A booklet unearthed by blogger Ciara Meehan and owned by her grandmother gives a strange and interesting look into the thought process and society conventions in Ireland in the mid to late 1930s.
The booklet, which Meehan says on her blog was part of a "Homely" series, gives tips and advice to married women on how to best serve and cater to their husbands. The specific booklet that she found was published in 1938, printed in Ireland, though originally translated from German.
Some of the words of wisdom to come out of this booklet are things like:
"Your husband comes first in the house. His will should prevail. Therefore you belong to him more than to your parents."
Despite the insistence that this booklet is called "A Guide for the Young Wife," it seems to cater more to "the expectations not of the husband or even of the future children, but rather of God and the church."
This is emphasized by this quote: "You are beginning a new life which you have entered through sacred doors. It was not a mere ceremony which took place before God’s altar. God’s hands were extended over you in blessing for the holy task which lies before you"
The booklet even follows that grain of insight with its own perspective on the morality of abortion.
"When the mother’s life is endangered by the birth of the child, the life that is coming may not be destroyed. Even the doctor may not do this. He may do all that is possible to save the mother’s life except anything that would directly destroy the life of the child … Woe to the mother who is a murderess!"
Surprisingly, this 1938 booklet's arguments against abortion sound eerily similar to the anti-abortion arguments of the modern era.
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