of sensitive conscience and consideration when they
have claimed that the mother who is carrying and nursing her child is
sacred, and must not be approached by her husband at all during the
whole of the child’s coming and nursing period. It has, therefore,
come about that a large number of our best and most high-minded women
(supported by correspondingly high-minded men, anxious to do the best
that is within their power for their wives and children) hold the view
that no sex union after the third month, or perhaps that no sex union
at all is allowable during pregnancy.

Now this is one more matter which has not begun to receive the
consideration which it deserves. When I wrote _Married Love_ I felt
that I was not entitled to decide on this subject, and I tried to hold
the balance between the various opinions, and drew attention to the
fact that the prospective mother of the lower creatures is always set
apart. This was apparently misinterpreted by some of my readers as
being a personal expression of opinion, and women wrote or spoke to
me about the subject saying they were sure I was right _because their
husbands held the same opinion as I did_, BUT _the women themselves
were ashamed, almost humiliated, to confess that during the carrying of
their child they most ardently desired unions_.

To these, as individuals, I pointed out that I was very far from
expressing a definite opinion in my book on this point, and that my
actual opinion indeed inclined towards thinking that restricted unions
should be advantageous. In a later edition (the 7th) of my book, I
enlarged on what I had to say on this subject, concluding: “There is
little doubt that in this particular, even more than in so many others,
the health, needs, and mental condition of women who are bearing
children vary profoundly.”

Through evidences from very various types of women in the last year or
two, I have now accumulated facts in sufficient numbers to begin to see
something approaching a possible generalization on this subject.

One of the most striking things I noticed concerning the evidences I
received was that the women who confessed to a desire for sex union
while they were carrying a child were, almost without exception, the
_best_ type. A hasty generalization would have predicted that those
very women with their pure attitude, their high degree of culture,
their intellectual attainments, and their gracious self-restraint in
outer life were just exactly those women who would maintain a fierce
chastity during the nine months. These quite remarkable corresponding
experiences of similarly superior women forced the matter vividly upon
my attention, and I am now prepared to make a tentative generalization,
coupled with the generalization to be found in Chapter XV.

The attitude of one of the women who confessed her intimate feelings
to me is typical of those of this type, and is illuminating. She is
a woman of unusually gifted brain, well endowed physically and a
normally healthy mother in every respect; she is noted for a peculiar
beauty and sweetness of disposition, and an unusually high degree of
sensitive appreciation of beauty and goodness. In conversation she
said to me: “You know I feel so ashamed and degraded by myself, but
just at the time when I felt I ought to be sacred from these things,
I more ardently desired my husband than I had done throughout all my
married life of fifteen years.” She then told me that her husband who
had been truly devoted to her all his life was particularly considerate
and thoughtful for her during her time of expectant motherhood, and
that when she tentatively hinted at her wish for union with him he
refused tenderly on the grounds that the higher standard for men was
to share, however difficult it was, in the nine months of complete
abstinence. He said that, for the sake of the child and herself, he
must refuse. Her desire, however, again recurred, much to her own shame
and mortification, because she felt that what her husband said really
represented the highest accepted standard of pre-natal conduct. Quite
a number of rather similar and also exceptionally endowed women have
confessed to me in almost the same terms the same feeling.

Before I indicate my conclusions, let us briefly consider some of the
surrounding circumstances of this problem. As I said in the opening
paragraphs of this chapter, the nobler and better men have been carried
away by a certain type of woman into thinking that it is man’s share
of the difficulties and self-sacrifice of parenthood that he should
entirely sacrifice what is spoken of as “his desires.” In my opinion,
this attitude involves two profound fallacies. The first fallacy is
that the act of sex union is to meet only “his desires”; it is not.
Completed union is something infinitely greater: it is a consummation
jointly achieved by both the man and his wife. This attitude I make
clear in my book, _Married Love_ and in my new _Gospel_ addressed to
the Bishops at Lambeth. And I must postulate in this, my present book,
the far reaching effects on the bodily, spiritual and mental health
of a man and woman concerned in this complex sex union. The truth is
that the husband who mutually and considerately unites with his wife
when she can accept him is not merely gratifying his own desire, he
is enriching her whole system as well as his own through this mutual
alchemy.

Before following up the logic of this paragraph, let us turn to the
woman and her needs. The drain on her system of providing for another
life out of her own tissues, and the substances which pass through her
own body, must be very severe unless she is amply provided with all the
subtle chemical compounds which are demanded of her. Now there is much
evidence that in unmarried women, and in young wives who are debarred
from sex union altogether, something approaching a subtle form of
starvation occurs; conversely that women absorb from the seminal fluid
of the man some substance, “hormone,” “vitamine” or stimulant which
affects their internal economy in such a way as to benefit and nourish
their whole systems. That semen is a stimulant to a woman was long
ago recognized as probable, and is now the opinion of several leading
doctors. Reference to this will be found in Havelock Ellis, vol. 5,
1912. See also the paper by Toff in the _Centralblatt Gynakologie_,
April, 1903. Incidentally the converse is true, and the man who
conducts himself properly during the sex union, and remains for long in
contact with his wife after the ejaculation is completed, also benefits
through actual absorption from his wife. For this I have the testimony
of a number of men.

If, therefore, the woman who is becoming a mother, and who is
supporting a second life, feels the need of union with her husband
it is, I maintain, an indication that her nature is calling out for
something not only legitimate but positively beneficial and required,
and that it should be not only a man’s privilege, but his delight, to
unite with his wife at such a time and under such circumstances.

The maintenance of the right balance of the internal secretions of the
various glands which re-act on sex activity is important to women at
all times, and particularly during the time when a woman is becoming a
mother. One of the results of the growth of the child is the increased
activity of the thyroid gland in the neck, which considerably increases
in size.

A general account of the relation of such glands to a woman’s mental
and physical balance is found in Blair Bell’s book (_The Sex Complex_,
1916), but he does not deal with the special aspect of a woman’s
requirements which forms the subject of this chapter.

There is, even with the type of woman who does feel the need of, and
ardently desires some sex unions with her husband during the long
months, almost always a space of time, perhaps as much as two or three
months consecutively, when she will have no such desires at all and
there are also times of special liability to lose the child through
premature birth, when unions should be avoided. Unexpected abortions
most usually take place at the dates around the time which would have
been a monthly period.

When I consider the evidence which I have before me, which is almost
exclusively from the very best type of women, and when I observe that
the most generally perfected, and finest women of my acquaintance,
and they in particular, desire occasional moderate intercourse during
pregnancy, I feel that one has a guide to what is best for the race.
In these women and the conduct which their needs inspire, we have an
indication of the truest and highest standard of all. The deviations
of conduct may at last return from both the grossness of abuse and the
reaction from it, and settle in the right and middle path. After the
excessively virtuous, and perhaps undersexed type of woman, in contrast
to the totally base attitude of the earlier and coarser type of man,
has made the thoughtful speed from baseness to an ascetic absence
of unions, we should be led back by these well developed and well
balanced and noble minded women to the right and middle way. In this
the spontaneous impulse of the responsible mother will be the guide for
her husband and will benefit all three concerned.

For, let us realize what a profound mystical symbol is enacted when
the union is not that of a single man and woman, but of that holy
trinity the father, the mother and the unborn child. _Only_ during
these brief sacred months can the three be united in such exquisite
intimacy, and during all these months when the child is forming, it
is only in the few infrequent embraces of subdued passion that the
husband and father-to-be can come truly close to his child, that he
can, through additions to her system from his own, assist the mother in
her otherwise solitary task of endowing it with everything its growth
demands.

Every woman who is bearing a child by a man whom she loves deeply,
longs intensely that its father should influence it as much as it is
possible for him to do: in this way _and in this way alone_ can he give
it of the actual substance of his body.

This view of mine, in the present crude state of scientific knowledge
must, of course, be stated as an hypothesis, but it will be proved
later on when science is sufficiently subtle to detect the actual
microscopic exchange of particles which takes place during proper and
prolonged physical contact in the sex union.

Light on my thesis is also shown by the converse: For instance, an
interesting suggestion was made by a distinguished medical specialist
as a result of his observation of two or three of his own patients,
where the prospective mother had desired unions and the husband had
denied them thinking it in her interest: the doctor observed that
the children seemed to grow up restless and uncontrollable, with a
marked tendency to self-abuse. To these two or three instances I have
added some which have come under my own observation and, although as
yet the evidence is insufficient to support a dogmatic attitude, I
incline to think that not only the deprivation of the mother of proper
union during pregnancy, but also the after effects of some years of
the use of _coitus interruptus_ tends to have a similar effect upon
later children. That is to say that mothers whose natural desire for
union has been denied, and mothers who are congenitally frigid rather
tend to produce children with unbalanced sex-feeling liable to yield
to self-abuse. Immoderate and excessive desire for sex union during
pregnancy so far as I am aware is rare, and where it occurs it should
of course be treated as an abnormality.

The mother of the higher type, such as I have indicated in the
paragraphs above who does desire unions, will probably only require
them infrequently during these months.

It should be obvious, but as the general public often lacks a
visualizing imagination, I ought to add, that for the proper
consummation of the act of union, particularly during the later months
of coming parenthood, the ordinary position with the man above the
woman is not suitable and may be harmful. The pair should either lie
side by side, or should lie so that they are almost at right angles
to each other, so that there is no pressure upon the woman. Or the
man should lie on his side behind the woman, which makes penetration
easy and safe and free from pressure. I might point out here a fact
which is of general importance in all true consummations of the sex
union, and that is that all the preliminaries and even the final act of
ejaculation itself do not constitute the whole of the truest union. A
truth on which I lay great stress, although I have not yet dealt with
it fully in any publications, is the fact that an _extremely_ important
phase of each union is the close and prolonged contact after the
culmination takes place. The benefit to both of the pair of remaining
in the closest possible physical contact for as long a time as is
possible after the crisis is almost incalculable.

A whole chapter could be written upon this theme, and indeed it should
be written. In the union during pregnancy, a woman is by nature
debarred from the complete and intense muscular orgasm and for her,
indeed, the union must essentially consist almost solely of the close
contact of skin with skin and of the absorption of molecular particles
as well as the resolution of nervous tension as the result of so close
and prolonged a contact.

Among the children known to me personally, several of the most
beautiful were the children of mothers and fathers who had unions
during the months of their development. The following quotation from a
young husband may be of interest in this connection:--

    The day before the birth of our baby, we went for a six-mile walk
    over country ground, and I slept with my wife the very night before
    he was born.... We had unions, but not in the ordinary position;
    she would be on her side with her back to me, and after union
    would quietly go off to sleep in my arms, and in the morning would
    wake with a joyful and passionate kiss. Now our baby is one of the
    finest of babies from all points of view.

As I have seen photographs of the child, I can endorse the parent’s
opinions.

Tolstoy’s condemnation of any sex contact while the wife was pregnant
or nursing may have influenced some serious men, but, as in many other
respects, Tolstoy’s teaching is so widely contradictory, and depends so
much upon his own age and state at the time, one cannot but regret the
unbalanced influence his literary power has given him.

While this chapter may be taken as an indication that sex union is, in
my opinion, not only allowable but advisable for certain types during
the time they are carrying a child, nevertheless I do not wish it to
be misinterpreted in such a way that a single act of union which is
repugnant to the prospective mother should be urged upon her “for her
good.”

There is undoubtedly a large body of most excellent women who are as
individuals distinctly rather undersexed, but who are on the whole good
mothers, profoundly well meaning and right minded and virtuous women
to whom the time of prospective motherhood is an intensely individual
period, during which they feel an active repugnance to any sex union.

Women of this type are not able to give the _completest_ dower to
their children, but are immensely superior to the average and baser
type which forms the majority. If such women do not spontaneously
desire unions they should be left unharried by any suggestion that they
would benefit by them, and the husbands of such women should, in their
own interests, curb any natural impulses which may conflict with the
intense feeling of the wife. Husbands, however, should also be aware
that such women generally feel as they do because they have never been
_wooed_ with sufficient grace and tenderness.

To sum up, I am convinced that unless there is any indication of a
disease or abnormal appetite in any respect, that the natural wishes
and desires of the mother-to-be who is bearing a child should be the
absolute law to herself and her husband, for during these months
she is on a different plane of existence from the usual one. She is
swayed by impulses which science is as yet incapable of analysing or
comprehending, and experience has again and again proved that she is
wise to satisfy any reasonable desire, whether for the spiritual,
bodily or mental contributions to her growing child’s requirements or
those which would strengthen her own power of supporting that child.

Fortunate indeed is the husband of the best, well-balanced and
developed mother-to-be, who with intense emotion shares with him in the
closest and most exquisite intimacy, the creating of a life which has
every prospect of adding beauty and strength to the world.



CHAPTER XIII

The Procession of the Months

    “The mother is the child’s supreme parent.”

        HAVELOCK ELLIS.


At first invisible, with no outer changes to indicate the vital
internal processes, from the moment of conception an intense activity
has begun within the mother. Sometimes women are aware of the actual
moment of conception, and faintly perceive for the first two or three
days sensations too delicate to be called pain and yet intense and
penetrating as though of the lightest touch upon the inward and most
sensitive consciousness. I have read reports of women, and know one
personally, who felt the process of conception, although this will
probably be generally received with incredulity. The majority of people
are less completely cognisant of the voices of their own organism,
and perhaps for two or three months are almost unaware that anything
different from the usual course of their life is taking place.

If, as seems to me unquestionably the best and happiest relation, the
man and woman who are creating a child are doing so deliberately,
consciously and with acute interest, a mutual knowledge of the
principal stages through which their child passes should add greatly to
their interest and the intensity of their feeling.

From the first moment of its conception, indeed often for months before
this has been possible, their child is to the loving pair a living
entity of whom they may speak.

The active egg cell, which is ready for fertilization, is produced
in one or other of the two ovaries, which lie internally and cannot
be touched or reached in any way without operating upon the mother;
they have no direct contact with the outer world. These two ovaries
each communicate with the central chamber, which is called the womb or
uterus and this is a strong muscular organ, into the walls of which the
attachment of the minute embryo fastens, and within this chamber the
growing embryo gradually fills the space reserved for it. The womb or
uterus has a connection with the outer world through the lower mouth
called the os, which opens into the vaginal channel. This os or mouth
with its rounded lip can just be felt at the end of the vaginal channel.

Fertilization consists in the actual penetration of the egg cell by the
male sperm, the nuclei of which unite. As I have elsewhere described
(_Married Love_, Chap. V) the numbers of male sperm provided in any act
of union outnumber by millions those actually required, because for
each single fertilization one egg cell combines with one sperm cell.
The egg cell or ovum is very large in comparison with a single sperm;
nevertheless it is itself a minute, almost invisible protoplasmic
speck, measuring rather less than 1/120th of an inch in diameter,
and roughly spherical in its shape--a minute pellet of jelly-like
protoplasm with a concentrated centre or nucleus. The single sperm
which unites with it is a still more minute fleck, and is little more
than a nucleus with a film of protoplasm round it, and a long cilium
or hair-like continuation which it lashes to and fro, and thus propels
itself or swims towards the egg cell. Judging by analogy, it leaves
this tail outside the egg cell on the mutual fusion. The nucleus of
the sperm and of the egg unite in a very complex and precise manner.
In other organisms, and probably also in human beings, the entry of a
single sperm to the egg cell shuts out the possibility of other sperms
fusing with them, because directly it has been fertilized, the egg cell
exudes a film of substance which antagonizes the other sperms, and
which ultimately forms a filmy skin around itself.

From the moment of the fusion of the nuclei of the male and female
cells, active changes and nuclear divisions are in progress. The egg
cell, which is free, travels slowly to the allotted place in the womb
or uterus of the mother, and there it settles down in the tissue of the
wall and attaches itself. Until it has attached itself firmly to the
wall of the uterus, conception proper has not finally taken place, and
a fertilized egg cell may be lost through want of a capacity to attach
itself to the womb, or through some nervous or other disturbance of the
walls of the womb, which throw it off after it has been attached. The
distinction between the actual moment of fertilization (or union of the
male and female nuclei) and of the final attachment which secures true
conception is an important one, though frequently overlooked. Sometimes
the failure to conceive a child may not at all be due to lack of
fertility and readiness to unite on the part of the egg cell and sperm
cell, but may be due to some nervous or other influence on the wall of
the uterus, which consequently throws off the ovum before it has firmly
settled into its place there.

A few days after conception, and when the ovum has attached itself
to the proper place, a definite zone of tissue begins to form which,
growing and altering with the growth of the tiny developing child
(which is now called the embryo), forms a medium of transmission
between it and the mother through which pass the substances used and
excreted by the embryo in its growth.

After fertilization, intense and rapid activity takes place in
the nuclei of the cells, first in the united nucleus of egg and
sperm cell, and later in the nuclei of all the resulting division
cells. The nucleus of the sperm cell is supposed to contain twelve
chromosomes which go through a formal rearrangement and mingling with
the corresponding chromosomes in the egg cell. As a result of the
complete fusion and intermingling of the male and the female factors
on fertilization, all the resulting divisions of cells which follow
derive their nuclei partly from the male and partly from the female
nucleus of the parents. Thus, if it were possible to trace the history
of every tissue cell in the body of your child, we should see that each
nucleus of all the myriads that compose its structure would ancestrally
consist of part of the many sub-divisions of the nuclei of both father
and mother. Thus to speak of one side of the body as being male in its
inheritance and the other female, is the most unmitigated nonsense,
though this idea formed the basis of a recent book.

The rapidity with which the first cells grow to form tissues, once they
have been stimulated by union is very great, and from the ovum, which
on the day of fertilization is only 1/120th of an inch in size, the
growth is so rapid that it is ten times as big at the end of fourteen
days. By that time the length is one-twelfth of an inch, and it weighs
one grain. By the thirtieth day the tiny embryo is already one-third
of an inch big, and were it practicable, which, of course, it is not,
to remove it living from its bed of tissue in the mother’s womb and
examine it, even with the naked eye, and still more with a magnifying
glass, it would be possible to see the rudiments of the legs, head and
arms which are to be.

By the fortieth day the embryo is about one inch in length, and the
shape of the child, which it is to be, is quite clearly visible. Dark
points are to be seen where later it will have eyes, nose and mouth,
and there is already a hint of its backbone.

Meanwhile, as may be realized, although to have grown in forty days to
the size of an inch from a minute speck 1/120th part of an inch is a
great and rapid achievement, nevertheless the existence of a thing one
inch big within her makes little outer difference to the mother, and
all the earlier weeks and months of the growth of this tiny organism do
not yet take more visible effect on the mother’s body than to enhance
its contour. After the first child this effect is less noticeable, and
a woman may be unaware that she is about to become a mother. The first
sign in a really healthy woman generally is in the form of her breasts,
which sometimes begin to enlarge by the second or third week. It is
said that the more healthy and perfectly fitted for motherhood a woman
is, the sooner her breasts show signs of the effect of the developing
embryo but, particularly with a woman who has already borne a child,
there may be no external sign until at least three months have passed.

By the sixth week, the limbs and most essential parts of the child are
apparent, and there are the minute indications of the beginning of
its future sex organs. It is evident, therefore, that if there is any
desire to control the sex of the coming child, it is already too late
by the sixth week to do anything, were it ever possible reliably to
control sex at any time. It is, therefore, apparent that any passionate
desire for a child of one or the other sex which the mother may indulge
in when she knows she is about to be a mother, say by the third or
fourth month, is futile. It may also be injurious (see Chapter XIV).

By the second month, nearly all the parts are fully apparent, even the
eyelids are visible in the embryo and a tiny nose begins to project;
fingers and toes can be seen, and some centres of bone begin to
harden, as for instance, in the ribs.

By the third month the embryo reaches an average length of three or
more inches, and weighs on an average about 2-1/2 ounces. In this month
the sex organs of the future baby are rapidly developing, and indeed
are rather unduly prominent in proportion to the other parts which
enlarge relatively later.

Between the third and the fourth month, or often not till a little
after the fourth month, the active muscular movements of the embryo’s
limbs can be felt by the mother. The experience of this, like the
consciousness of the moment of conception, depends very much upon the
sensitiveness and delicate balance of the mother’s conscious control of
herself.

Some are insensitively, though perhaps comfortably, unaware of what
is going on in their systems; others are conscious, not of what is
properly going on, but of what is going wrong in their systems owing to
disease or maladjustment; but there are others who, in perfect health,
are yet so acutely sensitive and conscious that they can at will
detect, as it were, the condition of their whole organs. Such women as
these will sooner feel the active movements of the embryo than those
who are less perceptive. As a rule, medical practitioners estimate that
about half-way between the date of conception and the date of birth,
which should be a full nine calendar months, that is to say about 4-1/2
months from the date of conception, muscular movements of the child are
detectable and distinct.

In the third month, however, some women are conscious of the most
delicate fluttering sensation.

By the end of the third month, a definite enlargement of the mother’s
body becomes visible, because not only the actual child within her
has to be accounted for in the space among her organs, but all the
accessory growth of the chamber which accommodates the child in the
womb has to find its place, the womb growing rapidly and containing
not only the child, but the large amount of fluid by which the child
is surrounded, and in which it partly floats. The visible changes in
the mother to some extent depend on the proportion of this fluid which
develops, some having much more than others, and it is to this rather
than to the actual size of the child for the first four or five months
that any outward change is due.

About the end of the third month the soft and cartilaginous beginnings
of the vertebral column begin to harden in various centres, and
afterwards the hardening of the bones (or ossification) slowly spreads
throughout the whole skeletal system. For some other bones in the
body, however, the hardening is not fully completed by the time of
birth.

By the fifth month, the child weighs six to eight ounces, and is from
seven to nine inches long. By this time its movements are very active
and almost continuous except when it sleeps. It should be trained
to sleep at the same time as its mother, and thus give her rest. My
phrase “it should be trained to sleep” may arouse incredulous smiles
from medical men, even from mothers who have borne children, but it
is not impossible to train a child even so young as an unborn embryo,
strange as it may sound. From about this month (the fifth) to the time
of birth, the child appears to have a strong and definite personality,
and sometimes, in some strange and subtle way, it seems possible to
communicate with it. If there is that sweet and intense intimacy
between mother and father which there should be if the full beauty of
parenthood is to be realized, the child is apparently to some extent
conscious of the nearness of its father, and I know at least of one or
two couples who spoke to their coming child as though it were present,
and who, by a touch of the hand could to some extent control and soothe
it so that it would sleep during the night when the mother desired to
sleep.

About the fifth month the actual nails begin to grow, although the
local preparations for their growth took place much earlier.

After the fifth month, the child grows rapidly in weight, in the sixth
month weighing nearly two pounds and during the seventh nearly three.

If it is placed in the best possible position, its head would be
directed downwards, and it should be lying so that its arms and legs
are tucked in much as a kitten curls up when it is asleep. It will
move, however, sometimes completely round, entirely altering its
position.

By the eighth month it weighs about four pounds and averages perhaps
sixteen inches or so long. It should by this time be very active, so
that its movements are not only strongly felt by the mother, but are
externally quite perceptible.

By the ninth month, at birth, the child weighs between six and eight
or more pounds. It is better for the mother that it should not be too
heavy, as, unless she is a large and strongly built woman, the actual
weight of the child becomes a great strain upon her, however strong she
may be.

A child may be born during the seventh month, and children born
during the seventh month live and have sometimes even grown up
learned and important men. Sir Isaac Newton is an illustration of a
premature child. Usually, however, a seventh month infant is terribly
handicapped; its skin is not yet fully developed, and in many respects
it is quite unfitted to face the world.

Many claims are made that a child is seven months at birth which are
based on the mis-counting of the date of conception or a desire to
conceal a pre-marital conception. When one is shown, as one sometimes
is, a bouncing, healthy, ordinary baby, and told that it was “a very
forward seven months child,” those who know can only smile or sigh,
according to the circumstances, for an ordinary, healthy, bouncing baby
with nails and well formed skin has never yet been generated in seven
months.

The seventh month is the time of greatest danger for a late
miscarriage, and many have been the disappointments of parents who
ardently desired a child, but who lost it through premature birth at
the seventh month. I have often wished to know why this should be so,
and have found no satisfactory answer or indication of any scientific
reason for this, but when revolving all the possibilities of ancestral
reminiscence, it occurred to me that possibly our earlier ancestors,
ancestors in fact so early as to be scarcely human, were born at the
seventh month. I was, therefore, interested to find that for some of
the monkeys seven months is the date of normal birth. Possibly some
such ancestral characteristic may make the seventh month a critical
time in the development of the human embryo, a time when it inherits
the reminiscence of the possibility of separating itself from its
mother and coming into the outer world.

The times, moreover, when birth is most liable are those few days in
each month which correspond to the regular menstrual flow in the woman,
the periods which would have taken place at each twenty-eight days
had not the child been developing. It is, therefore, often desirable,
particularly for the later months, for the woman to take one or two
days of complete rest, or even to remain in bed during that dangerous
day or two, so as to minimize the possibility of a miscarriage.

The same applies of course to some extent to the eighth month, but
curiously enough, miscarriages in the eighth month appear to be less
frequent. It is also popularly said that it is more difficult to rear
a child born in the eighth month than one born in the seventh, though
this does not appear to be true.

The last week or two of the child’s antenatal existence are used by
it in finishing itself off; growing its tiny shell-like nails, losing
the downy hair which covered its body earlier in its existence, and in
a sense preparing itself, and particularly its skin, for contact with
the outer world which is to come. Its movements are very active, and if
it is in the most perfect position, the head tends to sink deep down
towards the canal approaching the circle of bone through which it will
have to pass (see Chapter II).

The question is often asked as to which is the time when the embryo
is most sensitive to outward impressions, but as yet there is no
sufficient body of evidence to show that at any particular time more
than another (unless it be on the actual day of conception, see Chapter
II) is the power of influence greater than any other.

Is it possible to pre-arrange, to determine the sex of the child which
is voluntarily conceived? Since earliest human experiences have been
recorded, this has formed the theme of some writers and thinkers, and
a variety of opinions have been expressed, theories propounded, and
rules for the production of a girl or boy at will have been given. Each
of the views, however, still remains far from being established, and
damaging exceptions may be found to every theoretic rule. The impartial
observer must feel that we are still unable to control the sex of the
child.

There are three main theories on this subject: (_a_) one is that the
nature of the child which will be produced is already pre-determined
in the ovum and sperm cell before they have united; (_b_) the second
theory is that the critical moment which settles the sex of the
future offspring is the moment of fertilization and the changes in
the nucleus immediately resulting from it; (_c_) and the third theory
is based on the view that the differentiation of the organs, which
makes the difference in sex, take place at some stage in the embryo’s
development after it is already a many-celled organism.

The first named theory lies behind the advice which varies around the
theme that according to whether the conception takes place from the
egg cell grown in the right or the left ovary and testicle so will the
child be a boy or a girl. Instances of the desired child proving to be
of the sex “arranged for” by following out some such methods are of
comparatively frequent occurrence, but to the scientist are completely
counter-balanced by other and negative results.

The second and third theories do not offer the same explicit
application in practical advice. But all the practical advice, on
whatever basis it is builded, appears to me to be laid on insecure
foundations. In my opinion, the complexities of the factors which
determine sex are such that it depends much less on the outward
and visible nutrition of the mother, than on the inner and almost
inscrutable quality of the nutrition of the ovum and spermatozoon
before and immediately after fertilization has taken place.

That sex, even in some vertebrate creatures is actually controllable
through nutrition can be easily demonstrated with a batch of frogs’
eggs. These can be divided into two portions and by simple differences
in the feeding of the young tadpoles male or female frogs can be
obtained; the richly nourished ones produce the female frogs, those
on sparser diet the male. The human embryo, however, developing in
and through its mother, will depend to some extent on her diet, but
in a much less direct way, for, as all know, the actual nutrition of
the system does not depend merely on the quantity and valuable nature
of the food taken into the mouth; it depends equally or even more on
the digestive power, on the circulatory system, even on the mentality
of the person who eats, and to add still further to the complexity,
the tissues and organs of one part of the body may be receiving fully
sufficient nutriment, while owing to some hindrance or difficulty some
other tissues may be wasting and under-nourished. It is consequently
necessary before we can theorize, to determine, even in the healthiest
woman, whether or no a very rich and abundant nutriment is reaching the
developing embryo in its earliest and most critical days, for, on the
other hand, just in this critical time, a woman relatively ill-fed and
in relatively poorer health may be digesting her simple diet well and
may be so stimulated as to provide for the minute developing embryo
a richer and more nutritious environment than her better fed sister.
Consequently, even if, as I incline to believe, the pre-determination
of sex depends on the nutriment procurable by the early dividing cells
of the embryo, it is still almost beyond the realm of scientific
investigation or of human control to determine whether or not the
embryo is surrounded with such stimulating food as will produce a girl,
or the rather sparser diet which will produce a boy.



CHAPTER XIV

Prenatal Influence

    “To leave in the world a creature better than its parent: this is
    the purpose of right motherhood.”

        CHARLOTTE GILMAN: _Women and Economics_.


On the power of the mother directly to influence her child while it
is still unborn, diametrically opposite opinions have been expressed,
and without exaggeration I think one may safely say that the tendency
of biological science has been to scout the idea as “old wives’ tales”
and incredible superstition. Fortunate indeed it is that though our
immature and often blundering science has in many ways permeated and
influenced our lives, yet this denial of profound truth by those
incapable of handling it in the true terms of science, has not entirely
barred this avenue of power to the mother. Fortunately there are
innumerable children who owe their physical and spiritual well-being to
the profound racial knowledge still dormant in the true woman. As I
said when I touched upon this question in _Married Love_:--

    Yet all the wisest mothers whom I know vary only in the degree
    of their belief in this power of the mother. All are agreed in
    believing that the spiritual and mental condition and environment
    of the mother does profoundly affect the character and spiritual
    powers of the child.

Alfred Russel Wallace, the great naturalist and co-discoverer with
Darwin of the principle of Evolution, was in many respects a pioneer
of unusual foresight and penetrating observation, who thought that
the transmission of mental influence from the mother to the child was
neither impossible nor even very improbable. In 1893 he published a
long letter detailing cases, which he prefaced by saying:--

    The popular belief that prenatal influences on the mother affect
    the offspring physically, producing moles and other birth-marks,
    and even malformations of a more or less serious character, is
    said to be entirely unsupported by any trustworthy facts, and it
    is also rejected by physiologists on theoretical grounds. But I
    am not aware that the question of purely mental effects arising
    from prenatal mental influences on the mother has been separately
    studied. Our ignorance of the causes, or at least of the whole
    series of causes, that determine individual character is so great,
    that such transmission of mental influences will hardly be held to
    be impossible or even very improbable. It is one of those questions
    on which our minds should remain open, and on which we should be
    ready to receive and discuss whatever evidence is available; and
    should a _primâ facie_ case be made out, seek for confirmation
    by some form of experiment or observation, which is perhaps less
    difficult than at first sight it may appear to be.

    In one of the works of George or Andrew Combe, I remember a
    reference to a case in which the character of a child appeared to
    have been modified by the prenatal reading of its mother, and the
    author, if I mistake not, accepted the result as probable, if not
    demonstrated. I think, therefore, that it will be advisable to make
    public some interesting cases of such modification of character
    which have been sent me by an Australian lady in consequence
    of reading my recent articles on the question whether acquired
    characters are inherited. The value of these cases depends on their
    differential character. Two mothers state that in each of their
    children (three in one case and four in the other) the character
    of the child very distinctly indicated the prenatal occupations
    and mental interests of the mother, though at the time they were
    manifested in the child they had ceased to occupy the parent, so
    that the result cannot be explained by imitation. The second mother
    referred to by my correspondent only gives cases observed in other
    families which do not go beyond ordinary heredity.

    ... Changes in mode of life and in intellectual occupation are
    so frequent among all classes that materials must exist for
    determining whether such changes during the prenatal period have
    any influence on the character of the offspring. The present
    communication may perhaps induce ladies who have undergone such
    changes, and who have large families, to state whether they
    can trace any corresponding effect on the character of their
    children.--_Nature_, August 24 1893, pp. 389, 390.

Yet this suggestive pronouncement of the world-famous naturalist has
never been seriously followed up by scientists.

I think the time is now ripe for a definite statement that: _The view
that the pregnant woman can and does influence the mental states of the
future child is to-day a scientific hypothesis which may be shortly
proved_. I make this definite statement, in conjunction with the
cognate and illuminating facts from other fields of research, a few of
which are discussed in the following pages.

That our mental states can affect, not only our spirits and our
points of view, but actually the physical structure of our bodies, is
demonstrable in a hundred different ways, and appears either to be
proved or merely suggested according to the bias and temperament of the
one to whom the demonstration is made. But there is one at least of
these physical correlations which can be demonstrated with scientific
thoroughness, and which proves beyond doubt that the mental state of
the mother _has_ a reaction upon her infant even after it has severed
its physical connection with her, and is a baby of a few months old.
This fact is that a nursing mother who is subjected to a violent shock
which results in a paroxysm of temper or of terror in her own mind,
conveys the physical result of this to her infant when next she nurses
it, so that the child has either an attack of indigestion or a fit.
The effect of the mother’s mental state is transmitted by the influence
on the milk, the chemical composition of which is subtly altered by her
nervous paroxysm, and which thus acts as a poison to the infant.

A much more subtle and closer correlation must exist between the
mother’s mental states and the child when it is still not yet free and
independent in the outer environment of the world but while it finds
in her body its entire environment, its protection and the resources
out of which it is building its own structure, while the blood and
the tissues of her body form its whole world, while through them and
through them alone can it obtain all its nourishment.

True, the result of the mental state of the mother which we can see
is, apparently, merely the physical result on the child’s digestion of
the milk which has become poisoned: but to stop at this point like a
jibbing mule, and to refuse to take the further step in the argument
because the child is yet too young for us to understand its resulting
mental states, which reason indicates must be correlated with its
poisoned digestive system, is to defraud the mind of the logical
conclusion of a sequence of ideas.

The argument is as follows:--

(_a_) The mother’s intense _mental_ experience and consequent nervous
paroxysm has a physical result upon the composition of her milk
(presumably, therefore, upon other portions of her body, though this is
irrelevant for the moment);

(_b_) This physically altered milk has a physical effect upon the
infant who shows other and more extreme forms of physical distress;

(_c_) This physical distress must obviously to some greater or lesser
degree, affect the child’s nervous system; and (which is the point
where the old-fashioned will break off);

(_d_) Consequently the child’s mental state will be affected--although
it is too young to translate this into conscious forms.

       *       *       *       *       *

Were I to make this the main thesis of my book, examples of the effect
of mental states on bodily functions could be readily multiplied, and
illustrations drawn from facts quoted in other connections could be
found in a great number of medical works. I here bring together a few
which when placed in juxtaposition offer if not proof, yet such strong
support of my theme as to place it in the realm of the scientifically
ascertainable. For instance, Blair Bell in _The Sex Complex_, 1916,
says:--

    Religious manias may lead to ideas which fill the patient with
    abhorrence of sexual intercourse, and in this way directly
    interfere with the genital functions. There is indeed no doubt
    whatsoever that the mind influences function just as function
    influences the mind; for example, it has been shown that fright
    leads to an immediate increase in the output of suprarenin, and we
    know well from constant clinical observations that hypothyroidism
    leads to mental depression (pp. 209 and 210).

and Havelock Ellis in _The Psychology of Sex_, vol. 5, 1912, says:--

    We can, again, as suggested by Féré, very well believe that the
    maternal emotions act upon the womb and produce various kinds and
    degrees of pressure on the child within, so that the apparently
    active movements of the _fœtus_ may be really consecutive on
    unconscious maternal excitations. We may also believe that, as
    suggested by John Thomson, there are slight incoördinations _in
    utero_, a kind of developmental neurosis, produced by some slight
    lack of harmony of whatever origin and leading to the production
    of malformations. We know, finally, that, as Féré and others have
    repeatedly demonstrated during recent years by experiments on
    chickens, etc., very subtle agents, even odors, may profoundly
    affect embryonic development and produce deformity. But how the
    mother’s psychic disposition can, apart from heredity, affect
    specifically the physical conformation or even the psychic
    disposition of the child within her womb must remain for the
    present an insoluble mystery, even if we feel disposed to conclude
    that in some cases such action seems to be indicated.

Direct evidence of the physical aspect of my thesis is found in the
fact quoted by Marshall in _The Physiology of Reproduction_, 1910, p.
566:--

    So also it has been found that immunity from disease may be
    acquired by young animals being suckled by a female which had
    previously become immune, the antibody to the disease being
    absorbed in the ingested milk.

Further argument upon these lines might well be brought forward in
favour of the view that the potential mother, during the months whilst
she is acting as the child’s total environment in all physical ways,
is also through her mental states and conditions affecting the child’s
ultimate mentality and artistic and spiritual powers.

This subtle control exerted over the formation of the child may be
visualized as more like some effect parallel to the remote influences
of the internal secretions in controlling the other organs of the body
than the more mechanical picture of things visualized by the Mendelians
and those who concentrate on the purely physical and material aspects
of heredity as related to chromosome structure.

The tendency in recent years in biological work has been far too
much to lay stress upon the curiously mathematical laws Mendel
discovered, and consequently to concentrate attention upon the physical
chromosomes as containing the factors which carry hereditary qualities.
Physiologists are now making an attempt to bring back into the
treatment of life a more rational outlook, and nothing has contributed
more to the scientific basis of this than the recent following up
of the suggestions made so long ago as 1869 by Brown-Séquard. Since
Starling named the internal secretions Hormones (see the Croonian
Lecture, 1905) they have been much discussed by physiologists and some
medical men (see for instance the recent work of Blair Bell, _The Sex
Complex_, 1916 already quoted).

To form a rough mental picture of what is happening one must combine
the physiological and the mechanical outlooks. One then obtains the
idea that the mother is, through her mental states, affecting and
to some extent controlling the production of the various internal
secretions, and other more subtle and still undetected influences
from various organs upon other organs, and that, in so doing she is
making the environment for the various hereditary factors, in which
their potentialities find it possible to develop or to be suppressed
according to the circumstances which she thus creates. As is now
beginning to be realized, we all have an immense number of latent
potentialities, which may lie dormant and develop only under suitable
circumstances.

Thus in my view the mother may actually and in every sense
fundamentally influence and control the character of her child, working
through the remote effects of internal secretions which play on the
complex material factors of hereditary qualities which form the
material basis of the child’s potentialities.

Thus both heredity and environment have a vital part to play in
building character, _but greater than either is the subtler environment
within the prospective mother created by her during the nine antenatal
months_.

Sometimes people who would otherwise like to believe that a mother has
this power, are deterred by their own experience or that of others, who
have, under conditions of distress and unfavourable circumstances, had
children whose dispositions seem not to have suffered, but appear as
sunny and happy as a child apparently conceived under more favourable
circumstances. Here, however, one is immediately faced by the
difficulties of accurate observation entailing a large number of data
which tend to cancel out; for the mother who may personally have been
below her usual standard of health and spirits while bearing the child
may, nevertheless, actually be in such a good physical condition, or be
a member of such a sound, healthy stock that the child’s heredity was
better than that of the average human being, and consequently that the
child itself was provided with a healthy well-run body.

While to contrast with it and apparently to refute my thesis, there
may be a mother full of the most ardent hopes and buoyant spirit,
looking forward with supreme joy to the advent of her baby, doing all
she can to give it every beautiful mental impression and physical
health, whose work may yet be undone by some cruel chance, such as
venereal infection, or some local malformation which has resulted in
weakness in, let us say, the child’s digestion. We all know how peevish
mere indigestion will make anybody. Or she, the well-intentioned and
outwardly well-circumstanced mother may, unknown to herself, have been
battling against the cruel handicap in some racial, heritable defect
in her husband; the child, therefore, may, with all her efforts, yet
fail to be joyous owing to the too strong physical bias which chance or
heritable disease has given it.

The existence of such apparently conflicting and contradictory
individual instances in no way refutes my main thesis, which is that
granted equal conditions of clean and wholesome ancestry, granted
equally favourable conditions of health and nutrition for the mother
during her period of carrying the child, that that child benefits and
is superior to the other who has had the advantage of a happy mother’s
conscious effort to transmit to it a wide and generally intellectual
and spiritual interest in the great and beautiful things of the world.

This fact is often illustrated in the different children of the same
parents. Of children born under as nearly identical circumstances
as may be possible within a year or two of time, the one may have a
totally different disposition with totally different qualities from the
other. The chance of birth, the inheritance of the innumerable possible
characteristics latent in both parents might be sufficient to account
for this were chance alone at work, but very often information may be
obtained from the observant mother which correlates her own state while
carrying the child with the after condition of the child itself.

One rather striking instance of such a correlation is by a curious
chance known to me, and should be of general interest. Oscar Wilde,
whose genius was sullied by terrible sex crimes, which he expiated
in prison, is known to all the world as a type whose distressing
perversion is a racial loss. His mother once confided to an old friend
that all the time she was carrying her son Oscar, she was intensely and
passionately desiring a daughter, visualizing a girl, and, so far as
was possible, using all the intensity of purpose which she possessed to
have a girl, and that she often in after years blamed herself bitterly,
because she felt that possibly his perverted proclivities were due to
some influence she might have had upon him while his tiny body was
being moulded.

Evidence upon this subject of the power or otherwise of the mother
to influence her coming child is wanted, and it is very difficult to
obtain, partly because of the reticence of those who have been through
the dim and secret mysteries of motherhood, and partly because their
accuracy cannot well be tested until after the child has reached
maturity. In these after years the mother is likely to be swayed by the
course the child’s life has taken, into unconsciously laying stress
upon one or other point which may seem correlated with its after
achievements.

Evidence, however, in the form of notes kept during the time the
mother is carrying the child which may be compared with the child’s
life in later years are very valuable, and, if any readers have such
with which they would entrust me, a sufficient body of such evidence
might possibly be accumulated to assist materially in the formation of
a strong spiritual asset in the creation of the best possible human
beings.

The father who desires to influence his child must do so through the
mother: had clever men more generally realized this we should have
heard less of the lament that clever men so often have stupid sons.

Of the more physical aspects of the mother’s power to influence
the form of the development of her growing child we have abundant
evidence. If the mother is starved, and by starved I mean less the
actual starvation from want of food than the subtler starvation of
improper food or food lacking in the truly vital elements, then the
child visibly suffers. For instance, rickets, a disease of grave racial
significance to which reference has already been made (see Chapter II),
is due to the lack of certain necessary elements in the food.

A simple diet, the simpler the better, is sufficient adequately to
provide all the essentials of nourishment for the mother and her coming
child, and much indeed may be done for the general health and beauty of
the child by providing the mother with the best form of material from
which the embryo may build itself. The use of foods containing large
quantities of vitamine (real butter and oranges, for instance, are
specially good) is very advisable. They are not only enriching in their
action in assisting true assimilation of other foods, but they probably
tend to make good the general drain on the mother’s vitality which
would naturally take place were she not amply provided with these most
subtle ingredients, which, though present in such minute quantities in
fresh food, are yet of incalculable value. The effect of proper and
specially adapted dieting, not only on the health of the mother, but
also on the beauty and general vigour of the child, is a thing which
is particularly expressed by various writers who have followed up the
early experiments on diet made by Dr. Trall.[5]

[5] This book has been reprinted in a modern expurgated and mutilated
edition, which deprives the reader of the most valuable portions of the
author’s work. I should advise readers to see one of the original early
editions if they desire to read the book intended by the author for the
public.

There is also Dr. Alice Stockham’s book, _Tokology_, to which I have
previously drawn attention. Although, as I then said, it contains
errors of a comparatively trivial nature such as calling carbonaceous
material “carbonates,” which may have been sufficient to prejudice
the scientific mind against the rest of her work, it contains the
profound and valuable message Mr. Rowbotham published in England in
1841, amplified, and to some extent enriched by this woman doctor’s
experience.

Those lovers who ardently desire their child and have a mental picture
of it long before its birth may delight in speaking of it to each other
as though it were, as indeed it is, alive. For this a name is required,
but in order to avoid the danger suggested on page 141, it is wiser
perhaps to choose the name of both a girl and a boy, the name which the
child would be called by according to its sex after birth, and, while
it is still unseen, to link the two together in speaking of the coming
child.

Sometimes for private reasons a girl in particular or a boy in
particular may be desired, but the well-balanced mind of a parent,
particularly of the first child, should welcome either a son or a
daughter, each of whom has its peculiar charms, and neither of whom
can be described as more valuable than the other. Our false estimate
of boys as superior is largely due to economic conditions and the
custom of male entail. This should, and of course will, be altered. It
is the first _child_, whether boy or girl is no matter, who is “the
first-born” with all that that connotes in rapture and wonder to its
parents.

Owing to the fact that more boys are born than girls, there is always
the greater chance of the birth of a boy than a girl. From this point
of view it would appear that girls are more precious, but boys are
oftener ailing and feeble and difficult to rear, so that it is perhaps
well that more of them should be born than of their stronger sisters.

Throughout its coming, the little one should be thought of in such a
way that it will be equally welcome whichever its sex, and thus be
given the best chance of developing fully and naturally in its own way.



CHAPTER XV

Evolving Types of Women

    Deliverance is not for me in renunciation. I feel the embrace of
    freedom in a thousand bonds of delight.

    Thou ever pourest for me the fresh draught of thy wine of various
    colours and fragrance, filling this earthen vessel to the brim.

    No, I will never shut the doors of my senses. The delights of sight
    and hearing and touch will bear thy delight.

    Yes, all my illusions will burn into illumination or joy, and all
    my desires ripen into fruits of love.

        TAGORE: _Gitanjali_.


One of the great sources of disharmony in our social life is the extent
of the extraordinary ignorance about ourselves which still persists.
From this spring our conflicting opinions and diametrically opposed
views, and also the apparently self-contradictory evidence on almost
any point of fundamental importance which is brought before the public.

In no respect is there more conflict of opinion than concerning the age
at which a woman should marry and become a mother. On the one hand,
we have advocates of very early motherhood, and they point to the fact
that a girl of seventeen is often already a woman and strongly sexed;
they point to the hackneyed statement “that a girl matures sooner than
a boy”; they point to the fine and healthy babies which very young
mothers may bear and to the greater pliability and ease of birth,
and these facts and their arguments may appear conclusive. On the
other hand, the actual experience of many people conflicts with these
apparently justified conclusions.

All the highly evolved races tend to prolong childhood and youth. All
tend to replace early marriage by later marriage and parenthood to the
obvious advantage of the race.

Marriage and parenthood at fourteen, fifteen and sixteen, which once
were common in almost every country, are being replaced by later
marriage and parenthood. As Finot 1913 says:--

    A mystic chain appears to attach the age for love to the
    consideration enjoyed by women. In the Far East, woman is offered
    very young to the passion of man, and disappears from existence at
    the time her contemporaries are just beginning to live. Love, for
    this very reason, has a purely sensual stamp, degrading to man and
    to woman. The lengthening of the age of love elevates the dignity,
    and at the same time increases the longevity, of woman. Beyond
    the age of thirty or forty the woman, dead to love, was fit only
    for religion or witchcraft. Her life was shattered. Prematurely
    aged she went out of the living world. The prolonged summer of
    Saint-Martin in women will doubtless have consequences which
    we should be wrong to fear. There is a solidarity of ages. The
    cares bestowed on the child benefit the old man. The enlargement
    of the age of maturity allows the child longer to enjoy the
    years of life that are intended to form bodies and souls.... The
    sentimental life of the country has undergone similar results.
    Balzac, in proclaiming the right to love on the part of the woman
    of thirty, aroused in his contemporaries astonishment bordering on
    indignation. In his day, was not a man of forty-four considered
    an old man?[6] Let us not forget that forty or fifty years before
    Balzac, a philosopher like Charles Fourier, despairing of the
    sentimental fate of young girls who had not found a husband before
    the age of ... eighteen years, claimed for them the right to throw
    propriety to the winds. According to the author of the _Théorie des
    Quatre-Mouvements_,[7] this was almost the critical age (_Problems
    of the Sexes_, transl. Jean Finot 1913).

[6] Balzac: _Physiologie du Mariage_.

[7] Charles Fourier, Leipzig, 1808.

The relative ages of husband and wife also have their influence, but
should, to some extent, depend more on their _physiological_ age than
on their actual years. They should, however, not be widely different.
As Saleeby says:--

    The greater the seniority of the husband, the more widowhood will
    there be in a society. Every economic tendency, every demand for
    a higher standard of life, every aggravation for the struggle for
    existence, every increment of the burden of the defective-minded,
    tending to increase the man’s age at marriage, which, on the
    whole, involves also increasing his seniority--contributes to the
    amount of widowhood in a nation.

    We, therefore, see that, as might have been expected, this question
    of the age ratio in marriage, though first to be considered from
    the average point of view of the girl, has a far wider social
    significance. First, for herself, the greater her husband’s
    seniority, the greater are her chances of widowhood, which is
    in any case the destiny of an enormous preponderance of married
    women. But further, the existence of widowhood is a fact of great
    social importance because it so often means unaided motherhood, and
    because, even when it does not, the abominable economic position of
    women in modern society bears hardly upon her. It is not necessary
    to pursue this subject further at the present time. But it is
    well to insist that this seniority of the husband has remoter
    consequences far too important to be so commonly overlooked (_Woman
    and Womanhood_, 1912).

I have observed many girls, who were in every true sense of the word
girls (that is unconscious of personal sex feeling, still growing in
bodily stature and still developing in internal organization) until
they were nearly thirty years of age. In my opinion, the girl who
is thoroughly well-balanced, with an active brain, a well-developed
normally sexed body, natural artistic and social instincts is not
more than a child at seventeen, and to marry her at that age or
anything like it is to force her artificially, and to wither off her
potentialities.

The type of woman who really counts in our modern civilization is,
as a rule, not of age until she is nearly thirty. Not only does she
_not_ mature sooner than a boy; she matures actually later than a
large number of men. I have now accumulated a wide and varied amount
of evidence in favour of the view which I here propound, namely, that
there is a most highly evolved type of woman in our midst. This type,
which it will be agreed is the most valuable we possess, encompasses
women of a wide range of potentialities; they have beautiful entirely
feminine bodies, with all feminine and womanly instincts well
developed, with a normal, indeed a rather strong, sex instinct and
acute personal desires which tend to be concentrated on one man and one
man alone. I will provisionally call this the late maturing type, for
such a woman is generally incapable of real sex experience till she
is about twenty-seven or thirty. I think that she is in line with the
highest branch of our evolution, that she represents the present flower
of human development, and that through her and her children the human
race has the best hope of evolving on to still higher planes--but, and
this is very important, she is not fitted for marriage until she is at
least twenty-seven, probably later, her best child-bearing years may be
after she is thirty-five, and her most brilliant and gifted children
are likely to be born when she is about forty.

Personal evidence, and also facts in the interesting letters sent
me by my readers have brought to my knowledge the existence of
an important proportion of women who are absolutely unconscious
of personal localized sex feeling until they are nearly or over
thirty--one woman was nearly fifty before she felt and knew the real
meaning of sex union though many years married.

From outward observation of the general physique of such of these women
as I have seen face to face, I may say that, as a rule, they retain
their youth long; they retain also a buoyancy and vitality which, if
they are properly treated, and have the good fortune to be married at
the right time to the right man, may remain with them almost throughout
their lives. Such women not only prolong their girlhood, they defer
their age. Such women have, of course, throughout the centuries
appeared from time to time, and I fancy have generally in the past,
and still often in the present, suffered acutely through marrying too
young. When they marry too young they tend, by the forcing of their
feelings, by the deadening through habit of their potentialities, by
the trampling on the unfolded possibilities within them, to be turned
artificially into a “cold type of woman.”

Women now older tell me of the fact that for the first years of
their married life they could give no response, but when they were
respectively twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one or more, they began first
to feel they were truly women. Young husbands have written to me of
their distress that their wives (aged about twenty to twenty-three),
delightful girls in every respect, seemed utterly incapable of
any response in the marital orgasm. Sometimes this depends on her
conformation, but such an incapacity I often attribute to the girl’s
marriage being premature. When she is twenty-seven or twenty-eight
perhaps her internal development will be complete, and she will then
be ripe for the full enjoyment of marriage: but if instead of a
considerate husband she marries one who merely uses her, she stands
little chance ever of knowing the proper relation of wifehood and
motherhood.

These facts which I could vary with details from individual
experiences, in my opinion, indicate a profound truth in the
development of the human race. It is this: not only do the higher races
of human beings have a prolonged childhood and youth, but the most
highly evolved, mentally, physically and racially, of our girls have
not finished their potential growth into maturity until they are in the
neighbourhood of thirty years of age.

Does this then mean that all marriage should be deferred till so late?
By no means, nor is the above conclusion any reflection on the type of
girl who ripens much more quickly. I fully recognize that from the
point of view of their sex potentialities some girls are complete women
at seventeen or eighteen, and that they may then be very strongly sexed
indeed. Such women should marry young.

The marked differentiation of type of these very notably different
women can be traced through many other aspects of their lives. I
consider, for instance, the type of whom I spoke in Chapter XII (who
has a natural desire for union, representing the highest and most
complex human union, the union of three) belongs very frequently to the
late maturing and the most highly evolved form of femininity.

It should be recognized that there are among us not only different
races, but that in the same stock, sometimes in the same family of
apparently no specially mixed ancestry, we may find one or more members
of the late maturing, others of the early maturing type. Sometimes of
two sisters, the elder may perhaps be still in mind a girl while her
younger sister is a woman, as can be observed by any one with a large
circle of acquaintances. It would be well, I think, if humanity, whose
proper study is mankind, were at least to know themselves sufficiently
well to realize the existence of such different types, and their
possible potential value as well as their differing needs. The energy
at present wasted in the acrid statement of conflicting views would
be so much better spent on the careful recording and recognizing of
varying types.

The advice to marry young, which is in every respect socially wise and
physiologically correct for some, should not be hurled indiscriminately
at all women, because for the late maturing such advice is socially
disadvantageous and physiologically wrong.

I am now ready to consider the question of the proper age for
motherhood about which an immense variety of opinion is expressed. The
general tendency has been, even in the last few years, to raise the
age at which a girl may marry, and to raise the age which the medical
profession advises as the earliest suitable for motherhood. But still
one often hears of elders, whom one would in other respects like to
follow, advising the early bearing of children.

Now I should like every potential parent to consider what type of child
they want. Do they want to secure healthy, jolly little animals with no
more brains than are sufficient to see them creditably through life? If
so, let them have their children very early. Such healthy sound people
with no special gifts are valuable, and there is much work in the world
for them to do. On the other hand, do they want to take the risk for
their child of a possibly less robust body, but with the possibility,
indeed, in healthy families, almost the certainty, of an immensely
greater brain power, and a more strongly developed temperament? Then
let them have their children late. And if a man desires to have a child
who may become one of the _master_ minds whose discoveries, whose
artistic creations, whose ruling power stamps itself upon the memory
of our race, whose name is handed down the ages, then let the father
who desires such a child mate himself with the long-young late-maturing
type of woman I have just described, and let her bear that child some
time between the age of thirty-five and forty-five.

How often one hears some version of the phrase: “Yes, it is so sad,
poor, dear Lord So-and-So, a charming man, but no brains at all; his
younger brother such a brilliant man; but that is always the way, the
eldest sons in the aristocracy do seem to get the gift of property
balanced by the lack of brains.” Now I enquire, and I should like my
readers to enquire, into the secret of this phenomenon, which is by
no means universal, but is sufficiently common to be endorsed. In my
opinion, the interpretation of this fact is that the earlier children
were born when the mother was still too young to endow them with
brains, particularly if the mother was one of the gifted and cultivated
women of the late-maturing type.

This also leads me to consider another generality which is frequently
used as an argument by those who oppose conscious and deliberate
parenthood. Some people say that by the direct control of the size
of the family to a small limited number which the parents definitely
desire, we would be eliminating genius from our midst, and their
argument runs: Look at Nelson, he was a fifth son; look at Sir Walter
Scott, he was a third son; and so on. This to the uncritical seems
conclusive, and many people of great capacity, ideals and heart, who
otherwise would be wholly on my side in my claim that every child born
shall be deliberately desired, and that all other conceptions shall
be consciously prevented, are swayed by this argument and say: “Yes,
your position would be obviously the right one for the race if it were
not that later children are so often the better.” I turn, therefore,
to a consideration of the life histories of these men’s mothers. Why
was Nelson the genius of his family? Because his mother was too young
to bear geniuses at the time she was bearing her elder children. But
this is not yet a sufficiently accurate consideration of the subject;
I want to know also of which type the mother was, for, in my opinion,
the right age for the parenthood of a woman depends also on the type
to which she belongs, whether the early maturing or the late maturing.
If she knows herself to be the latter, after it is patent, as it must
become patent to every one once the idea is placed before them, that
such women are in our midst, then that woman and her husband should
usually defer parenthood until she has reached at least thirty years of
age. If this were done, then not the fourth, fifth or seventh but the
first child would stand a very great chance of being a world leader,
a powerful mind, perhaps even a genius. First children have been
geniuses (Sir Isaac Newton was an only child); all depends on the age,
the conscious desire, the general type and the surrounding conditions
during prenatal state of her infant, of the mother who bears him and
the father from whom he also inherits potentialities.

A few investigations bearing on the effect of the parent’s age have
been published by the Eugenics Society and some individuals, but none
of these appear to me to be of any value, for none take into account
the necessary data concerning the type of the mother which I here point
out, and in all the calculations crude errors occur.

The best woman, with comparatively few exceptions, is already and will
still more in the future be the woman who, out of a long, healthy and
vitally active life, is called upon to spend but a comparatively small
proportion of her years in an _exclusive_ subservience to motherhood.
A woman should have eighty to ninety active years of life; if she bears
three or perhaps four children, she will, even if she gives up all her
normal activities during the later months of pregnancy and the earlier
of nursing, still have cut out of her life but a very small proportion
of its total. She should, indeed, after she once is a mother, always
devote a proportion of her energies to the necessary supervision of
her children’s growth and education, but with the increasing number of
schools and specialists, nurses, teachers and instructors of all sorts,
the individual mother has much less of the purely physical labour of
her children than formerly. That this is not only so, but is _approved_
by the State can be seen at once by imagining a working class mother
insisting on keeping her child at home all day under her personal
supervision--the School Inspector would step in and take the child from
her for a certain number of hours every day. But this book is primarily
for middle and upper class women, and for them motherhood increasingly
should mean a _widening_ of their interests and occupations.

The counter-idea still expressed, even by leading doctors and others,
is that the whole capability of the individual mother should be devoted
solely to contributing to her children. This is exemplified in the
recent statement of Blair Bell: “A normal woman, therefore, would not
exploit her capabilities for individual gain, but for the benefit of
her descendants.” This view is a false one and is based on a narrow
vision.

This pictures an endless chain of fruitless lives all looking ever
to some supreme future consummation which never materializes. By
means of this perpetual sinking of woman’s personality in a mistaken
interpretation of her duty to the race, every generation is sacrificed
in turn. The result has not been productive of good, happiness or
beauty for the majority. No; the individual woman, normal or better
than the average, _should_ use her intellect for her individual
gain in creative work; not only because of its value to the age and
community in which she lives, but also for the inheritance she may
thus give her children and so that when her children are grown up they
may find in their mother not only the kind attendant of their youth,
but their equal in achievement. With a woman of capacities perhaps
still exceptional, but by no means so rare as some men writers would
like to pretend, the pursuit of her work or profession and honourable
achievement in it is not at all incompatible with but is highly
beneficial to her motherhood. As Charlotte Gilman says:--

    No, the maternal sacrifice theory will not bear examination. As a
    sex specialized to reproduction, giving up all personal activity,
    all honest independence, all useful and progressive economic
    service for her glorious consecration to the uses of maternity,
    the human female has little to show in the way of results which
    can justify her position. Neither by the enormous percentage of
    children lost by death nor the low average health of those who
    survive, neither physical nor mental progress, give any proof to
    race advantage from the maternal sacrifice.--_Women and Economics._



CHAPTER XVI

Birth and Beauty

    “Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers. Thou
    knowest how to wait.

    Thy centuries follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.”

        TAGORE: _Gitanjali_.


When all goes well and there is no accidental hastening of the birth
by shock or jar which dislodges the child too soon, the birthday finds
its place in the ordinary rhythm of the woman’s existence. We speak
generally of the “nine months” during which the child is borne by its
mother, but this nine months is a fictitious number depending on our
calendar months, and the developing child is actually ten lunar months
within its mother. Just as the average almost universal period of
the woman’s rhythm has twenty-eight days cycle, so on this number of
days does the circle of months leading to birth depend. Ten months of
twenty-eight days each is the full period of development, at the close
of which the child seeks its exit through birth. As a rule the day
of birth corresponds to some extent, if not quite accurately, to the
former rhythm of her menstrual waves.

An interesting paper containing various scientific data (not all of
which are universally accepted) is to be found in the _Anat Anzeiger_
of 1897 by Beard. What is actually the spring behind this rhythm is as
yet largely unknown, but recent work on the internal secretions from
the ovary such as was described by Starling in the _Croonian Lecture_,
1905 (who quotes Marshall and Jolly and other workers), appears to
indicate that this function like so many others in our system is due
to the activities of certain glands yielding internal secretions.
These, penetrating the whole system, have a controlling influence upon
activities remote from their source.

For the birth itself, the mother should be in experienced hands,
preferably those of a highly trained and certified midwife or maternity
nurse such as Queen Charlotte’s or the London Hospital supplies, one
who is experienced in all that has to be done in normal, healthy
circumstances, and who can detect at once any necessity for specialized
help. If the mother has lived rightly and wisely, dieted as I suggest
and is properly formed (as, of course, should be assured through
examination some time before the birth is expected), the birth should
be, however terrible an experience, yet one which is safely passed.

In the days which follow she will have much to endure, and instead of
the peace and quietness which she expected, she will find that she
has constant disturbances incidental to the nursing of one who is, in
essentials, a surgical case.

Possibly due to the inconveniences involved in staying in bed, there
is a tendency at present to encourage the mother to get up and at
least walk about the room and be up for an hour or two within ten days
or less of the date of the birth. Almost every one with whom I have
come in contact, advises this, and in a certain school, particularly
those who go in for what is called “Twilight Sleep,” there is not only
an effort to get the mother up early, but a pride on the part of the
mother and her advisers when she gets up perhaps within two or three
days of the birth.

Some women who have had a good many children boast of how they are up
and about in ten days. I glance critically at all who tell me that,
examining both their figures and their general appearance. _Only one
woman of all who have ever discussed this matter with me urged the
entirely old-fashioned month in bed following the birth. But_, and
this is _very_ important, _she was the only one who, having had many
children, at the same time had done most notable and arduous brain
work, and also retained her youthful figure and general appearance_.

This quite exceptional and old-fashioned advice is what I would hand on
to women to-day. The modern craze for getting up quickly is absolutely
wrong, and has a fundamentally deleterious effect on the general health
of our women. I should go so far as to say that not only should a woman
stay in bed the entire month, but that she should for two weeks longer
scarcely put her foot to the ground. She may lie out of doors or on
sofas, but, after a birth, _she should lie about for the whole of six
weeks_.

This may startle my readers. I, who look so keenly into the future, who
am so progressive, so modern and so desirous of the great and rapid
evolution of women, to return to the old custom of our grandmothers,
and demand, not only the month in bed, to ask even more, that there
should be six weeks spent practically lying about all the time! Is
this not an anachronism? No. It will be observed that throughout this
and my other books, my advice always has a biological basis, depending
on the actual structure or the history of our bodies, and there is
a very profound and physiological basis for the advice I now give.
It is this--that not only during the birth is the whole system of
the mother to some extent jarred and shaken; she suffers in all her
nerves the sudden relief from the strain upon her muscles and in the
whole readjustment of her system an extremely profound shock, and the
treatment for shock entails rest. More than that, the womb which lies
centrally and is so important an organ in her body, so enormously
enlarged during the last months through which the child inhabited
it, returns to its permanent size slowly; its strong, muscular walls
tensely contract, but this contraction which reduces its size very
much in the first day or two does not complete itself, does not bring
the tissues back to the size which they will afterwards permanently
maintain, _until six weeks have elapsed_. For the whole of six weeks,
therefore, the womb will be larger and heavier than normal and with a
tendency to get out of place, while all the muscles of the body wall
are weakened and out of condition by being so long stretched. A woman,
therefore, should not put any strain on her muscles like standing
or walking or taking any active exercise before the six weeks has
elapsed, though she should, lying both on her back and on her face,
do exercises calculated to restore the strength of these muscles and
fit them to take on their work directly she rises. One exercise,
particularly valuable and but little known, is to raise the diaphragm
without breathing. This can be done during the six weeks in bed, but
is particularly valuable on first rising and standing or walking.
This internal pull upwards of all the organs strengthens both the
internal and the outer body wall muscles. Such control deliberately
and frequently exerted throughout the day does more perhaps than any
one other thing to retain a slender well-formed trunk. It has also a
curiously bracing and exhilarating mental effect, and as the action can
be done at any time unobserved, its effect can be utilized at will.
The ancient Greeks laid great stress on the value of control of the
diaphragm.

It may be argued that during the time the child was within it the womb
was very much larger than it is after birth, and nevertheless then
active walking exercise was recommended. Yes: but during that time the
womb was supported by the increased tension on the front muscles of the
body wall against which it pressed and was thus assisted in maintaining
its position; but after birth, while it is so very much smaller than
quite recently it has been, and, at the same time, while still much
larger than normal, and more than the weakened internal muscles are
prepared to support, it is no longer held firm by the tense body
wall, for the body wall is now limp, crumpled and almost incapable of
supporting any strain. If, therefore, the woman stands too soon, the
inner organs which are again beginning to find their natural place--the
long digestive tract and other organs--tend to flop downwards, to
bulge out the still loose and strained abdominal muscles, and press the
still too heavy womb out of its normal position, the position to which
it must return, and must permanently take up if the woman is to have
her general health maintained throughout the rest of her life. Hence,
before she sets foot to the ground she must lie the nature-decreed six
weeks, and meanwhile _exercise_ the abdominal muscles so as to prepare
them to act properly.

When I see and hear of women either forced or lured or eagerly getting
out of bed in ten days or a week after child birth, I wonder what will
happen to all those women ten or fifteen years hence. They will be
fortunate if they do not have what is now so increasingly prevalent,
namely some form of displacement of the womb with all its attendant
miseries of handicapped motherhood and wifehood. I maintain that it is
nothing short of cruelty and criminality to allow the modern woman to
get up quickly in the way she does. It may possibly be claimed by some
of the foolish and hardy pioneers of getting up rapidly, that when she
is a middle-aged or elderly woman she will not be suffering from the
slow relaxations and displacements which result from putting pressure
too soon on abdominal muscles unprepared to bear the strain. This
will not make things safe for the average woman however. It is not
realized how appalling is the prevalence of womb displacements among
the lower working-class women, those who are forced by circumstances to
get up in a week or ten days and go back to work. I think the modern
increase in displacements in middle and upper class women is partly to
be traced to the tendency to get up too soon, and also to the impatient
practitioner’s use of instruments to hasten a birth which would come
naturally in good time. When once the perineal and inner supporting
muscles have been torn, they are too often mended superficially, but
inner tears are left which make the perineum an insufficient support
for the womb, of which the result is its slow and gradual dropping
out of place, which some years afterwards may acutely handicap the
unfortunate woman.

In the name of all the fond and happy mothers that I hope the future
may contain, I would urge every one who possibly can to _insist_ on
having six weeks of “lying in.” This is not only in the interests of
general health but of beauty. Too long have we become tolerant of the
hideous formation of the body which is common in older women. We have
domesticated some animals[8] solely for our own purposes, and they are
hideous indeed. Why should we women permit a comparable standard for
ourselves? Why not insist on at least as much care as is devoted to the
race-horse? Why not take a period of rest after the great effort of
maternity proportionately as long as a she-wolf or tigress takes in her
cave, fed by her mate while she lies about and plays with her cubs?[9]
The standard of beauty of the racing mare, of the wild tigress or
she-wolf is slender and not markedly different from that of its virgin
state. Such a standard, and not that of the over-taxed, man-used,
domesticated animals should be that on which we women should insist.

[8] The sow normally breeding once a year, artificially forced to breed
two or three times a year. Its appearance is proverbial.

[9] This has been reported to me by travellers and others, but I cannot
get an authoritative scientific record for the fact.

In this connection should be mentioned one other way in which the
following of Nature and obedience to her law works for good. In the
next chapter I mention the baby’s right to be fed by nature’s food, and
while the infant is nursing from its mother it stimulates contractions
in the womb which very much assist in bringing it to its right size and
position, and so the act of nursing benefits not only the infant but
its mother.

A number of researches by various experts have been made, which proves
that the womb reacts to the stimulus of suckling by the child. Pfister
(_Beit. z. Geb. u. Gyn._, 1901, vol. v, p. 421), for instance, found
that very definite contractions took place during the baby’s suckling,
particularly for the first eight days after its birth; also Temesváry
(_Journ. Obstet. and Gyn. Brit. Emp._, 1903, vol. iii, p. 511) found
that the natural involution of the womb after birth was distinctly more
rapid in those who nursed their babies than in those who did not.

Prolonging the nursing period does undoubtedly not tend to increase
the beauty of the woman’s bosom but to deteriorate it, but, for at any
rate the first few months, it is _very_ advantageous both to the mother
and to the child that she should feed it naturally. If throughout the
nursing period she slings her breast properly from above, and if when
the nursing period ceases she massages and treats the breast properly,
it should not lose its beauty in the way which is alas, to-day, too
general.

Mothers, in the self-sacrifice involved in their motherhood, too
often forget their duty to remain beautiful. All youth is revolted by
ugliness, consciously or unconsciously. A girl should not be indirectly
taught to dread motherhood herself by seeing the wreckage her own
mother has allowed it to make of her. A high demand for beauty of form
by mothers is not selfishness but a racial duty.



CHAPTER XVII

Baby’s Rights

    “The nation that first finds a practical reconciliation between
    science and idealism is likely to take the front place among the
    peoples of the world.”

        DEAN INGE: _Outspoken Essays_.


Baby’s rights are fundamental. They are:

To be wanted.

To be loved before birth as well as after birth.

To be given a body untainted by any heritable disease, uncontaminated
by any of the racial poisons.

To be fed on the food that nature supplies, or, if that fails, the very
nearest substitute that can be discovered.

To have fresh air to breathe; to play in the sunshine with his limbs
free in the air; to crawl about on sweet clean grass.

When he is good, to do what baby wants to do and not what his parents
want; for instance, to sleep most of his time, not to sit up and crow
in response to having his cheeks pinched or his sides tickled.

When he is naughty, to do what his parents want and not what he wants:
to be made to understand the “law of the jungle.” From his earliest
days he must be disciplined in relation to the great physical facts of
existence, to which he will always hereafter have to bow. The sooner he
comprehends this, the better for his future.

Most young mothers, even those who have had the advantage of highly
trained maternity nurses to assist them at first, later require
authoritative advice about how to treat the baby for whom they have
given so much, and to whom they wish to give every possible advantage.
Many books give advice to the young mother and to these she may turn.
I do not wish to duplicate what they say, but advise every one who has
an infant, even if they think they know all about the best method of
bringing it up, to possess a copy of Dr. Truby King’s _Baby and How to
Rear It_ for reference. It is the most practical, sensible and best
illustrated book of its kind.

There is, therefore, on the subject of baby’s material rights not very
much more that I need to say, but there is one elementary right very
generally overlooked, and that is the right to love in anticipation.

Baby’s right to be _wanted_ is an individual right which is of racial
importance. No human being should be brought into the world unless his
parents desire to take on the responsibility of that new life which
must, for so long, be dependent upon them.

Far too many of the present inhabitants of this earth who are _not_
wanted because of their inferiority, were children who came to
reluctant, perhaps horror-stricken, mothers. To this fact, I trace
very largely the mental and physical aberrations which are to-day so
prevalent; to this also I trace the bitterness, the unrest, the spirit
of strife and malignity which seem to be without precedent in the world
at present [see also _The Control of Parenthood_, final section, and,
for the remedy, my book, _Wise Parenthood_, both published by Putnam].

The warped and destructive impulse of revolution which is sweeping over
so many people at present must have its roots in some deep wrong.

Revolution is not a natural activity for human beings. Though the
revolutionary impulse has swept through sections of humanity many times
in its history, it is essentially unnatural, an indication of warping
and poisoning, and a cause of further and perhaps irreparable damage.

Happy people do not indulge in revolution. Happy people with a
deep sense of underlying contentment and satisfaction in life
may yet strive ardently to improve and beautify everything round
them. They strive in the same direction as the main current of
life--that is the growth and unfolding of ever increasing beauty. The
revolutionaries--bitter, soured and profoundly unhappy--pit their
strength against the normal stream of life and destroy, break down and
rob. Too long humanity has had to endure such outbreaks owing to its
general blindness and lack of understanding of their causes.

Until the scientific spirit of profound inquiry into fundamental causes
becomes general even in a small section of the community, superficial
and apparently obvious explanations are accepted to account for results
which really arise from profound and secret springs.

The “divine discontent” which has impelled humanity forward along the
path of constructive progress is a very different thing from the bitter
discontent which leads to revolutionary and destructive outbursts. The
village blacksmith of the well-known song, using his healthy muscles
on hard, useful work which gives him a deep physical satisfaction, may
feel the former and help forward the stream of progress in his village.

The aim of reformers to-day should be to provide for every one neither
ease nor comfort, nor high wages nor short hours, but the deeper
necessities of a full and contented life, bodies able to respond with
satisfaction to the strain of hard work performed under conditions
which satisfy the mind in the most fundamental way of all--the deep,
sub-conscious satisfaction which is given by the sweet smell of earth,
by fresh air and sunshine, and green things around one.

We draw from all these things some subtle ingredient without which
our natures are weakened so that a further strain sends them awry.
To-day we are so deeply involved with the hydra-headed monster of the
revolutionary spirit that there does not seem time to deal with it
radically, to attempt to understand it, and consequently to conquer
it for ever. Even now, when for the first time humanity is on a
large scale beginning to tackle fundamental problems, I have seen no
indication that the source of revolution is being sought for in the
right place.

What is the source of revolution?

The revolutionaries through the ages, feeling themselves jar with their
surroundings, have been ensnared by the nearest obvious things, the
happier surrounding of others. These they have endeavoured to snatch at
and destroy, thinking thereby to improve their own and their comrades’
lot. Their deductions, though profoundly false, have appeared even
obviously right to many.

External grievances are what the revolutionary is out to avenge:
external benefits are what he is out to gain. Generally this is
expressed in terms of higher wages, a share, or all, of the capital of
those supposed to be better off, or the material possessions of others.
These are the things that nearly all strikers and revolutionaries
are upsetting the world to get, thinking--perhaps sincerely--that
these things will give them the happiness for which, consciously or
unconsciously, they yearn. The truth is, however, that it is a much
more intimate thing than money or possessions which they need. They
need new bodies and new hearts.

Most of the revolutionaries I have met are people who have been warped
or stunted in their own personal growth. One sees upon their minds or
bodies the marks and scars of dwarfing, stunting or lack of balance.
They have known wretchedness both in themselves and in their families
far more intimate and penetrating than that of mere poverty.

That, they may answer, is an external grievance which has been imposed
upon them by society. In effect they say: “Society has starved us,
given us bad conditions.” Thus they foster a grievance against
“society” in their minds. One bitter leader said to me:--

    I was one of fourteen children, and my mother had only a little
    three-roomed cottage near Glasgow. We nearly starved when I was
    young. I know what the poor suffer at the hands of society.

But it was not society that put fourteen children into that cottage; it
was the mother herself. Her own ignorance, helpless ignorance perhaps,
was the source of her children’s misery. The most for which society can
be blamed concerning that family is in tolerating such a plague-spot of
ignorance in its midst. Nor is this pestilential ignorance by any means
only confined to the financially poor.

This country, and nearly all the world, has innumerable homes in which
the seed of revolution is sown in myriads of minds from the moment they
are conceived. Revolted, horror-stricken mothers bear children whose
coming birth they fear.

A starved, stunted outlook is stamped upon their brains and bodies
in the most intimate manner before they come into the world, so
oriented towards it that they _must_ run counter to the healthy, happy
constructive stream of human life.

What wonder at the rotten conditions of our population when these are
common experiences of the mothers of our race:--

    For fifteen years I was in a very poor state of health owing to
    continual pregnancy. As soon as I was over one trouble it was
    started all over again.[10]

[10] I refer the reader to that poignant book, _Maternity, Letters from
Working Women_, collected by the Women’s Co-operative Guild. Bell, 1915.

Again:--

    During pregnancy I suffered much. When at the end of ten years I
    determined that this state of things should not go on any longer.

Again:--

    My grandmother had twenty children. Only eight lived to about
    fourteen years; only two to a good old age.

Again:--

    I cannot tell you all my sufferings during the time of motherhood.
    I thought, like hundreds of women to-day, that it was only
    natural, and that you had to bear it. I had three children and one
    miscarriage in three years.

Need I go on?

There lies the real root of revolution.

The secret revolt and bitterness which permeates every fibre of the
unwillingly pregnant and suffering mothers has been finding its
expression in the lives and deeds of their children. We have been
breeding revolutionaries through the ages and at an increasing rate
since the crowding into cities began, and women were forced to bear
children beyond their strength and desires in increasingly unnatural
conditions.

Also since women have heard rumours that such enslaved motherhood is
not necessary, that the wise know a way of keeping their motherhood
voluntary, the revolt in the mother has become conscious with
consequent injury to the child.

Increasingly, the first of baby’s rights is to be _wanted_.

Concerning baby’s right to be fed on the food that nature supplies, or
if that fails on the very nearest substitute that can be discovered,
there are to-day so many who urge that an infant shall be fed by
its own mother, that it is perhaps needless to repeat arguments so
impressive. Nevertheless, perhaps it is as well to remind young
mothers of two or three of the most vital facts. The first is that
no artificial substitute, however perfectly prepared and chemically
analysed, can possibly give those very subtle constituents which are
found in the mother’s own milk and which vary from individual to
individual. These probably are in the nature of the vitamines now so
well known in fresh food, but they are something more specifically
individual than can be scientifically detected. The fresh milk of its
own mother has a peculiar value to the child which is greater than that
of any foster mother.

For this reason alone, were it the only one, every young mother should
nurse her own baby if possible; but, on the other hand, to-day it
not infrequently happens that the mother may have an apparent flow
of milk, quite sufficient for the infant in quantity, but that milk
may be devoid of the necessary supply of fat or sugars or some other
ingredient for complete nutriment. When this is so, it is often wisest
to allow the mother to nurse the child partly and to supplement its
diet by other milk.

Various schools of doctors and maternity nurses have differed even on
this matter, but it is quite obvious that if the actual food value of
the mother’s milk is below a certain point then the added value of its
individual vitamine-like qualities will not wholly compensate for the
loss of actual nourishment.

Among baby’s rights, I should perhaps also make it clear that there is
his right that he should not be used as a bulwark between his mother
and another baby in a way which is sometimes recommended so that a
mother may go on nursing her infant for a very long time, sometimes
even into its second year, in the hope that this nursing may prevent
her conceiving again. Such a course of action is very harmful both to
the child and to her and should never be followed. Such a practice is,
of course, much less common in this country (except among aliens) than
it is abroad where I have seen healthy children of even three or four
years of age nursing upon their mother’s knees.

In these days, perhaps it is hardly necessary to accentuate baby’s
other rights since the century of the child dawned a generation ago.
To-day it is perhaps almost more important to accentuate the rights
of others who exist in the neighbourhood of a baby. But on the other
hand if one looks penetratingly at the whole problem of character
development, one sees that among baby’s rights is its right to be
trained from the very first so that its life shall be as little
hindered by friction as may be possible: that it should be taught the
elementary rules of conduct and necessary conformity with the hard
material facts of existence from the very first. A wise nurse’s or
mother’s training from the earliest weeks of infancy may make or mar a
future man’s or woman’s chance of getting on in the world and making
a success of their lives, by making or marring the character, the
capacity to obey, the formation of regular and hygienic habits and the
realization of the physical facts of the world.

The ancient Greeks taught their youth to reverence that which was
beneath them, that which was around them, and that which was above
them. In my opinion this right of youth to be placed in its proper
orientation in relation to the world has been neglected of late. We are
suffering from the wayward revolt from an earlier and perhaps harsher
type of mistake, that of too greatly controlling and thwarting the
child’s impulses. We must maintain a just balance and return to the due
mean in which the right of a child, not only to be well born but well
trained, is universally recognized.



CHAPTER XVIII

The Weakest Link in the Human Chain

    “This shall be thy reward--that the ideal shall be real to thee.”

        OLIVE SCHREINER: _Dreams_.


Proverbs innumerable and daily experience have familiarized every one
with the idea that the citizen is moulded and his or her essential
characteristics determined in childhood, and as a result of childhood’s
training. The most profoundly operative of all his qualities is his
potential sex attitude, because it is that which determines his
experience of sex and marriage, which colours his thoughts towards
women throughout his life, which inclines his mind nobly towards his
own racial actions or which leaves him weak and frivolous in his
attitude towards the greatest profundities of life.

Children, otherwise brought up with every care and forethought,
surrounded by all that love and money can give them, are too generally
left, without their mother’s guidance or their father’s wisdom, to
discover the great facts of life partly by instinct and partly from
the vulgar talk of servants or soiled children a little older than
themselves. Worse even than this takes place, because most generally in
this connection they not only do not hear the truth from their mother’s
lips, but they learn from her their most influential and earliest
lesson in lying.

The curious thing about the particularly pernicious form of lying which
deals with racial things in the presence of childhood is that we have
the habit of thinking it quite innocent. Indeed we have even acquired
the habit of thinking it one of the charming form of lies; hence when
we are in a reforming mood, seeking for the origins of the wrongs we
are trying to put right, we pass these “charming” lies by, thinking
them harmless.

Where did each one of us first learn to lie?

_Nearly every one who is now grown up got his (or her) first lesson in
lying at his mother’s knee._ To the little child, in his narrow but
ever widening world, the mother is the supreme ruler, the all-wise
provider of food, clothes, pleasures and pains. The mother (the child
instinctively feels) must be also the source of wisdom.

Question after question about himself and his surroundings springs
up in the baby mind. Mother is asked them all, and for every one
she has some sort of an answer. Then inevitably, at three or four,
or five years old comes the question:--“Mother, where did you find
me?”--“Mother, how was I born?”

Then comes the lie.

The child is told about the doctor bringing him in a bag--or a stork
flying in through the window--or the accidental finding under the
gooseberry bush.

All children delight in fairy tales, but instinctively they know very
well the difference between a fairy tale which is recounted to them as
a story in answer to their mood of “make-believe” and a fiction which
is putting them off when they are seeking the truth.

If the mother who feels herself too ignorant or too self-conscious to
answer the truth to the child’s questions takes him on her knee and
deliberately tells him in a “make-believe” mood a fairy tale, the child
will then not feel that the mother has lied. _He will feel, however,
that he must ask some one else for the truth._

But most mothers give the answer containing the fiction of the
gooseberry bush, or whatever it may be, in a manner indicating that
that is what the child must believe, and the child receives the
information as a serious answer to his serious question. It is then a
lie, and a pernicious lie.

Racial knowledge, instinct, whatever you like to call it, is subtler
and stronger in baby minds than we dulled grown-ups are inclined to
think. The youngest child has a half-consciousness that what its mother
said in answer to this question was not true.

Nurse, or auntie, a friend’s governess, or any one else who seems wise
and powerful, is asked the same question when mother is not there,
and the chances are that if mother had given the stork version auntie
gives the gooseberry bush or some other fiction which she particularly
favours.

The baby ponders intermittently, inconsequently, perhaps at long
intervals, perhaps after years, but ultimately it realizes that its
mother lied to it.

In this way infinite injury has been done to the whole human stock,
and more particularly women have suffered from the dishonesty and the
inherent incapacity of our society to be frank and truthful about
the most profound and the most terrible aspects of sex, namely, its
diseases. A wife or a mother has the right to be told the truth.

Women, and particularly mothers, have been outrageously wronged by the
deliberate lies and untruthful atmosphere about the greater problems
of sex in which the learned have enshrouded them: but mothers have
themselves given the first bent to the little sprouting twig of that
tree of knowledge, and they have bent it _away_ from the sunlight of
truth and clean and happy understanding.

The mother’s excuse is, or would be if she felt herself in any way to
blame (which, by the way, deplorably, she very seldom does) that these
terrible mysteries of origin are not suitable for the little innocent
child to ponder over. She thinks they would shock him. But here the
mother is profoundly mistaken.

_The age of innocence is the age when all knowledge is pure._ At three,
four, or five years old, everything is taken for granted--everything in
the universe is equally a surprise, and is at the same time accepted
without question as being in the natural course of events. If true
answers were given to the tiny child’s questions, they would seem quite
rational--not in the least more surprising than the fact that oak trees
grow from acorns, or that the cook gets a jam tart out of a hot oven.

All the world’s events seem magic at that age, and if no exceptional
mystery were made of the magic of his own advent, the child would
feel it as natural as all the rest, and having asked the question and
obtained satisfactory, simple unaccentuated answers, would let his
little mind run on to the thousand other questions he wants to ask. The
essential racial knowledge would slip naturally and sweetly into his
mind mingled with a myriad other new impressions.

There is no self-consciousness, no personal shamefacedness, about a
tiny child. It accepts the great truths of the universe in the grand
manner.

If the mother has never failed her child, has always given it what she
could of wisdom, she will retain his trust and his confidence. When he
gets a little older she can teach him to go to no one else for talk
about the intimacies of life, which the child is quick to realize are
not discussed openly amongst strangers.

Then, later on, when personal consciousness and shyness begin, there
need not be the acute constraint and tension of the shame-faced
elder speaking to a mind awakening to itself. Deep in the child’s
consciousness, deeper even than its conscious memory goes, the true big
facts are planted.

To tell a child of twelve or fourteen the truth is, for most parents,
an impossibly difficult matter. The reason for this is that it is then
too late for essentials; only details are then suitable or necessary.

Little children spend much of their early time in exploring themselves
and their immediate surroundings--all is mysterious, all at first
unknown. Their own feet and hands, their powers of locomotion and of
throwing some object to a distance, the curls of their own hair, the
pain they encounter in their bodies when explorations bring them in
contact with sharp angles: all are equally mysterious, together forming
a wonder-world. And babies are very young indeed when they explore with
all the rest of their bodies, the rudiments of those of their racial
organs with which they can acquaint themselves. _In my opinion, the
attitude of a man or woman through life is largely determined by the
attitude adopted by the mother towards the racial organs_ BEFORE _the
child was old enough consciously to remember any instruction that was
imparted_.

Advice is often given in these more enlightened days to instruct your
boy or girl in his racial power or duties when he or she is ten or
twelve years old. This to many seems very young, and they hesitate
and defer it till they are older and “can understand better.” In my
opinion, this is already eight or ten years too late.

_The child’s first instruction in its attitude towards its sex organs,
its first account of the generation of human beings, should be given
when it is two or three years old_; given with other instruction, of
which it is still too young to comprehend more than part, but which
it is nevertheless old enough to comprehend in part. Very simple
instruction given reverently at suitable opportunities at that early
age will impress itself upon the very _texture_ of the child’s mind,
before the time of actual memories, so that from the very first
possible beginnings its tendencies are in the direction of truth and
reverent understanding.

_A child so tiny will usually not remember one word of what was said
to it, but the effects on his outlook will be deep._ For at that early
age, children are meditatively absorbing and being impressed by the
psychological states and feelings of their instructors and companions,
and if, in these very earliest months, the mother or guardian makes the
mistake of treating ribaldly the tiny organs or of speaking lightly in
the child’s presence, or of directly lying to the child about these
facts, that child receives a mental warp and injury which nothing can
ever eradicate entirely, which may in later years through bitter and
befouling experiences be lived down as an old scar that has healed, but
which will have permanently injured it.

I hold this to be a profound truth, and one which it is urgent that
humanity should realize. I trust that my view will establish itself on
every hand. If that were my way, I could easily write a whole volume
on this theme, and coin a polysyllabic terminology in which to mould
and harden thought on the subject. But I prefer that a few simple words
should slip like vital seed into the hearts of mothers, and that they
may mould the race.

It is ignorance of this truth which has led to the dishonouring and
befouling of pure and beautiful youth, which is the original source of
the greater part of all the social troubles and the sex difficulties of
adolescence.

_The tiny child of two or three years old, just beginning to perceive
and piece together the psychological impressions stamped upon it by
its environment and the mind-states of those around it, is the weakest
link in the chain of our social consciousness._ Physically, the new
born babe for the first few days of its life is the weakest link in
the chain, the most liable physically to extinction, but spiritually,
socially the link most liable to warping, even destruction, is the
awakening mind, the still half-sleeping consciousness, of the child
between two and three years old.

The mother or guardian then who desires her son or daughter to face
the great facts of life beautifully and profoundly should begin from
the first to mould that attitude in the child. It may appear to the
unthinking like building castles in the sand even to hint at truths
which it cannot comprehend to a child who remembers nothing of the
words used in later years. This is not so. What the child absorbs is
less the actual words than the tone of voice, the mode of expression
that spiritually impresses itself upon its own little soul.

Then there comes a later stage for most civilized human beings,
usually after they are three years old, when there arises the
possibility of permanent consciousness through permanent and specific
memory of things seen, done or heard. Most grown-ups of the present
generation will have some vivid memory, dating back to when they
were between three and four years old, when they received a strong
mental impression that grown-ups were lying to them or that there
was something funny or silly in questions which they asked. Perhaps
they noticed that whilst Jack the Giant Killer was taken seriously,
questions about where pussy got her kittens were laughed at. Almost
each one of us who is to-day grown up then received some grievous
injury. This time is of great importance in the psychology not only
of the child, but of the whole adult race arising from the growing up
of each child, for one’s earliest memories are few but very vivid. As
things are to-day, generally between the ages of three and four or so,
in the months which are likely to yield a lifelong memory, the spirit
is wounded by the shock of a serious lie.

When as a mother or father you are with your children it is vital to
be most careful to answer truly, and if possible beautifully, the
questions which arise. No one can foresee which question and answer may
make that terrible impression which lasts for a lifetime.

When your little son or daughter is about the age of three or four
or five, the day will come when you are asked questions about the
most fundamental facts in human life, and then the answers to these
questions contain the probability of a lifelong memory. Answer with the
_truth_.

Many parents are anxious to tell their children the great truths in
a wise and beautiful manner. But few feel that they know how to do
it, for it is a most difficult thing to know how to answer searching
questions about profound subjects, and particularly about those which
the community wrongly considers shameful. Each mother knows, or should
know, the temperament and needs of her child, so that the adaptation
of the advice I give should be varied to suit the individual child. In
essence, however, children’s demands at an early age are remarkably
similar, and the questions of children on birth and sex differ in form,
though seldom in substance.

The following conversation between a mother and her little son
indicates what seems to me the best way first to tell a child who has
reached the age when he may have lasting memory of the facts that he is
blindly seeking in his baby questions. It will not suffice to learn the
answers off by heart; the baby will then soon confound his elders, but
the substance of the conversation should prove useful.

The very first time the query comes: “Mother where did you get me?” the
mother must not divert the child’s interest, or hesitate, but should be
ready at once to answer:--

    “God and Daddy and I together made you, because we wanted you.[11]”

    [11] At the request of many readers this conversation was published
    in the _Sunday Chronicle_.

    “Did God help? Couldn’t He do it all Himself?”

    “You know when you and I are playing with bricks together, you like
    Mummy to help, but not to do it all. God thought Daddy and Mummy
    would like Him to help, but not to do everything, because Daddy
    and Mummy enjoyed making you much more than you enjoy playing with
    bricks.”

That may suffice for the time, because little children are very readily
satisfied with one or two facts about any one subject, and the talk
could easily be diverted. The little mind may brood over what was told,
and some time later--perhaps a few days, perhaps even a few months or
more--this question will come up again, possibly in a different form:--

    “Mummy, when was I born?”

The mother should give the day and say:--

    “You know your birthday comes every year on the 18th of April. That
    birthday is what reminds us of the day you were born, and each
    birthday you are a whole year older.”

    “I’m five now.”

    “Yes, so you were born five years ago on your birthday.”

    “Where was I before I was born?”

    “Don’t you remember I told you that God and Daddy and I made you?”

    “Yes.... Did you make me on my birthday?”

    “Not all in one day; you took much longer to make than that.”

    “How long did I take to make?”

    “A long, long time. Little children are so precious they cannot be
    made in a hurry.”

    “How long did I take?”

    “Nearly a year--nine whole months.”

    “Did baby take as long?”

    “Yes, just the same time. Baby is just as precious as you are.”

    “I’m bigger.”

    “Now you are, but you were baby’s size when you were baby’s age.
    You are bigger because you have grown since your first birthday.”

Again the subject may perhaps drop, or it may be carried directly
forward.

    “What is being born?”

    “Being born is being shown to the world and seeing the world for
    the first time. At the end of nine months after God and Daddy and
    Mummy started to make you, you were ready to open your eyes and
    breathe and cry, and be a real live baby, and that day they showed
    you to somebody and you saw the world. That was being born.”

    “Where was I before you finished making me?”

    “Mummy kept you hidden away so that nobody at all should see you.”

    “_Where_ was I hidden?”

    “You were hidden in a most wonderful place, in the place where only
    quite little babies can be while God and their mummies are making
    them.”

    “Show me; I want to go back there.”

    “You can never go back; it is only while you are being made you can
    be there. After your first birthday, you can never go back.”

    “Where was I?”

    “Well, you know, little babies that are being made are very, very
    delicate, and they have to be kept very warm and comfortable, and
    nobody must see them, and they must be close, close up to their
    mummies.”

    The child may interject, “And their daddies too?”

    “Yes, if they have got loving daddies, the daddy keeps close to the
    mummy; but while babies are being made it is God and mummy that
    have most of the work to do. That is why you must always love your
    mummies and obey them.”

The child may be temporarily satisfied, or may continue at once:--

    “But where _was_ it that I was while you were making me?”

    “What is the warmest, softest, safest place you can think of?
    Mummy’s heart: that is all warm with love. The place Mummy hid you
    while God and she were making you was right underneath her heart.”

    “Her real heart--the heart that beats like a clock ticking?”

    “Yes, her real heart, just here.”

The mother should lay the child’s hand on her heart and let him feel it
beating.

    “And just inside, right underneath here, Mummy kept you while God
    was helping her to make you.”

The child who has been brought up in a home of love and tenderness and
beauty will find this a thrilling and beautiful thought, like a little
boy whom I know personally, and to whom this fact was told in this way.
Solemnly, and without a word, he went away from his mother into the
middle of the room and stood deep in thought for several minutes. Then
he turned, looked round, and rushed across the room, threw himself into
his mother’s lap, his arms round her neck and cried: “Oh, Mummy, Mummy,
then I was right inside you.”

For days afterwards he was filled with a rapturous joy, and at times
used to leave his play and come to his mother and put his arms round
her neck, saying: “Oh, Mummy, that is why I love you so.”

Whatever form the child’s feeling may take, the opportunity should not
be allowed to pass without a little addition to the conversation, and
the mother should say:--

    “And you see that is why you must never talk to any one but Daddy
    and Mummy, or God through your prayers, about such things. As God
    and Daddy and Mummy, and no one else made your little body, so
    every thing you want to know about it, all the questions you want
    to ask, you should ask of them and no one else. You see, you are
    different from any other child in the world, and as Daddy and
    Mummy helped to make you, only they know your works. So whatever it
    is you want to know, or whatever it is that goes wrong, it is Mummy
    and Daddy who can tell you about it.”

Once may be sufficient for a child to be told the greater truths
it desires to know, but it is seldom that the child will leave so
wonderful a subject entirely alone after first learning of it, and many
portions of the beautiful facts will have to be repeated in a variety
of forms, or in just the same words, as are repeated again and again
the beloved fairy tales. The child, however, will be quick to know
the difference between this story and fairy tales, for children have
an instinct for truth at a much earlier age than grown-ups generally
remember.

A further series of questions will probably arise when the child is
about twelve.

The essential difficulties of these later questions, and the shamefaced
self-consciousness so usual between parent and child will never arise
if from the first the deep truths have been known to the child.

The child so instructed is not supplied with all necessary facts,
and instruction of a more specific and exact nature will have to
be repeated at further intervals throughout its life, but on this
foundation, further knowledge can be built without having to wipe out
anything already implanted, without having to contradict earlier
instruction, or to acknowledge the gravest error of having lied. Life
teaches much to a quick child trained to observation, particularly
in the country, where all children should spend much of their time.
If the little one has been told what has been given in the previous
pages it will have all the essential truths on to which it will fit in
for itself the other data which daily life will bring it; thus it may
garner a harvest of facts one by one.

Concerning the later instruction which will be necessary, the
information can be given in many ways. Some advocate school instruction
of children of twelve or more in the physiology of all the members of
the body, so that the racial powers are treated in their proper place
in conjunction with the digestive organs, brain, lungs, etc. Some
parents prefer to give the instruction themselves, for none but they
can know so well the individual needs of the child.

Much has already been written and is available in the voluminous
literature about the presentation of the facts to be imparted at the
various later ages, and almost every book advises comparisons with
flowers. For the later ages of ten years and after, this is probably
the best introduction for specific details, but for the first and
earliest instruction of the baby mind, such direct simple answers as I
have indicated are, I am sure, the best.

Children whose parents have treated them as I advise in this chapter
are _essentially safe_ whatever form later instruction may take. They
will then have the vitality to survive lies, although ever to lie to
them will be putting a cruel and useless strain on their recuperative
powers. If the little child is started upon its life with a beautiful
and true conception of its relation to its mother, and of man’s
relation to woman, it will be unlikely indeed that it will grow up a
hooligan who flouts his parents or a loose and lascivious destroyer of
women.



CHAPTER XIX

The Cost of Coffins

  He only is free who can control himself.

        EPICTETUS.

    The imposition of motherhood upon a married woman in absolute
    despite of her health and of the interests of the children is none
    the less an iniquity because it has at present the approval of
    Church and State.

        SALEEBY: _Woman and Womanhood_.


Why do poor slum mothers buy more coffins than do the same number of
rich women?

The incredulous may answer this question by asserting that they don’t,
but as a matter of fact they do. The Registrar-General’s Report for
1911 shows that of every thousand births in the upper and middle
classes, 76·4 babies die, while of a thousand births in the homes of
unskilled workmen (this would be the class of the “poor” mothers) 152·5
babies die.

So that it is clear that if each member of this poorest class of
mothers had exactly the same number of babies as each mother of the
rich class, she would have to purchase about two coffins for every
coffin bought by those whose babies are not so prone to die.

There is, however, another fact which completes the proof of my first
sentence. The upper and middle classes do not have so many children per
family as do the poorest class. To a thousand married people in the
upper and middle classes there were born in 1911 119 babies, but to
the poor mothers--the wives of the unskilled workmen--there were born
213. So that in addition to buying twice as many coffins per thousand
children born, these poor mothers have nearly twice as many coffins
again, owing to the fact that nearly twice as many children are born to
them.

I wonder if poor women have ever asked themselves if they can afford
coffins at this rate?

Of course the coffins of these poor little babies are very small, and
do not require very much wood to make them. But let us think in what
other ways they cost: To the mother they cost not only all the little
the baby had eaten, and used in the way of clothes before its death,
but all the wastage of her own vitality while she was bearing it; she
could not work so well, at any rate towards the end of the time.
Home duties had to be somewhat neglected; the older children had to
go to school dirtier and less cared for; the husband had less comfort
and fewer smiles; every one in the family was poorer, not only in
material things and in the work that might make material things, but in
happiness and buoyancy.

It needs no imagination to realize, when you have once grasped these
facts, that poor people are much less able to spare the cost of a
doomed baby than are the better class people. Then why do they so often
indulge in this tragic luxury? Chiefly through lack of knowledge,
through ignorance, particularly on the part of the mother.

Often ignorance is blind and unaware that it is ignorance, stupidly
blundering through life; but this is not always the mother’s attitude.
She may, indeed she often does, passionately desire knowledge and seek
for it wherever she thinks she may find it in her restricted circle.
Too tragically often she is baffled in her search.

Some years before the war, when I was lecturing at a Northern
University, a little incident opened my eyes to this fact. I was young
and had not encountered this aspect of life before, and it burnt itself
into my consciousness as one of the most vivid impressions of my life.
It was this:--

One of my students was a woman who was hoping to qualify as a medical
doctor, and she was having tea with me and chatting about the events of
the day. As part of her training she had been assisting the doctor in
dealing with out-patients at a hospital, and a woman had brought in a
miserable little baby, which wailed all the time and which the mother
explained wouldn’t put on any flesh or grow into a nice, healthy baby
whatever she did with it.

The mother, with tears in her eyes, made an intensely earnest appeal
to the doctor to tell her what was to her unaccountably wrong with the
infant.

She was a fine strapping woman, and thought her babies ought to be
large and healthy. She said this was her third or fourth, and the
others had all died when they were very little.

This happened more than seven years ago. Thank God our racial attitude
has changed since then.

The doctor put her off with some soothing platitudes, but the woman
driven to despair said: “I believe there’s something wrong with my
man. If there’s something wrong with my man I won’t have babies no
more--it’s just cruel to see them miserable like this and have them
dying one after the other. Won’t you, for God’s sake, tell me whether
there’s anything wrong with my man or not?” This appeal was met by the
assurance that there was nothing wrong, and she should go on having
babies and do her duty by her husband.

My medical woman student said that it was glaringly obvious that the
baby was syphilitic.

I asked her why she did not immediately tell the mother the truth. She
shrugged her shoulders and said: “I’ve got my exam. to pass; if I did a
thing like that Dr. ---- would stop me going to the hospital. I can’t
afford to take risks like that. Why, he might not only stop me, but it
would do the other women students a lot of harm too.”

This was before the war, and England was less enlightened, less eager
for medical women’s assistance than the war has made her, and it was
then a fight for a girl to get a footing in the hospitals for the wide
experience she needed for a general practice.

I vowed to myself that I would never forget that mother, and that some
day I would batter at the brazen gates of knowledge on her behalf.

Here was a mother with a glimmering of the truth, seeking passionately
for knowledge from the one person she had a right to turn to for this
knowledge, and she was put off with lies, encouraged again to bear the
cost of a hopelessly doomed birth; to risk the agonies of child-birth,
to bring into the world a creature who for a short spell would be
tormented and then would cost her a coffin.

By refusing his scientific advice, that doctor in reality sent that
woman, whose desire to know was stirred, to the gossip of the slum
alley and the street corner. There she would get a blurred and
inaccurate, if not actually harmful, idea of what he should have been
able to tell her in a clean, simple language based on scientific fact.

When this is put down on paper, I feel as though it would be ridiculous
to begin to point out the monstrous cruelty and the monstrous folly of
such an action as that doctor’s. Yet such action was not isolated, it
did not depend on one man’s warped conceptions of loyalty to another
unknown man, “the husband.” Since the war a public realization of the
racial destructiveness of such diseases has been increased and the
woman and her husband would to-day be more likely to receive medical
treatment.

But even to-day if a mother is truly told that there is “something
wrong with her man,” would she also certainly be told how in wise
and healthy fashion she can herself supplement what his criminal
negligence neglected? If a husband is careless and callous a woman
must save herself and the community from the waste and the misery of
irretrievably doomed births.

She will indeed be an exceptionally lucky woman if she to-day finds
in public hospitals doctors to whom she could turn for knowledge
how _best_ to control conception, though such knowledge is not only
essential to her private well-being, but essential to her in the
fulfilment of her duties as a citizen.

This little incident is but one illustration of many aspects of the
subject. It is not only _disease_ which necessitates restraint on
parenthood. No healthy woman can bear a long series of infants in rapid
succession without loss both to them and to herself. This is discussed
in my _Wise Parenthood_.

Any one who thinks will see clearly that no civilized country, not
even the richest in the world, can afford babies’ coffins. Though they
are smaller than grown-up people’s they are more costly, for they are
waste and nothing but waste. A grown-up individual, man or woman, has,
we hope at any rate, given some return to the community in work or in
ideas for all that his life has cost. But the infant’s death is sheer
unmitigated waste.

If all the mothers who realize this and who feel their need for the
best help that science can give them, would insist and persist in
their enquiries for a knowledge of the most reliable results of modern
science, they would in the end succeed in getting them. There is enough
knowledge now in the world for the race to transform itself in a couple
of generations.



CHAPTER XX

The Creation of a New and Irradiated Race

  Ah, Love! could thou and I with fate conspire
  To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
  Would not we shatter it to bits--and then
  Remould it nearer to the Heart’s desire.

        OMAR KHAYYAM.


On parents’ love for the helpless child depends the existence of our
race. Human parenthood necessitates not only the desire for offspring,
but the willing care of them during the long years while they are
helpless and dependent. Were this desire and willingness not deeply
implanted in us our race would become extinct, as in some strange way,
the higher type of ancient Greeks vanished from the world.

Not only throughout the lower creatures do we find the responsibilities
of parenthood increasing as we go up the scale towards the higher, but,
even in the various grades of highly civilized man, the responsibility
for the children is ever greater in proportion with the general culture
and position of the parents.

Not many years ago the labourer’s child could be set to work early and
could very shortly earn his keep; while at the same time the young
gentleman was an expense and care to his father and mother until he
had passed through the University of Oxford or Cambridge, and amongst
some even until he had made his “finishing” world tour. The trend of
legislation has continuously extended the age of irresponsible youth in
the lower and lower middle classes, until it now approaches that of the
middle and upper class youth. A stride in this direction was taken by
the last Education Act, which has made education compulsory throughout
the whole country to an age which is nearly university age.

I need not labour the resulting effect of the ever increasing
prolongation of youth. It is not only apparent but has received
sufficient treatment from the hands of various authors and thinkers.

Its corollary, however, has still not received that clear and direct
thought which its significance demands. Parenthood under the present
_régime_, is not only an increasing responsibility and expense, it
has become so great a strain upon the resources of those who have for
themselves and their children a high standard of living that it is
tending to become a rare privilege for some who would otherwise gladly
propagate large families.

As Dean Inge reminded us (_Outspoken Essays_, 1919), there was a stage
in the high civilization of Greece when slaves were only allowed to
rear a child as a reward for their good behaviour. I find a curious
parallel to this in the treatment of a section of our society by our
present community.

Crushed by the burden of taxation which they have not the resources to
meet and to provide for children also: crushed by the national cost of
the too numerous children of those who do not contribute to the public
funds by taxation, yet who recklessly bring forth from an inferior
stock individuals who are not self-supporting, the middle and superior
artisan classes have, without perceiving it, come almost to take the
position of that ancient slave population. It is only as a reward for
their thrift and foresight, for their care and self-denial that they
find themselves able (that is allowed by financial circumstances) to
have one or perhaps two children. Hence by a strange parallel working
of divers forces, the best, the thriftiest, the most serious-minded,
the most desiring of parenthood are to-day those who are forced by
circumstances into the position of the ancient slave and allowed
to rear but one or two children as a result perhaps of a lifetime
of valuable service and of loving union with a wife well fitted to
bear more offspring. While on the other hand, society allows the
diseased, the racially negligent, the thriftless, the careless, the
feeble-minded, the very lowest and worst members of the community,
to produce innumerable tens of thousands of stunted, warped, and
inferior infants. If they live, a large proportion of these are doomed
from their very physical inheritance to be at the best but partly
self-supporting, and thus to drain the resources of those classes
above them which have a sense of responsibility. The better classes,
freed from the cost of the institutions, hospitals, prisons and so
on, principally filled by the inferior stock, would be able to afford
to enlarge their own families, and at the same time not only to
save misery but to multiply a hundredfold the contribution in human
life-value to the riches of the State.

The immensity of the power of parenthood, both on the personal lives
which it brings into existence, and on the community of which each
individual is to form a part, is not yet perceived by our Statesmen in
its true perspective.

The power of parenthood ought no longer to be exercised by _all_,
however inferior, as an “individual right.” It is profoundly a duty
and a privilege, and it is essentially the concern of the whole
community. It should be the policy of the community to encourage in
every way the parenthood of those whose circumstances and conditions
are such that there is a reasonable anticipation that they will give
rise to healthy, well-endowed future citizens. It should be the policy
of the community to discourage from parenthood all whose circumstances
are such as would make probable the introduction of weakened, diseased
or debased future citizens. It is the urgent duty of the community
to make parenthood impossible for those whose mental and physical
conditions are such that there is well-nigh a certainty that their
offspring must be physically and mentally tainted, if not utterly
permeated by disease. That the community should allow syphilitic
parents to bring forth a sequence of blind syphilitic infants is a
state of affairs so monstrous that it would be hardly credible were it
not a fact.

Parenthood, with the divine gift of love in its power, with the
glorious potentialities of handing on a radiant, wholesome, beautiful
youth should be a sacred and preserved gift, a privilege only to be
exercised by those who rationally comprehend the counter-balancing
duties. But so long as parenthood is kept outside the realm of rational
thought and reasoned action, so long will we as a race slide at an
ever-increasing speed towards the utter deterioration of our stock
through the reckless increase of the debased, which is necessarily
counter-balanced by the unnatural limiting of the families of the more
educated and responsible, whose sense of duty to the unborn forbids
them to bring into the world children whom they cannot educate and
environ at least as well as they themselves were reared.

In earlier generations the child was taught to speak of its parents in
a respectful and grateful tone as the “august authors of its being,”
but this right and proper instruction in reverence was coupled with
an arbitrary disposal of the child, and a certain harshness in its
training against which the later generations have revolted. As is usual
the reformers have deviated from rectitude in the opposite direction,
so that to-day to find children with deep respect for their parents
is uncommon. Reverence is being exacted by some rather from the
parent towards the child as a fresh, new and unspoilt being. This too
often results in spoiling the child, which is an equally foolish and
hampering proceeding. The child should be taught from its earliest days
profound respect, reverence and gratitude towards its parents, and in
particular towards its mother, for of her very life she gave it the
incomparable gift of life. True parents give the child the best and
freshest and most beautiful impulses of their lives, and, at the cost
of bodily anguish the mother bears it, and its parents for long years
nurture it, sacrificing many enjoyments which they might have but for
the cost and care of rearing it. This should be realized by the child,
who then cannot but feel gratitude to and reverence for the authors of
its being.

The sheer beauty of the world, were there no other gain from living, is
so great that the gift of eyes and a mind to perceive it should place
the recipient of that gift for ever in a reverential debt towards the
pair who gave.

But the value of the beauty of life, and a just appreciation of the
immense gift which parenthood confers cannot be realized by all.
To-day alas, millions are born into circumstances so wretched that
life can scarcely involve a perception of beauty, or a probability of
moral action and social service. Also many myriads of children are
born of parents to whom they can feel that they owe nothing, because
they know or inwardly perceive that they were not desired, that they
were not profoundly and nobly loved throughout their coming, that they
were hurled into this existence through accident, self-indulgence or
stupidity. Yet parenthood which grants life even on these terms is a
wonderful power, a cruel and relentless force perverted from its divine
possibilities.

Youth tends ever to right itself if it but escape the taint of the
profound racial diseases, and the gift of a well-conditioned body is
the creation of an incomparable set of co-ordinated powers in a world
in which the potentialities for the use of those powers is magical.

Innumerable are the efforts at present being made by countless
different societies, official bodies and individual reformers to
diminish the ever increasing ill-health and deterioration of our race,
but their efforts are a fight on the losing side unless the fundamental
and hitherto uncontrollable factors which make for health are there.

Doctors may cure every disease known to humanity, but while they are
so doing, fresh diseases, further modifications of destructive germs,
may spring into existence, the possibility of which has recently been
demonstrated by French scientists who have experimented on the rapid
changes which may be induced in “germs.”

Prisons and reformatories, municipal milk, the feeding of school
children, improvement in housing, reform of our marriage laws, schools
for mothers, even schools for fathers, garden cities--not all these
useful and necessary things together and many more added to them
will ever touch the really profound sources of our race, will ever
cause freedom from degeneracy and ill-health, will ever create that
fine, glorious and beautiful race of men and women which hovers in
the dreams of our reformers. Is then this dream out of reach and
impossible; are then all our efforts wasted? No, the dream is not
impossible of fulfilment; but, at present, our efforts are almost
entirely wasted because _they are built upon the shifting sand and not
upon the steady rock_.

The reform, _the one central reform_, which will make all the others of
avail and make their work successful _is the endowing of motherhood,
not with money but with the knowledge of her own power_.

_For the power of a mother, consciously exerted in the voluntary
procreation and joyous bearing of her children is the greatest power
in the world._ It is through its conscious and deliberate exercise,
and through that alone, that the race may step from its present
entanglements on to a higher plane, where bodies will be not only a
delight to their possessors, but efficient tools in the service of the
souls which temporarily inhabit them.

I maintain that this wonderful rejuvenescence and reform of the race
need not be a dim and distant dream of the future. It is hovering so
close at hand that it is actually within reach of those who to-day are
in their young maturity; we, at present in the flesh may link hands
with grandchildren belonging to a generation so wonderful, so endowed,
and so improved out of recognition that the miseries and the depravity
of human nature, to-day so wide-spread, may appear like a black and
hideous memory of the past, as incredible to them as the habits of
cannibals are to us.

An ideal too distant, too remote, may interest the dreamer and the
reformer possibly, but it cannot inspire a whole nation. An ideal
within the range of possibility, that each one of us who lives a full
lifetime may actually perceive, such an ideal can spur and fire the
imagination, not only of our own nation, but of the world. It is my
prayer that I may present such a racial ideal, not only to my own
people but to humanity. It is my prayer that I may live to see in the
generation of my grandchildren a humanity from which almost all the
most blackening and distressing elements have been eliminated, and
in which the vernal bodily beauty and unsullied spiritual power of
those then growing up will surpass anything that we know to-day except
among the rare and gifted few. This is not a wild dream; it is a real
potentiality almost within reach. The materialization of this vital
racial vision is in the hands of the mothers for the next twenty or
thirty years.

If every woman will but consciously and deliberately exercise the
powers of her motherhood after learning of those powers; if she bear
only those children which she and her mate ardently desire; if she
refuse to bear any but these, and if she so space these children
that she herself rests and recovers vitality between their births,
and during their coming she lives in such a way as I have indicated
in the preceding chapters, and if at the same time the deadly and
horrible scourges of the venereal diseases and the multitude of
ramifications of racial baseness are eliminated _as they can be_, then
with a comparatively small percentage of accidents and unforeseeable
errors, the quality of those born will enormously improve, and by a
second generation all should be already far on the highway to new and
wonderful powers, which are to-day almost unsuspected.

What are the greatest dangers which jeopardize the materialization of
this glorious dream of a human stock represented only by well-formed,
desired, well-endowed beautiful men and women? Two main dangers are in
the way of its consummation; the first is ignorance. It is difficult
to reach the untutored mind, to teach a public hardened and deadened
to callousness and the lack of dreams of their own; even though if one
could but reach them it would be possible to make them understand.

A second and almost greater danger is not a simple ignorance, but the
inborn incapacity which lies in the vast and ever increasing stock of
degenerate, feeble-minded and unbalanced who are now in our midst and
who devastate social customs. These populate most rapidly, these tend
proportionately to increase, and these are like the parasite upon the
healthy tree sapping its vitality. These produce less than they consume
and are able only to flourish and reproduce so long as the healthier
produce food for them; but by ever weakening the human stock, in the
end they will succumb with the fine structure which they have destroyed.

There appear then two obstacles which might block the materialization
of my racial vision; on the one hand the ignorance of those who
have latent powers. This only needs to be stirred by knowledge and
the inspiration of an ideal, to become potent. This obstacle is not
unsurmountable. If one but speaks in sufficiently burning words, if
one but writes sufficiently contagiously, the ideas must spread with
ever increasing acceleration. Ignorance must be vanquished by winged
knowledge. I hold it to be the duty of the dreamer of great dreams
not only to express them in such a way that cognate souls may also
perceive them. It is the duty of a seer to embody his message in such
a form that its beauty is apparent and the vision can be seen by all
the people. The infectiousness of disease, the contagion of destructive
and horrible bacterial germs have become a commonplace in our social
consciousness, and we have forgotten, and our artists have in recent
years tended ever more and more to forget that the highest form of art
should also be infectious. Goodness, beauty and prophetic vision have
as strong a contagious quality as disease if they are embodied in a
form rendered vital by the mating of truth and beauty.

To overcome mere ignorance in others is, therefore, by no means a
hopeless task, and it is the valiant work of the artist-prophet. Youth
is the time to catch the contagion of goodness. To youth I appeal.

The other obstacle presents a deeper and more difficult task. It must
deal with the terrible debasing power of the inferior, the depraved and
feeble-minded, to whom reason means nothing and can mean nothing, who
are thriftless, unmanageable and appallingly prolific. Yet if the good
in our race is not to be swamped and destroyed by the debased as the
fine tree by the parasite, this prolific depravity must be curbed. How
shall this be done? A very few quite simple Acts of Parliament could
deal with it.

Three short and concise Bills would be sufficient to afford the most
urgent social service for the preservation of our race. They should
be simply worded and based on possibilities well within the grasp of
modern science.

The idea of sterilization has not yet been very generally understood
or accepted, although it is an idea which our civilization urgently
needs to assimilate. I think that a large part of the objections to
it, often made passionately and eloquently by those from whom one
would otherwise have expected a more intelligent attitude, is due to
complete ignorance of the facts. Even otherwise instructed persons
confuse sterilization with castration. The arguments which to-day in
a chance discussion of the subject are always brought forward against
sterilization have been, in my experience, only those which apply to
castration. To castrate any male is, of course, not only to deprive him
of his manhood and thus to injure his personal consciousness, but to
remove bodily organs, the loss of which adversely affects his mentality
and which will also affect the internal secretions which have a
profound influence on his whole organization. I fully endorse the views
of the opponents of this process.

It is, however, neither necessary to castrate nor is it suggested by
those who, like myself, would like to see the sterilization of those
totally unfit for parenthood made an immediate possibility, indeed made
compulsory. As Dr. Havelock Ellis stated in an article in the _Eugenics
Review_, Vol. I, No. 3, October 1909, pp. 203-206, sterilization under
proper conditions is a very different and much simpler matter and one
which has no deleterious and far reaching effects on the whole system.
The operation is trivial, scarcely painful, and does not debar the
subject from experiencing all his normal reaction in ordinary union; it
only prevents the procreation of children.

It has been found in some States of America, and as I know from private
correspondents in this country, there are men who would welcome the
relief from the ever present anxiety of potential parenthood which they
know full well would be ruinous to the future generation.

There is also the possibility of sterilization by the direct action
of “X” rays. At present sterility is known as an unfortunate danger
to those engaged in scientific research with radium, but it might,
under control, be wisely used as a painless method of sterilization.
This may prove of particular value for women in whom the operation
corresponding to the severance of the ducts of the man is more serious.
It appears however, not always to be permanent in its effect. In some
circumstances this may be an advantage, in others a disadvantage.

With reference to the sterilizing effect of “X”-rays, the following
quotation from F. H. Marshall, _The Physiology of Reproduction_, 1910,
is pertinent:--

    A more special cause of sterility in men is one which operates in
    the case of workers with radium or the Röntgen rays. Several years
    ago Albers-Schönberg noticed that the X-rays induced sterility
    in guinea pigs and rabbits, but without interfering with the
    sexual potency. These observations have been confirmed by other
    investigators, who have shown, further, that the azoöspermia is
    due to the degeneration of the cells lining the seminal canals. In
    men it has been proved that mere presence in an X-ray atmosphere
    incidental to radiography sooner or later causes a condition
    of complete sterility, but without any apparent diminution of
    sexual potency. As Gordon observes, for those working in an X-ray
    atmosphere adequate protection for all parts of the body not
    directly exposed for examination or treatment is indispensable,
    but, on the other hand, the X-rays afford a convenient, painless
    and harmless method of inducing sterility, in cases in which it is
    desirable to effect this result.

When Bills are passed to ensure the sterility of the hopelessly
rotten and racially diseased, and to provide for the education of the
child-bearing woman so that she spaces her children healthily, our race
will rapidly quell the stream of depraved, hopeless and wretched lives
which are at present ever increasing in proportion in our midst. Before
this stream at present the thoughtful shrink but do nothing. Such
action as will be possible when these bills are passed will not only
increase the relative _proportion_ of the sound and healthy among us
who may consciously contribute to the higher and more beautiful forms
of the human race, but by the elimination of wasteful lives which are
to-day seldom self-supporting, and which are so largely the cause of
the cost and outlay of public money in their institutional treatment
and their partial relief, will check an increasing drain on our
national resources. The setting free of this public money would make
it possible for those now too heavily taxed to reproduce their own and
more valuable kinds.

The miserable, the degenerate, the utterly wretched in body and mind,
who when reproducing multiply the misery and evil of the world, would
be the first to be thankful for the escape such legislation would offer
from the wretchedness entailed not only on their offspring but on
themselves. The Labour Party, all Progressives, and all Conservatives
who desire to conserve the good can unite to support measures so
directly calculated to improve the physical condition, the mental
happiness and the general well-being of the human race.

Even to-day almost all the thriftiest and better of the working class,
and the artisan class in particular, are already in the ranks of those
who are sponged upon, and to some extent taxed, for the upkeep of
the incompetent, and it is just from among the best artisan and from
the middle class that the most serious minded parents and those who
recognize their racial responsibilities are principally to be found.
There is throughout the whole Labour movement, as throughout the less
vocal but deeper feeling of the middle class, a passionate desire to
eliminate the misery and human degradation which on every hand to-day
saddens the tender conscience. The limiting of their own families to
meet the pressure of circumstances will never achieve their desires.
The best to-day are making less and less headway, and the inferior are
increasing more and more in proportion to them.

Directly, however, the need for such legislation as I have outlined
above is realized, and such legislation is passed, then the tide will
be turned. Then, at last, we shall begin to see the elimination of the
horror and degradation of humanity, which at present is apparently so
hopeless and permanent a blot upon the world. And then, and then at
once, will the positive effects of the conscious working of love and
beauty and desired motherhood begin to take effect. The evolution of
humanity will take a leap forward when we have around us only fine and
beautiful young people, all of whom have been conceived, carried and
born in true homes by conscious, powerful and voluntary mothers.

Meanwhile the prison reformers, psycho-analysts, doctors, teachers and
reformers of all sorts will be going on with their reforms, and will be
claiming this and that wonderful improvement in the school children,
and they will probably never realize that it will not be their reforms
which have worked these apparent miracles; it will be the change in
the attitude of the mother, the return to the position of power of the
mother, her voluntary motherhood, the conscious and deliberate creation
by the mother and her mate of the fine and splendid race which to-day,
as God’s prophet, I see in a vision and which might so speedily be
materialized on earth.



APPENDICES


A. PHYSICAL SIGNS OF COMING MOTHERHOOD.

B. ON BIRTH.

C. SUGGESTIONS FOR CALCULATING DATE OF ANTICIPATED BIRTH.



APPENDIX A

PHYSICAL SIGNS OF COMING MOTHERHOOD


Sometimes a woman is doubtful whether or not she is about to become a
mother, and may be too shy to ask those with whom she is associated.
She should, if it is possible, seek the advice of a highly qualified
midwife or medical practitioner, but this is not always possible, and
it may be useful for her to know the following signs:--

The first and most widely recognized indication that conception has
taken place is “missing a period” or the cessation of the menstrual
flow, while, at the same time, there is no ill-health. A woman may even
feel unusually bright and well.

There is generally an increase in the size of the breast, followed
as the months progress by a very noticeable increase in the size and
bright blue colour of the veins round the breast, and also a darkening
in colour and a changing from pink to brownish tint of the area round
the centre of the breast.

After the third month, there is visible a steadily increasing
enlargement of the lower part of the body, but, as this also happens
with some forms of illness, this alone and without the other signs is
not proof that motherhood has commenced.

“Quickening” or the movements of the child, are a much better
indication of motherhood, and these are generally to be perceived about
the twentieth week, or roughly half-way through the whole period of
prenatal life; but see further the remarks in Chapter XIII, p. 113.

The perception of the child’s heart beats is absolute proof of coming
motherhood. These may be perceived after the fourth or fifth month
quite readily by a nurse or other observer, though the mother herself
can but seldom perceive them.

“Morning Sickness,” which is so often experienced, and in most books
for the “expectant mother” is quoted as one of the first signs of
pregnancy, _should never occur at all_--see Chapter XI--although
unfortunately it is true that it does frequently occur in women who are
bearing children under present conditions.



APPENDIX B

ON BIRTH


The usual agonies of child birth vary greatly in extent according
to the structure of the woman. But, as was shown in Chapter II, the
tendency already is present, and probably will increase, for this to
be an almost intolerable strain upon the woman. Tardily indeed have
efforts to relieve her agonies in child birth been made; Queen Victoria
took a grave and adventurous step when she bore one of her children
under chloroform. Chloroform, however, only deadens consciousness at a
comparatively late stage in child birth, and its use through the many
long hours, even perhaps sometimes days of agony which precede the
later stages is not often possible. It is, therefore, for some types of
women a very insufficient narcotic.

Natural “painless Child Birth” is, of course, the ideal, and is claimed
to be the result of the “fruit and rice diet,” see _Tokology_ by Dr.
Alice Stockham, but although this greatly reduces the pain for many,
and undoubtedly makes the months of pregnancy easier, it cannot make
birth anything but a torture if the proportion of the child’s head to
the bony arch is above a given limit. The “Christian Science” claim
for not only painless but bloodless birth has been reported to me, but
never at first hand, and I have not yet had the first-hand statements
of women who are said to have experienced it.

“Twilight Sleep,” a comparatively recent discovery, has been much
advocated, much praised and much blamed. There may be types of women
who find it advantageous, but the fact that it necessitates going to
a nursing home, away from home, is very much against its use under
ideal circumstances. For those who have no home, or a sordid and
overcrowded one, a nursing home may be a place of refuge. “Twilight
Sleep” (scopolamine-morphine) is, however, for the more sensitive type
of woman, an extremely unreliable drug, which may frequently take no
narcotic effect upon the patient, who suffers added agony as the result
of relying upon it, and it may be very dangerous for the child.

There is also the method of birth through the soft part of the body,
avoiding the birth of the child through the bony structure altogether.
This operation is described as Cesarean section, and involves incision
both through the abdominal walls and through the walls of the womb.
For some women with very small bones Cesarean section is necessary if
they are to produce living children. Even for women who, by paying
the price of agony, can produce children by normal birth, this method
may be found very advantageous. I see a possibility of its widely
extended future use. In hundreds, perhaps thousands of years hence when
the child’s head will be proportionately even larger in comparison
with the mother’s bones than it is to-day, it may indeed be the only
method which will stand between the higher human races and their total
extinction.

There is a certain amount of rather gossipy opinion that women who are
spared the full torture of child birth do not have equally passionate
love for the child. This, however, is nonsense. Love depends far more
on the mother’s desire for parenthood at the time of the child’s
conception and her feelings towards it all through the months of
waiting than on the hours of birth, although the appealing weakness
and fascination of a baby may win a deeper love than the mother-to-be
expected to feel for her child.



APPENDIX C

SUGGESTIONS FOR CALCULATING THE DATE OF ANTICIPATED BIRTH


The leading authority in the _Manual of Human Embryology_, edited by
Franz Keibel and Franklin P. Mall in two volumes, London, 1910, says:--

    “In ancient times it was generally believed that the duration
    of pregnancy in man, unlike that in lower animals, was of very
    uncertain length; and it was not until the seventeenth century that
    it was more accurately fixed, by Fidele of Palermo, at forty weeks,
    counting from the last menstrual period. In the next century Haller
    found that if pregnancy is reckoned from the time of a fruitful
    copulation it is usually thirty-nine weeks, and rarely forty weeks
    in duration. In general these results are fully confirmed by the
    thousands of careful data collected during the nineteenth century.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    “However, from thousands of records it is found that the mean
    duration of a pregnancy varies in first and second pregnancies, is
    more protracted in healthy women, in married women, in winter, and
    in the upper classes.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    “From these figures it is seen that most pregnancies take place
    during the first week after menstruation, and that the duration
    of pregnancy is longer if copulation takes place towards the end
    of the intermenstrual period. And this is explained if we assume
    that in the first week, especially the first few days after the
    cessation of menstruation, the ovum is in the upper end of the
    tube awaiting the sperm and that conception immediately follows
    copulation. When the fruitful copulation takes place in the latter
    two weeks of the month the opposite is usually the case; the sperm
    wanders to the ovary and there awaits the ovum; and, therefore, on
    an average, pregnancy is prolonged in this group of cases, when
    determined from the time of copulation.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    “In determining the age of human embryos it is probably more
    nearly correct to count from the _end_ of the last period, for
    all evidence points to that time as the most probable at which
    pregnancy takes place.”

On the whole it is generally found that 280 days (_i.e._, 40 weeks)
can be reckoned as the average period during which the child develops
internally if the date is counted from the first day of the last
menstrual period and 269 days if estimated from the date of actual
union.

Leuckart tabulated results from a large number of births which took
place within the first ten months of marriage, and found that there
was a maximum number of births on the 275th day, then a decrease and
a second maximum on the 293rd day. Nevertheless, in spite of careful
reckoning, there are, as will be recognized, many sources of error, and
medical men and nurses are often wisely cautious of giving any exact
date for an anticipated birth; sometimes too cautious even to suggest
the week within which the birth will take place. I have known a good
many mothers, however, who were much more accurately certain about this
point than their attendants, and have found that the birth took place
exactly on the day they anticipated. As an illustration of this, I give
the answer from one of my correspondents, both of whose children were
born on the exact day she anticipated. I asked her how she estimated
these periods, and she said:--

    “I simply took old Dr. Chevasse’s rule which he gives in _Advice to
    a Wife_; you know how he puts the date of conception and opposite
    it the probable date of birth. I went by the first union after the
    last period. It so happened that my husband was seedy and there
    was no union for a fortnight after the end of the period. I took
    that first union as the date of conception and looking up the date
    in Chevasse and the corresponding date of birth opposite, I found
    it to be August 20th, and sure enough on August 20th he was born.
    With the second boy, the union took place the day after the last
    period, and I took that as the starting date and against it I found
    January 21st and on January 21st he arrived in spite of the doctors
    insisting in each case that it would be three weeks earlier. What I
    do is, I always make a mark in my diary against the date of first
    union after every period. Then when I had missed a period and so
    knew that there was probably conception, I could at once tell the
    probable date.”

The table Chevasse quoted from Galabin is as follows--

  From Jan. 1st to Oct. 1st = 273 (274) days, add 5 (4) days
    „  Feb. 1st to Nov. 1st = 273 (274)   „    „  5 (4)  „
    „  Mar. 1st to Dec. 1st = 275         „    „  3      „
    „  Apl. 1st to Jan. 1st = 275         „    „  3      „
    „  May  1st to Feb. 1st = 276         „    „  2      „
    „  June 1st to Mar. 1st = 273 (274)   „    „  5 (4)  „
    „  July 1st to Apl. 1st = 274 (275)   „    „  4 (3)  „
    „  Aug. 1st to May 1st  = 273 (274)   „    „  5 (4)  „
    „  Sep. 1st to June 1st = 273 (274)   „    „  5 (4)  „
    „  Oct. 1st to July 1st = 273 (274)   „    „  5 (4)  „
    „  Nov. 1st to Aug. 1st = 273 (274)   „    „  5 (4)  „
    „  Dec. 1st to Sep. 1st = 274 (275)   „    „  4 (3)  „


  _Printed in Great Britain by_
  UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKING AND LONDON



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's Note


The following apparent errors have been corrected:

p. 2 "hearts’ desire" changed to "hearts desire"

p. 26 "undertsand" changed to "understand"

p. 73 "incapacities is," changed to "incapacities, is"

p. 124 "diappointments" changed to "diappointments"

p. 130 "parent this" changed to "parent: this"

p. 148 "agggravation" changed to "aggravation"

p. 150 "ffower" changed to "flower"

p. 154 "want to to" changed to "want to"

p. 218 "ignorance" changed to "ignorance."

p. 233 "Franz, Keibel" changed to "Franz Keibel"


The following possible errors have not been changed:

p. 4 millenium

p. 34 co-incidently

p. 132 August 24 1893

p. 235 follows--


The following are used inconsistently in the text:

lifelong and life-long

overstrained and over-strained

prenatal and pre-natal

shamefaced and shame-faced

X-rays, “X” rays and “X”-rays





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