Should there be a tendency to develop an abscess, it may
be averted by taking full doses of either the fluid extract
or tincture of phytolacca decandria (poke-root) every
three or four hours.
There are many women who, even in nursing their
own children, are troubled with an excessive flow of milk,
more than the children are able to take. This excessive
secretion keeps the breasts distended to such an extent as
530 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
disposes them to a continual leakage, which renders the
nurse very uncomfortable from the saturated condition of
her clothing. In such cases the child is very liable to suffer
because of the unnutritious, watery character of the milk.
Women who are accustomed to long and profuse monthly
sickness are prone to this excessive secretion of watery
milk. To remedy or obviate this over-abundant supply
and improve the quality, much may be accomplished by
attention given to both food and drink, and the addition
of some tonic medication.
There are some kinds of food, such as cabbage and
turnip, soups, etc., that increase the quantity of milk.'
These should be avoided, and also the free use of fluids.
Hence the food should be to a great extent composed of
solid material, and eaten comparatively dry. In addition
to this change of alimentation, a tonic composed of "tinc-
ture of iron, fifteen to twenty drops in a sup of water,
three or four times daily, will be found highly beneficial.
The tincture of iron is destructive of the enamel of the
teeth, and should be taken through a tube. It blackens
the stools, which need not give any unnecessary alarm.
It should be discontinued as soon as the improvement of
the milk is manifest. In those cases in which the trouble
seems to be not so much an over-supply as an inability to
retain the milk, the administration of tonics addressed to
the nervous system, and the local application of astrin-
gents and of collodion around the nipples, will overcome
SCANTINESS OF MILK. 531
Scantiness of Milk.
Some mothers appear never to have a sufficient supply
of milk to meet the demands of their children. A herds-
man, \vhose wife belonged to this class, said that " fine-
bred stock were not good milkers. " Whether or not this
opinion is sustained in the human family cannot be affirmed
with certainty. It is true that, for some perhaps unknown
cause, certain women who physically appear to be pos-
sessed of the necessary qualifications, habitually secrete an
insufficient quantity to supply the demands made upon
them to support a single child. Other women, with no
more favorable appearance, can furnish an abundant supply
for two babes.
The women of deficient lactation are generally found
in the large cities, among working women whose daily
employment requires them to be separated from their chil-
dren during a great portion of the day. The deficiency
may arise from want of nutritious diet, which would cause
an impoverishment of the blood and consequent indiges-
tion. This unfavorably affects the nervous system, and
diminishes the supply as well as deteroriates the quantity
Excessive exercise and overwork, especially among
women who are ambitious to accomplish a large amount
of work in a set time, affects lacation. There are women
who, under ordinary circumstances, without any undue
burdens to perform, secrete an ordinary supply of milk,
but when they have a washing to do or some extra house-
532 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
cleaning, their child is compelled to undergo a fast.
Women who do not begin to have children until late in
married life have usually less milk than those who begin
In remedying this misfortune the social history of the
individual case should be carefully studied, to ascertain
any probable cause pertaining to the habits of the indi-
vidual that might be overcome or corrected. It was said,
in the remarks on the qualities of a good nurse, that some
women appear to secrete milk only when the gland is
stimulated by the application of the child to their breast.
If the mother who may be troubled with lack of supply
would take advantage of this suggestion, and frequently
apply the child to the breast, she might find a sufficiency
to supply the demand. It is so in many cases.
In some mothers, manipulation of the nipple by draw-
ing it between the thumb and finger will cause the breast
to fill up. A change of the social condition, exercise in
the fresh air, baths, personal cleanliness, and such hygienic
treatment as will improve the general health, will increase
the quantity and improve the quality of the milk. The
diet should be adapted to the needs of the system. Those
mothers who are weak and pale will require a large pro-
portion of eggs and meat, while the corpulent should be
restricted in animal food and take plenty of exercise in
the open air. True galactogenic agents increase the
quantity without deteriorating the quality. Abundant
and succulent food, fresh air, plenty of sleep, exercise
and, if required, bitter tonics, are the more rational
TO OVERCOME SUPPRESSION OF MILK. 533
measures. Cider, beer, etc., are highly recommended by
some. Certain kinds of grain, no doubt, have an influence
on the quantity and quality of milk. Oatmeal and buck-
wheat have well-deserved reputation as suitable food for
those women who are troubled with deficient lactation.
Of drugs, the galega officinalis has been prescribed on
good authority to increase both the quantity and quality
To Overcome Suppression of Milk.
When, from any accidental cause, there is suppression
of the milk, and it is desired to renew the secretion, the
most efficient agents are :
1. Suction, either by the mouth of the infant or the
nurse, or by means of the instruments that are used for
2. Topical applications. Of the latter the leaves of
the castor-oil plant deserve special mention. A handful
of the fresh leaves is boiled in a half-gallon of water, and
the breasts are gently bathed and rubbed with this decoc-
tion for fifteen or twenty minutes, after which a poultice of
the boiled leaves is made, laid upon the breast and allowed
to remain until it dries. If the secretion do not reappear
in a few hours, this is to be repeated.
3. Faradization (electricity). The apparatus should
be at moderate force, the conductors moist ; the muscles
of the breast should not be included in the current, which
should be confined to the gland, and the sessions should
last about twenty minutes each. The success Math this
means has been positive.
534 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
To prevent accidents occurring from suppression of
milk, it is best to give a brisk purgative, such as a full
dose of Epsom salts, which will produce a free, watery
discharge from the bowels, and restore as speedily as
possible the secretion of milk.
The Relation of Husband and Nursing- Wife.
It is customary for the husband to occupy a separate
room during the lying-in period, which if the confinement
has been normal, lasts about a month. During this period
there should be no sexual intercourse, nor should there be
until, at the least, the perfect normal conditions of those
organs that have been so seriously taxed in bringing into
life a human being have been re-established.
It is a. question of discussion among medical men
whether or not continence should be observed during the
entire period of lactation. Some authorities affirm that
sexual intercourse makes too heavy a drain upon the vital
forces of the woman's system, already taxed to their
utmost capacity in providing nourishment for her depend-
ent child, while other medical men, of equal ability, assert
that moderate and prudent cohabitation rather conduce to
the health of the wife. It is certainly not to be expected
that absolute continence will be endured by husband or
wife during the period of lactation. However, when
women are warned, by the return of their menses, that
they are liable to another pregnancy, which would result
not only in an injury to their nursing child, as well as an
over-production which would be alike injurious to mother
and child, then such asceticism should be insisted upon.
A quaint and homely adage says : " Once a man, and
twice a child." If " woman " should be substituted for
" man " and the reference be made to the possession and
exercise of the procreative functions, no more striking
truism could be stated. When a child, she had a strictly
individual life. A time comes when she resumes this
condition. This time is called the " climacteric period,"
or change of life. From the time of puberty in the morn-
ing of maidenhood, up to this time, woman has been
capable of conceiving and giving life to others. Other
lives were wrapped up in hers. Every successive month
for more than thirty years there ripened in the ovaries of
her body a primordial germ of life. But, with the change
of life, this physical function ceased. She returns to the
individual existence she enjoyed as a child.
If she has been governed by the principles of wisdom
and prudence she may look forward to a period of tran-
quility and rest, to enjoy the blessings of health and the
honors of paternal love a love which will burn with a
brighter and purer flame than any which she inspired in
either the bloom of her youth, or the beauty of her
536 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
maidenhood. But, before this haven can be reached or
this goal attained, there is a crisis to be passed, to which
most women look with anxious solicitude.
Age at Climacteric Period.
The reproductive period of woman's life extends from
about fifteen to forty-five years, or through a period of
time equivalent to one generation, or thirty years. This
may be varied a few years, some commencing earlier than
fifteen, while others continue till fifty years of age.
Instances are not unusual where the menses do not cease
until after fifty. The writer knew a mother quite well
who was blessed with a large family and gave birth to her
youngest child at the extreme age of fifty-one years.
There are cases on record in which the change did not
take place until after sixty years. But these are extreme
cases, and quite rare.
Examples of the early cessation of the menstrual fluid
are much more common. The youngest woman who had
changed life, met by the writer in his practice, did it
in her thirty-second year. Others, however, reckon
instances as young as twenty-eight, in which the menstrual
flow had ceased. But all these cases referred to by
authorities are extreme, and exceptions to the general
rule. Women ordinarily begin to look for some manifesta-
tions of the approaching change after they have passed
their fortieth year, and, indeed, it is rarely now that you
meet a nursing mother who is more than two-score.
INCIDENTS ATTENDING CHANGE OF LIFE. 537
Incidents Attending Change of Life.
There are not only radical but frequently serious
changes and diseases that develop at the introduction of
the menstrual flow ; its cessation is also accompanied by-
changes and disease.
Fothergill says, in his distinguished work : " In seden-
tary and advanced life there is a certain liability to disease
at the time of puberty, as pulmonary tuberculosis and
anoemia. The latter may extend to chlorosis. So, at the
end of this reproductive period, there is a liability to
imperfect nutrition, and to a like development of the
adipose tissue, as is seen in the anaemia of post-pubertal
life. How and why there is a tendency to mal-nutrition
of the muscular tissue, and a development of fat at the
beginning and end of the reproductive period, it is not
possible to say. But there is no question about the fact.
It apparently depends upon some hidden law of nutrition
not yet revealed to us."
As a consequence, then, most women at the change of
life are often in feeble health. They are not infrequently
stout, with flabby muscles. The heart, being a muscle, is
weak, and there is incapacity for exertion, with palpitation
on effort. The nervous system is often debilitated, self-
control is impaired, and the sufferer becomes pettish,
fretful, or nervous. There may be a good deal of dis-
turbance of the heart's action, and heart-disease be sus-
pected, as was the case with the late Harriet Martineau
(who got rid of her heart symptoms entirely, to die more
538 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
than twenty years later of a disease utterly unconnected
with her heart). The bowels are apt to become irregular,
while the appetite becomes capricious.
As to the uterine functions, the changes in them take
various directions. Sometimes a barren wife becomes a
mother like Sarah of old when all hope of offspring
is dying out.
A widow or spinster, who hitherto has led a decorous
life, suddenly develops strong erratic tendencies, and
either makes a foolish marriage or forms immoral and
disreputable ties at the bidding of the recondicence of the
sexual instinct. The records of divorce courts, the annals
of asylums, the dates on the tombstones in the church-
yard, all tell us of the severe strain put upon the system
of the woman during the change of life.
There is, indeed, much physical and mental disturb-
ance at this time. Sometimes the flux becomes increased;
at other times decreased, or it becomes irregular and
fitful. Not uncommonly some special disturbance, as
sickness and vomiting, may take place, and recur ryth-
mically, at times which correspond with the menstrual
flux ; and this sort of echo or refrain may not uncom-
monly be detected for some time after the menses have
ceased. Indeed, in recurrent troubles at or about the
change of life, it will commonly be found, upon close
inquiry, that they correspond to the menstrual periods,
had these still continued. When the periods manifest an
amount of pain exceeding what has been experienced in
earlier days, thrre exists a strong suspicion of latent
INCIDENTS ATTENDING CHANGE OF LIFE. 539
The bowels are apt to become irregular for the want
of tone in the muscular fibers. There is generally a
flatulence, which adds to the disturbance of the heart and
aggravates the nervous condition present. Shortness of
breath, palpitation, come on at other times than after
effort. Sometimes the patient wakes up from sleep with
one or both these conditions present, and is greatly
alarmed, thinking something dreadful is the matter.
Especially is this the case when the heart's action is
irregular and the palpitation intermittent, as though the
heart stopped. This apparent stoppage of the heart
produces the greatest alarm ; for as long as the patient
can feel the beating of her heart, she knows she is not
dying, but when it ceases for a moment, she is filled with
This complicated condition is a source of great trouble
to many women, especially when the nervous system is
disturbed. However, about the time this change comes,
the health of the sufferer becomes impaired from other
causes, which are liable to be overlooked and no attention
paid to them, thinking all her ailments are due to the
change of life. Hence she is disposed to keep quiet, and
wait for Nature to revolutionize her system. This is a sad
misfortune, because, when the change is come, it finds her
poorly prepared for it.
All women, when this time of life draws nigh, ought,
as a duty to themselves and their families, take especial care
of themselves, and should promptly meet any deviation
from good health by appropriate treatment, so as to arm
540 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
themselves and be equipped when this enemy to female
health makes the attack. This course will well reward
them in the day of trial.
The management of the troubles that present them-
selves at this time of life consists in a well-regulated regimen,
with such exercise as the system is able to bear. The food
should be light and very digestible, consisting of oatmeal
porridge, rice pudding and soups. If there be much
debility, wine bitters and proper stimulants to meet the
attacks of palpitation may be used. Rest is very impor-
tant, and especially in a recumbent manner, to such patients
as suffer from the attacks of palpitation. Some tonic
medicine should be taken, as digitalis, nux vomica, or
belladonna, or lily of the valley combined with a carmi-
native, as cascarilla, or other aromatics. Special attention
should be given to the bowels, to see that they are kept
open regularly by proper attention to diet, or, if need be,
by using some mild aperient.
Anything that would be liable to produce pain should
be avoided. The condition of the nervous system disquali-
fies the patient for enduring pain. The pain of griping
bowels is very distressing, and especially so in the con-
dition of the female at the change of life. Consequently
all drastic purgatives are to be avoided, the mildest laxa-
tives only used, and they combined with aromatics or
carminatives so as not to produce griping.
INCIDENTS ATTENDING CHANGE OF LIFE. 541
If minerals be used they should be accompanied with
a little essence of ginger or some other warm agent, to
prevent any tendency to gripings. If these directions be
carefully observed, much suffering will be avoided, and
comfort and safety to life will abundantly reward the
patient for all the trouble she may undergo in strictly
complying with them.
As the time of life approaches when it is customary to
look for this important epoch (and indeed at all other times
as well) women should endeavor to live such temperate
lives, both physically and mentally, as insure a placidity of
mind and vigor of body. No change, however radical,
that has its origin in the natural execution of any of those
functions established by the wisdom of a beneficent Creator
for our well-being should result in any serious detriment
to health or comfort.
The misery of womankind is, to a very great extent,
the result of the reckless violation of physical law. With
the laws of hygiene, as pointed out in this work, carefully
obeyed all along the journey of life, much suffering would
be avoided, and no evil foreboding in regard to this
important change need enter the mind to disturb the com-
fort that is wont to exist in a truly happy family. Indeed,
many of the troubles attending this period of life are either
directly or indirectly the result of an anxious concern or
expectancy that is nourished and cherished in the minds
of individuals, perhaps for years before this change takes
place. When it does come, it too often finds the system
feebly prepared to meet even an imaginary foe or a real
542 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
Physiologically speaking, it is just as natural for the
menstrual flux to cease as to begin. Both epochs are the
result of well-defined natural laws. There is no reason
why either of them should be attended with any special
disturbance of the general health. And, since the girl
who has been properly educated in regard to her own
physical economy, and has paid a reasonable respect to
the laws of health during the period of childhood, experi-
ences no trouble at the approach of puberty, neither should
she at its decline, if she have continued to be governed by
the same health-producing principles through all the years
of her maternal womanhood. Those only suffer who
have, throughout this period of maternity, lived to a very
great extent in open rebellion to many, if not all, the well-
established principles of physical life. Is it seriously to
be expected that such women will, under the most rigid
discipline, be able entirely to pass through any important
crisis without experiencing more or less inconvenience ?
But there is much encouragement to afford to a large
number of women who may, to a great extent, have been
suffering invalids for many years. To many such, who
have been battling with the terrors of nervous irritability
or the rackings of disease resulting from physical derange-
ments or functional disturbances of the organs of
generation, the light-house of restored health may be
seen from the mast-top, and with these directions for a
pilot, and prudence and common sense as a helm, they
will be able to land their frail bark in the long-looked-for
haven, where they may pass the evening of life in the
enjoyment of almost perfect health.
INFLUENCE OF THE DEATH OF HUSBAND, ETC. 543
The writer is, and has been for more than half a
century, well acquainted with an old lady who is now in
her eighty-fifth year. She is a mother of a large family. She
had scarcely passed her thirtieth summer when, by one of the
accidents that may befall a woman during her child-bearing
life, was made an invalid, suffering for a period of a score
of years. Much of the time she was confined to her room
and even to her bed, rarely, if ever, able to walk half a
mile. For the last thirty-five years she has enjoyed as fair a
share of health as women generally do. She is able to
get up and down on a chair as quickly almost as a girl of
fifteen. She can walk a mile or two without any inconveni-
ence, and has been for months past traveling alone on
the cars or other conveyances, visiting her children and
enjoying the pleasures of life. Be not discouraged, but
hopeful. No matter what may have been your debility
and suffering, you may, like the case referred to, have
many years to live in the enjoyment of reasonable health,
your latter days crowned with peace and pleasure.
Influence of the Death of Husband upon Wife.
The relation of husband and wife is perhaps not only
the most sacred, but the most intimate and binding of
all associations of life. It has its origin in the develop-
ment of those social instincts that harmonize the various
elements existing in two individuals into one symmetrical
The disrupture of such a web, of which man and
woman alone form the warp and the woof, cannot be
544 MAIDENHOOD AND MOTHERHOOD.
effected without serious damage to the whole. But this
separation must, from the very nature of all human rela-
tions, take place. The scythe of Time cuts down alike all
classes and all sexes, and the impress of the ruthless hand
is seen in desolated homes. Women are seen daily in the
thoroughfares and byways, walking with nervous tread
and sad countenances, and draped in the habiliments of
mourning. But a garb of wo lightly exhibits the sorrow
and anguish that fills the heart of her who bears the
ensign. The privations that are experienced by such loss
must be felt to be fully appreciated. They make inroads
on the health as well as the happiness and comfort of the
individual. There are numberless women who can date
their failure of health from such an eventful crisis. The
writer is not in possession of any data, public or private,
outside of his own observation to enable him to establish
how much, if any, her reproductive functions suffer from
the want of their accustomed stimulus. Men who stand
high in place teach that sexual intercourse is a necessity
to man, but not to woman ; that woman naturally has not
so much secretion as man, and is provided with an outlet
in Nature through the medium of menstruation, conse-
quently she has not the same demands.
If this theory be correct, she will not physically suffer
in the non-exercise of her reproductive functions.
Indeed, it cannot be admitted that a life of continence in
the male, which would necessarily follow in case of the
death of the wife, would result in any serious damage to
his health. There can be conceived no substantial reason
INFLUENCE OF THE DEATH OF HUSBAND, ETC. 545
why the death of a husband should be followed with any
serious injury to the widowed wife.
In the lower order of animals there is no damage
physically sustained from want of use of their reproductive
organs, which are much larger and secrete more copiously
than does the human species. The woman who has lived
a chaste and temperate life will only periodically have any
desire for coition, and such periods are under the influence
of the function of menstruation. When she has passed
the climacteric, there will be nothing to stimulate the
desire for coition. Hence, she suffers no inconvenience or
injury in this regard at the death of her husband. The
presumption is that her physical organism is greatly bene-
fited. There is no physiological reason to believe that,
as an independent being, freed from the responsibility of
receiving and giving life by the death of her life-giving
functions, her health is at all dependent upon acts that