In her book, The Perfect Woman, Dr. Melendy writes that only a happy woman can have the perfect pregnancy, and that the only way a woman can find happiness is to have a domineering husband and a houseful of kids. She said it was a wife’s duty to bring children into the world, hence, she discouraged the use of any type of birth control. However, she said that in a few rare cases where birth control was necessary, a woman’s only option was to use the rhythm method to prevent pregnancy. Of course, we know how well that works. I think our favorite doctor was just being sneaky because she thought everyone should be burdened with too many children.
Dr. Melendy encouraged women to rejoice in their morning sickness, and to revel in their other symptoms of pregnancy. She also told expectant mothers that a toothache is a frequent sign of pregnancy, and that they should expect to loose one tooth for every child they bring into the world. She said that God didn’t make women suffer during pregnancy and childbirth as a curse, writing, “If you suffer, it is not because you are cursed of God, but because you violate His laws.” I guess only good girls could expect to sail through their pregnancy unscathed.
Dr. Melendy suggested that the sinners among us try these remedies for conditions related to pregnancy.
Sleeplessness: Dr. Melendy writes that pregnant women of nervous temperament are often kept awake night after night without apparent cause. She said that sleeping in a cold, well-ventilated room on a hair mattress is essential in promoting a good night’s sleep. She said that taking a short walk could relieve an attack of “the fidgets” during the night. She also said that a nice Turkish bath could promote sleep.
Heartburn and Water Brash: Dr. Melendy said that heartburn and the regurgitation of watery acid from the stomach known as water brash are common and often distressing symptoms of pregnancy. She writes that digestion problems are curable by drinking crust coffee in place of water. She also instructs readers to mix 6 drops of tincture of night-blooming cereus in a full glass of water and take one tablespoon of the mixture every hour until symptoms are relieved.
Fainting: Dr. Melendy write that a delicate woman in pregnancy is apt to feel faint, and she recommended the following mixture to combat “the vapors:”
Mix 6 to 10 drops of tincture of Peruvian bark and 2 drops of tincture of Nux Vomica in a full glass of water. Take two teaspoonfuls three times a day and continue for ten days.
Sore Nipples: To treat the perfect breasts, Dr. Melendy advises women to bathe their nipples for five minutes every night and morning with either merigold ointment or with equal parts of brandy and water. Then cover nipples with soft linen, as the friction of a flannel vest would be apt to irritate them.
Dr. Melendy gives mothers advice on how to give birth to the perfect child. She tells readers that the development of a child’s moral character begins inside the womb. If a married woman reads the Bible and thinks good thoughts, she will give birth to a saint. If the mother is unmarried and gives birth to a bastard, the child will be wicked and the mother will burn in hell. Dr. Melendy also said that a woman’s thoughts during pregnancy influence the child’s physical attractiveness.
She warns that ugly thoughts make ugly babies.
I hope you have enjoyed my posts about how to become the perfect woman.