But out of all the varieties of experience and humilia tion recorded a definite

But out of all the varieties of experience and

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to another. . But out of all the varieties of experience and humilia tion recorded, a definite unity emerges. ? 品 昼 化 苫 cqn- tains the record of a woman
caught in the toils^of- unwilling maternity, enslaved not only by the great imperative in- xiv INTRODUCTION stincts of huma^ijigture_hunger 也也 j 华二 initio 啓壓 ,enrnesHed ignorance, the domiziation or the indifference o£_,the £usb2nd7^He~tirnid passivitythe family physician^ and the ever-increasing complications of successive pregjiancies. Even when it is cameH out in the best conditions pro vided by modern hygiene and prenatal care, childbearing is an extremely hazardous undertaking. It is a comfortable assumption of the majority of unthinking people that all children in America are brought into the world surrounded by the care and attention which is given to the birth of babies of the upper middle classes. Such people do not realize that it is still possible in these United States for women to milk six cows at six o'clock in the morning and to bring a baby into the world at nine. The terrific hard ships of the farm mother are not to the least degree light - ened by the problem of maternity* Unmitigated hardships go on as usual, and if she and her newborn infant survive, it is only to face them anew, and with additional complica tions. Whatever the
disadvantages suffered by the poor city mother, these records indicate that they are as nothing as compared with those of the lonely farm slaves con demned to unwilling pregnancies, brutally bestial lords and masters, and an almost total deprivation of the ordi nary comforts of life. "I have to carry my babies to the field, n writes a Southern farm woman, "and I have seen their little faces blistered by the hot sun.. Husband said he intended making our girls plow, and I don't want more children to be slaves. I work in the field, wash, cook, sew, iron, and in fact everything. All the poor Southern xv
INTRODUCTION farm women do. n The social and charitable agencies which operate in the great cities and even the smaller towns of America cannot, or do not, reach the victims of such con - ditions in the country. The only possible solution for the country woman would be her own control of her reproduc - tive powers. Again and again, in these letters to me, these women have prayed for deliverance, and have expressed pathetic willingness to make any sacrifice to gain their emancipation from the bondage into which they have been cast. The records I have chosen for publication are by no means exceptional. I have not picked them out to harrow the finer feelings of the readers, but rather because they are typical of certain definite phases of enslaved mother hood in America. They illustrate concretely how every social and economic problem of our civilization is compli cated and rendered more difficult of solution by being so closely interwoven with
that of slave maternity.

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