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.“And what might that be,” she asked with perfect, colorless courtesy.Now it was I who felt an urge to drop my eyes from her steady hazel ones, but I held her gaze.“I insist upon knowing your real name.We can continue to do business on a cash basis if that is how you prefer it, and I can continue to have Mrs.Davidson issue you receipts in the name of Jane Smith.But if we are going to travel through the next seven months or so together, I would like to be able to address you by the name to which you answer in all the rest of your life.”I finished this absurdly stiff little speech and watched her think it through.I was somehow quite sure she was going to stand up, thank me for my time, and leave forever.I was going to feel disappointed if that happened.I liked her.Even more, I liked the straightforward way she was handling a problem which would have reduced ninety women out of a hundred to inept and undignified liars, terrified by the living clock within and so deeply ashamed of their situation that to make any reasonable plan for coping with it became impossible.I suppose many young people today would find such a state of mind ludicrous, ugly, even hard to believe.People have become so eager to demonstrate their broad-mindedness that a pregnant woman who has no wedding ring is apt to be treated with twice the solicitude of one who does.You gentlemen will well remember when the situation was quite different—you will remember a time when rectitude and hypocrisy were combined to make a situation that was viciously difficult for a woman who had gotten herself “in a scrape.” In those days, a married pregnant woman was a radiant woman, sure of her position and proud of fulfilling what she considered to be the function God put her on earth for.An unmarried pregnant woman was a trollop in the eyes of the world and apt to be a trollop in her own eyes as well.They were, to use Ella Davidson’s word, “easy,” and in that world and that time, “easiness” was not quickly forgiven.Such women crept away to have their babies in other towns or cities.Some took pills or jumped from buildings.Others went to butcher abortionists with dirty hands or tried to do the job themselves; in my time as a physician I have seen four women die of blood-loss before my eyes as the result of punctured wombs—in one case the puncturing was done by the jagged neck of a Dr Pepper bottle that had been tied to the handle of a whiskbroom.It is hard to believe now that such things happened, but they did, gentlemen.They did.It was, quite simply, the worst situation a healthy young woman could find herself in.“All right,” she said at last.“That’s fair enough.My name is Sandra Stansfield.” And she held her hand out.Rather amazed, I took it and shook it.I’m rather glad Ella Davidson didn’t see me do that.She would have made no comment, but the coffee would have been bitter for the next week.She smiled—at my own expression of bemusement, I imagine—and looked at me frankly.“I hope we can be friends, Dr.McCarron.I need a friend just now.I’m quite frightened.”“I can understand that, and I’ll try to be your friend if I can, Miss Stansfield.Is there anything I can do for you now?”She opened her handbag and took out a dime-store pad and a pen.She opened the pad, poised the pen, and looked up at me.For one horrified instant I believed she was going to ask me for the name and address of an abortionist.Then she said: “I’d like to know the best things to eat.For the baby, I mean.”I laughed out loud.She looked at me with some amazement.“Forgive me—it’s just that you seem so businesslike.”“I suppose,” she said.“This baby is a part of my business now, isn’t it, Dr.McCarron?”“Yes.Of course it is.And I have a folder which I give to all my pregnant patients.It deals with diet and weight and drinking and smoking and lots of other things.Please don’t laugh when you look at it.You’ll hurt my feelings if you do, because I wrote it myself.”And so I had—although it was really more of a pamphlet than a folder, and in time became my book, A Practical Guide to Pregnancy and Delivery.I was quite interested in obstetrics and gynecology in those days—still am—although it was not a thing to specialize in back then unless you had plenty of uptown connections.Even if you did, it might take ten or fifteen years to establish a strong practice.Having hung out my shingle at a rather too-ripe age as a result of the war, I didn’t feel I had the time to spare.I contented myself with the knowledge that I would see a great many happy expectant mothers and deliver a great many babies in the course of my general practice.And so I did; at last count I had delivered well over two thousand babies—enough to fill fifty classrooms.I kept up with the literature on having babies more smartly than I did on that applying to any other area of general practice.And because my opinions were strong, enthusiastic ones, I wrote my own pamphlet rather than just passing along the stale chestnuts so often foisted on young mothers then.I won’t run through the whole catalogue of these chestnuts—we’d be here all night—but I’ll mention a couple.Expectant mothers were urged to stay off their feet as much as possible, and on no account were they to walk any sustained distance lest a miscarriage or “birth damage” result.Now giving birth is an extremely strenuous piece of work, and such advice is like telling a football player to prepare for the big game by sitting around as much as possible so he won’t tire himself out! Another sterling piece of advice, given by a.good many doctors, was that moderately overweight mothers-to-be take up smoking.smoking! The rationale was perfectly expressed by an advertising slogan of the day [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]