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poisoned civilization that a pregnant woman
should feel shame to appear in the streets.
Never will the race reach true health
till it is cured of its prurient sickness, and
the prospective mother can carry her sacred burden
as a priestess in a triumphal procession.
I am for you, and you are for me,
The Mystic in his moment of enlightenment attains through the flux of his personality the realisation of oneness with the divine forces of the Universe.
To ordinary men and women, however, this mystical
ecstasy is unknown, and the ordinary human consciousness is far more aware
of its separateness than of its oneness with the vital forces of creation.
From their mutual penetration into the realms of supreme joy the two lovers bring back with them a spark of that light which we call life.
And unto them a child is born.
This is the supreme purpose of nature in all her
enticing weft of complex factors luring the two lovers into each other
This mystical and wonderful fact has never yet
found the poet to sing its full glory. But in the hearts of all who have
known true love lies the realisation of the sacredness that is theirs when
they are in the very act of creation. Were our bodies specifically organized
for this supreme purpose, two human beings would only pass through the
sacred fire of mutual fusion in order to create a new life.
It is utterly impossible, organised as our bodies
are at present, for us to obey the dictates of theologians and refrain
from the destruction of potential life.
If the pair married very young, and before they
could afford to support children, they might wait several years with advantage.
Though such a long interval is certainly not to
be universally recommended, as it is said that it may result in sterility,
in this instance it was triumphantly better for the two to have lived normally
satisfied happy lives than to have waited for fourteen years and risked
the man s "fall."
The child, conceived in rapture and hope, should
be given every material chance which the wisdom and love of the parents
In this book I am not speaking so much of the
universal sex relation as to those who find themselves today in the highly
civilised, artificial communities of English-speaking people: and in our
present society there is little doubt that the early birth of a child demands
much self-sacrifice and self-restraint from the man, one of the reflex
vibrations of which is his undefinable sense of loss and separation from
He was quiet and refined, with a strong strain
of romantic love, which was entirely centred in his bride.
Very shortly after marriage she conceived, and a child was born ten months after the wedding day.
For two years after the birth of the child her
vitality was so lowered that the sex-act was to her so repugnant that she
refused her husband any union; and it was thus three years after their
marriage before they met in anything like a normal way.
Another pair suffered similarly: Mr. and Mrs.
D. were prevented for several years by the wife's real and fancied ill-health
from having any intercourse.
On the other hand, if by waiting some months (or even years if they are young) the mated pair have learnt to adjust themselves to each other and have experienced the full possibilities of complete love-making, the disturbance which is caused by the birth of the child is in no sense a danger to their happiness, but is its crown and completion.
A man once said to me "One can endure anything for the sake of a beloved wife." But the wife is only utterly beloved when she and her married lover have not only entered paradise together, but when she fully realises, through insight gained by her own experiences, the true nature of that of which she is depriving her husband so long as her bodily condition makes sex-union with him impossible.
Much has been written, and may be found in the innumerable books on the sex-problems, as to whether a man and woman should or should not have relations while the wife is bearing an unborn child. In this matter experience is very various, so that it is difficult or impossible to give definite advice without knowing the full circumstances of each case.
When, however, we observe the admirable sanctity
of the pregnant females of the woodland creatures, and when we consider
the extraordinary ignorance and disregard of woman's needs which mark so
many of our modern customs, we cannot but think that the safe side of this
debatable question must be in the complete continence of the woman for
at least six months before the birth of the child.
Tolstoy strongly condemned any sex contact while
the wife was pregnant or nursing, and blames the husband who "puts
upon her the unbearable burden of being at one and the same time a mistress,
an exhausted mother, and a sickly, irritable, hysterical individual. And
the husband loves her as his mistress, ignores her as a mother, and hates
her for the irritability and hysteria which he himself has produced and
The wife who knows how to waken this tenderness in a man raises him out of the self-centred slough in which so many men wallow unhappily.
With an ardent man, wholly devoted to his wife and long deprived of her, the time will come when it will be sufficient for him to be near her and caress her for relief to take place without any physical connection.
After the birth of the first child the health
of the mother and of the baby both demand that there should be no hurried
beginning of a second.
The importance of this, both for the mother and
for the child, is generally adequately recognised by medical specialists,
and some distinguished gynaecologists advocate as much as three or five
years between the births of successive children.
It is a serious reflection on our poisoned civilization that a pregnant woman should feel shame to appear in the streets.
Never will the race reach true health till it
is cured of its prurient sickness, and the prospective mother can carry
her sacred burden as a priestess in a triumphal procession.
Never will the race reach true health till it is cured of its prurient sickness, and the prospective mother can carry her sacred burden as a priestess in a triumphal procession.
Of the innumerable problems which touch upon the
qualities transmitted to the children by their parents, the study of which
may be covered by the general term Eugenics, I shall here say nothing:
nor shall I deal with the problems of birth and child-rearing.
Though it is natural that there should not be
the same joy for the pair in a child which had not arisen from their own
supreme fusion, nevertheless, the man who is generous and broadminded might
find much joy in a child of his wife's were the obtaining of this child
not coupled with the yielding of her body to the embrace of another man,
which is so generally and so naturally repugnant to a husband.
While in such an event as these discoveries adumbrate, the husband would have no bodily part in the heritage of the child, yet in the creation of its spirit he could play a profound part, the potentialities of which appear to be almost unrecognised by humanity.
The idea that the soul and character of the child can be in any degree influenced by the mental status of the mother during the months of its development as an embryo within her body, is apt to be greeted with pure scepticism for it is difficult of proof, and repugnant to the male intellect, now accustomed to explain life in terms of chemistry.
Yet all the wisest mothers whom I know vary only
in the degree of their belief in this power of the mother.
An interesting fact which strengthens the woman
s point of view, is quoted by Marshall, who says: "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."
And Alfred Russel Wallace, the great naturalist, thought the transmission of mental influence neither impossible nor even very improbable. "I am convinced that it takes place all the time, moulding and influencing the hereditary factors."
Hence I suggest that the husband who is deprived
of normal fatherhood may yet make the child of his wife's body partly his
own, if his thoughts are with her intensely, supportingly, and joyously
throughout the whole time of the unborn baby s growth.
The converse is even more difficult, where the
wife is really barren and the husband capable of having children with another
Many people whose ideals are very noble are yet strangely incapable of adapting the material acts of life to the real fulfilment of their ideals.
Thus there is a section of our community which
insists that there should be no restriction whatever of the number of children
born to married people.
Such people, while awake to the claims of the
unborn, nay, even of the unconceived, are blind to the claims of the one
who should be dearest of all to the husband, and for whose health and happiness
he is responsible.
Save where the woman is exceptional, each child following so rapidly on its predecessor, saps and divides the vital strength which is available for the making of the offspring. This generally lowers the vitality of each succeeding child, and surely even if slowly, may murder the woman who bears them.
Of course, the effects of this strain upon the
woman vary greatly according to her original health and vitality, the conditions
of her surroundings and the intensity of the family s struggle for food.
A half-starved mother trying to bring up children in the foul air of city
slums, loses, as a rule, far more of her family than a comfortable and
well-fed woman in the country.
Dr. Ploetz found that while the death-rate of
first-born infants is about 2.2.0 per thousand, the death-rate of the seventh-born
is about 330, and of the twelfth-born is 597 per thousand.
Forel (The Sexual Question, 1908) says: "It seems almost incredible that in some countries medical men who are not ashamed to throw young men into the arms of prostitution, blush when mention is made of anti-conceptional methods. This false modesty, created by custom and prejudice, waxes indignant at innocent things while it encourages the greatest infamies."
It is important to observe that Holland, the country
which takes most care that children shall be well and voluntarily conceived,
has increased its survival-rate, and has thereby, not diminished, but increased
its population, and has the lowest infant mortality in Europe.
It should be realized that all the proper, medical
methods of controlling pregnancy consist, not in destroying an already
growing embryo, but in preventing the male sperm from reaching the unfertilised
egg cell. This may be done either by shutting the sperms away from the
opening of the womb, or by securing the death of all (instead of the natural
death of all but one) of the two to six hundred million sperms which enter
To kill quickly the ejaculated sperms which would
otherwise die and decompose naturally, is a simple matter.
To those who protest that we have no right to interfere with the course of Nature, one must point out that the whole of civilisation, everything which separates man from animals, is an interference with what such people commonly call "Nature."
Nothing in the cosmos can be against Nature, for
it all forms part of the great processes of the universe.
It is a sacred duty of all who dare to hand on the awe-inspiring gift of life, to hand it on in a vessel as fit and perfect as they can fashion, so that the body may be the strongest and most beautiful instrument possible in the service of the soul they summon to play its part in the mystery of material being.
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