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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/55

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51
ALUMNA'S CHILDREN.

once the mother realized what it would mean. When the mother can not do it, perhaps she can arrange for a little time of private lessons, when her daughter, working at just the rate right for her, can accomplish a term's work with a minimum of study and with none of the nervous strain which comes from competition. I can think of nothing better worth a mother's time than to establish her daughter's health for the rest of her life and make possible for her all the blessed things that womanhood may mean.

Finally, there is no doubt that some husbands and wives limit their families to one or two that they may thus do more for those few children, or have none because they can thus do more for themselves—'social ambition,' in other words. There may be to some extent a decrease in race fertility in certain racial groups without other signs of physical deterioration; yet there seems to me an amount of evidence too large to disregard which goes to show that the small families among schooled women are due to the physical weakness of the wives. Ask yourself how many really strong women you know. And while there are undoubtedly differing conditions operating in different classes and in different countries, and the contrasts between England and Germany (the birth rate is even lower for the English alumna than for the American), France and Italy, the United States and Canada, can by no means all be explained by this theory, yet I wish some investigation could be instituted to determine how much of the decrease of birth rate among native born American women comes from arrested development in our young girls—due in some classes to lack of proper food, to lack of sleep, to physical overwork, but in very many cases to their unwise manner of work and to untimely nervous strain in our grammar and high schools.