A partnership with God is motherhood.
What strength, what purity, what self-control,
What love, what wisdom belongs to her
Who helps God fashion an immortal soul.
-Mary Wood Allen
When in India I visited the Naiars, a peculiar people, found on the Malabar Coast, and claiming to be of Brahmin descent. They have a native government, are intelligent and educated, have good schools and their houses average better than those in other parts of India. Except two sisters who conducted a mission industrial school for girls, there were no English in this province. The great peculiarity of the Naiars is that the women are the lords of creation. In wide contrast to the condition of other women of that country so full of inconsistencies, they are called the free women of India.
They seek their husbands, control business interests, and through them only is the descent of property.
The family and the whole fabric of society is founded upon the mother. She is the keystone of the arch, for she chooses who shall be the father of her child and bestows her worldly goods according to her desires and discretion.
She marries the man of her choice. If for any reason, however, she deems him unfit to be a husband or a father of her child, it requires no ceremony of church or state to free her from him. Her wish and word are law.
Karezza gives a free motherhood, whether in a government controlled by men or women. Karezza is a mutual relation and it removes all vestiges of the old idea of man's dominion over woman. All the pleasure and benefits to be derived are hers as much as his.
The institution of marriage becomes ideal when the desire and pleasure of the wife calls forth the desire and pleasure of the husband - when a single code of ethics governs their relation. When offspring is desired, then surely it is for woman to command and man to obey.
Henry C. Wright, a noble defender of the rights of women and children, said: "Man, in begetting a child without regard to the wishes and condition of his wife, heedless of the physical and spiritual well being of his offspring, commits the greatest outrage any human being can perpetrate on another. Motherhood should be a privilege and an opportunity, not a penalty or misfortune."
When all people concede the importance and dignity of the maternal function, then they will honor and respect woman as does Drummond in his Ascent of Man. He maintains that "Mothers are the chief end of creation. In plants the mother species heads the list. Beyond the mother with her milky breast the Creator does not go; that is His goal. In as real a sense as a factory is meant to turn out locomotives or locks, the machinery of nature in its last resort is meant to turn out mothers."
In these and various eloquent paragraphs this man of science honors motherhood. He exclaims that love is the supreme factor in the evolution of the world, and teaches that the mother in giving birth to children, in caring for them and educating them, gives us the highest manifestation of Divine love.
We reverence the high ideals of this philosopher, and esteem him for his fearlessness. Those, however, who have studied deeply into spiritual truth, do not recognize great mental and spiritual differences between men and women on account of sex. Circumstances and environments have made seeming differences. The best development and the purest lives come from a full understanding and recognition of the purely spiritual or divine in man. The knowledge of the living, spiritual truth that man has no separate existence from God, is the most potent factor in breaking down all supposed inequalities between the sexes. This gives us a new language. There is no more talk of male or female minds, male or female qualities, for all minds are from one source. Each individual includes in his characteristics both male and female principles, both the fatherhood and motherhood of God.
When me come to know that the larger experience is in the spiritual life, neither man nor woman will patter around in Chinese shoes of conventionalism, or have their conduct governed by conditions as binding as Hindu Caste.
This gives to woman freedom with its basic principles in spiritual law. She realizes that the source of love, wisdom and knowledge is infinite, that life in its fullness is hers; that the possibilities of conquest are as great as the world, and the path is as free and wide as the universe.
She finds her true self in every situation. She loses even a suspicion that any one wishes or has the power to curtail her privileges, while her daily external life becomes a manifestation of her internal growth and exaltation.
The mother-nature demanding the divinest helps, in the existence of the demand feels the assurance of the supply. In the desire and fulfillment of the office of maternity, her choice as to time and circumstances becomes law.
Women have demanded and received recognition in every profession and vocation; they have eloquently appealed for the duties and privileges of citizenship. In many states they have been allowed through the ballot, a voice in adjusting disputed policies of city and country; they have been given positions of responsibility and emolument; but alas, how seldom are they accorded the freedom of choice for the fulfillment of the inherent and natural function of child-bearing.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, after thirty years devotion to the enfranchisement of woman, said that if the ballot were granted fully and freely to women, she would have entered only the vestibule to her emancipation; and that with the conditions that love and freedom would give to her sexual life she could raise a race of gods.
Women in every station of life, from the reigning queen of the greatest nation of the earth to the humblest toiler in the hamlet; wives of men expounding the higher law from the pulpit and wives of men in slums, ignorant of all law and justice, have all alike been subjected to all the inconvenience, suffering and debasement of chance maternity. Thus the hearts of intelligent and pure-minded people have been dulled by tradition to the injustice and wrong thus perpetrated upon both mother and child.
Women whose intuitions have been trained to lofty purposes and aims will seek and expect the best conditions for procreation. The child in its glorified life, will bless her thoughtfulness and fidelity. In freedom the behests of love are fulfilled. Ideal parentage gives ideal children.
It belongs to institutions of learning to remove from sexual science the stigma of secrecy and prudery, and it is the privilege of enlightened womanhood to apply scientific knowledge to the conception and bearing of children; to apply the accumulated wisdom of the ages to the most responsible office of maternity. To do this she must be free to exalt her sexual life to the fulfillment of its highest mission. In this enlightenment and exaltation, the devoted husband will naturally and freely accord his conduct to her wishes. Love's commands are always founded on justice; love's obedience is willing obedience.
Happy he with such a mother! Faith in womankind
Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high
comes easy to him.