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blessing even to the very greatest men, like Goethe, to have had
a youthful mother. It would also, in many cases, be a great
advantage for the woman herself if she could bring her
procreative life to an end well before the age of twenty-five, so
that she could then, unhampered by child-bearing and mature in
experience, be free to enter on such wider activities in the
world as she might be fitted for.
Such an arrangement of the procreative life of women would,
obviously, only be a variation, and would probably be unsuited
for the majority. Every case must be judged on its own merits.
The best age for procreation will probably continue to be
regarded as being, for most women, around the age of twenty. But
at a time like the present, when there is an unfortunate
tendency for motherhood to be unduly delayed, it becomes
necessary to insist on the advantages, in many cases, of early
There are other conditions favorable or unfavorable to procreation which
it is now unnecessary to discuss in detail, since they have already been
incidentally dealt with in previous volumes of these _Studies_. There is,
for instance, the question of the time of year and the time of the
menstrual cycle which may most properly be selected for procreation.
The best period is probably that when sexual desire is strongest, which is
the period when conception would appear, as a matter of fact, most often
to occur. This would be in spring or early summer, and immediately
after (or shortly before) the menstrual period. The Chinese have observed
that the last day of menstruation and the two following
days--corresponding to the period of oestrus--constitute the most
favorable time for fecundation, and Bossi, of Genoa, has found that the
great majority of successes in both natural and artificial fecundation
occur at this period. Soranus, as well as the Talmud, assigned the
period about menstruation as the best for impregnation, and Susruta, the
Indian physician, said that at this time pregnancy most readily occurs
because then the mouth of the womb is open, like the flower of the
water-lily to the sunshine.
We have now at last reached the point from which we started, the moment of
conception, and the child again lies in its mother's womb. There remains
no more to be said. The divine cycle of life is completed.
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