and then there were fourteen

Madame la consultante, aged 40, possessed a relatively strong constitution. Sanguine in temperament, she had a vivacious and sensitive personality. Married at the age of 18, she was mother to 14 children born over a 17 to 18 year period….


back up.

14 children. 17 years.

Quiver-full, much?

Madame later began to suffer from what her doctors refer to as delirium, a state which included worrying, agitation, sorrow, boredom, and indifference to anything in her environment.

I can fully appreciate the complexity of any kind of mental illness, but it strikes me that the psychic and somatic repercussions of being pregnant almost continuously over a 17 year period could be quite dramatic. Certainly this isn’t the only Tissot consultation of this type.

Fast forward 180 odd years…

It’s hard to believe that contraception of any kind was illegal in Canada until 1969. And even then, if I recall correctly, it was only for properly married couples….

  1. Hedda said:

    In the Netherlands Every female over 16 could get a prescription for contraceptives (pills, IUD’s etc) from what I remember of the 60’s. In Great Britain, however, I needed my husband’s WRITTEN consent when I wanted to have an IUD inserted in 1971.

  2. Sonja Boon said:

    Actually, I was wrong. Of course controlling reproduction of the “unfit” has a much longer history (which is intertwined with the production of the pill in really messy ways…)

  3. And by the way, asking your husband’s permission ? Really?

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