BEFORE AND AFTER CHILDBIRTH
[continued from yesterday]
...But whence comes this happy disposition in the mother? Almost entirely from the kindness and love of the husband. If he is careless about his home, or shows any marked distaste for the domestic inconveniences consequent upon the arrival of the new-born, his disposition will act upon his wife, and re-act upon his child. Hence the duty lies with the husband of taking the burden of marriage in the truly Catholic spirit. He has been warned of the burden, and he has received a sufficient measure of grace to enable him to bear it. At least for the sake of his wife and child he will correspond with that grace, and make himself a model husband and father.
The duty may be summed up in one word, sympathy.
The opposite vice may likewise be named in one word, niggardliness.
The coming of a child means extra expense, and the sooner the man settles his mind to this, the better for himself and his whole household. It is not his duty merely; it is his privilege. He, together with his wife, shares the honors of parenthood with God. He can do nothing better to make himself worthy of that honor, than by helping his helpmate to the full extent of his capacity.
It is not necessary for the future mother to know all about the possible dangers which may arise. Indeed, it is better that her mind should be occupied rather with the healthy and spiritual aspect of the situation. But dangers may happen which involve moral principles.
Now in order that the Catholic mother may act according to those principles it is well that she should be guided by a Catholic doctor. There are some doctors with materialistic views, who advise operations which arc forbidden by the Church*, and not only advise them in extreme cases but also in unnecessary cases. Owing to the strictness of the Church in forbidding certain operations, the practice of midwifery in Italy has made enormous progress. The doctors, knowing that they were forbidden to do these things, thought out ways of avoiding them; and thus, thanks to the decrees of the Church, hundreds of lives, both of mothers and of babes, have been saved from destruction.
On the other hand, some operations are both lawful and praiseworthy. The Cesarean operation, that by which the child, which cannot be born in the ordinary way, is taken from the abdomen of the mother, is one such. The question as to when it may or ought to be performed is a complicated one and hardly concerns the general public. When, however, it is raised by a doctor, Catholic or non-Catholic, a consultation with one's spiritual director is advisable.....
* A full treatment of this and similar questions is found in the following books, both published by Mr. Joseph F. Wagner: " Pastoral Medicine," by A. E. Sanford, M. D., and "The Right to Life of the Unborn ChUd," by Prof. Treub, M.D.
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.