Women 's Influence On Women

1755 WordsApr 21, 20178 Pages
The strong bonds that developed between women were helpful for Southern women when they were expecting as it gave them a support group with who they could express their anxieties and seek advice. Also, if the parturient woman was in need of assistance and lacked female family members she could turn to her friends for help. For women living in rural areas such female support was much harder to come by and its absence was keenly felt. Perhaps due to the danger childbirth faced Southern women tended to express more concern for their lives than their unborn child. Their fears were not unfounded since according to doctor speculation nearly one-third of the population died before reaching the age of three years old. It was during the…show more content…
Tryphena Fox had lost her infant son in 1860 and records in her diary the amount of loss she felt upon his death stating that “although only two weeks old” she felt she had “loved & cherished him for years.” Fox did not sympathize two months later when one of her slaves suffered a similar tragedy. Fox blamed the mother for the death of the child and further felt she was using her situation to get out of work. The common image of Southern motherhood is incredibly hands-off, instead trusting the care of their infant to slave women. However, many records indicate this was not so. While the use of slaves as governesses was institutionalized at the time, much of the maternal advice specific to the South warned mothers of the malicious influence slaves might have upon the upbringing of their children. The American ideal of the Victorian bond celebrated the bond between mother and child, which elite women believed was strengthened by maternal breastfeeding. Doctors of the time believed that mother’s milk was irreplaceable and while milk from a wet nurse would provide nutrition, there could be no guarantee that the wet nurse would be healthy, clean, or attentive to the child’s needs. Some medical reports at the time recorded the belief that major illnesses, such as syphilis could be transferred via breast milk. Infants typically nursed for a year or longer. Southern mothers preferred not to wean their children in either cold or hot months, so nursing

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