Thursday, November 21, 2013
Difficulties of Modern Motherhood, cont.
cont. from this post.
"Has she used them to establish those deep life long bonds of love and sympathy and mutual help and understanding, which should year by year take the place of mere physical or animal affection- or has she, to use the stinging words of Mrs. Lyn-Linton "allowed motherhood to end, where it ought to begin, at the birth of the child, and trusted other women to do for money, what she would not do for love." Those are bitter words, and like most satirical sayings they are only half-
This demand "to stand aside" for the good of the child is being made not only on the mothers in our own rank [I believe the upper middle classes and above, WLC], but of late the same process is strongly urged for the children of the poor; it is not long since the Westminster Gazette published a series of very eloquent appeals called the "Cry of the Children." These letters pressed for the wholesale removal of slum children to the country, where they might grow up amid healthy surroundings, with foster mothers in cottage homes. Now, green fields, and fresh air, and birds, and flowers, and country food are all good and excellent things, but I venture to think they are not for one single moment to be weighted against a mother's love, and when we talk of "taking the children back to nature" the last lesson we should learn from her would be to part the little ones from those who gave them birth. The heritage of a poor child in a great city is but a dark and pitiful one, but I think those who know it best would be the first to acknowledge, that often its one glory is the beautiful and unselfish devotion of the poor mother.
It is perhaps the one great compensation for the children of the poor, that they alone may fully know how much their mothers loved them. The rich mother may do much for her children, but she is not called upon to go hungry that they may be fed, nor cold that they may be warm, nor to work sixteen hours out of the twenty-four, in order to keep the home together, and through the cold and hunger, and unceasing toil are evil things, the love and heroism that they give rise to may be more beautiful and more valuable to the children's hearts, than all the sweet sounds and sights of country life."
From volume 19 of The Parents' Review
Illustrations are taken from a woman's magazine of the same time period