The Review and Herald


July 25, 1899

Disease and Its Causes


In past generations, if mothers had informed themselves in regard to the laws of their being, they would have understood that their constitutional strength, as well as the tone of their morals, and their mental faculties, would in a great measure be represented in their offspring. Their ignorance upon this subject, where so much is involved, is criminal. Many women should never have become mothers. Their blood was filled with scrofula, transmitted to them from their parents, and increased by their gross manner of living. The intellect has been brought down, and enslaved to serve the animal appetites. Children born of such parents have been great sufferers, and of but little use to society. RH July 25, 1899, par. 1

It has been one of the greatest causes of degeneracy in preceding generations, that wives and mothers, who otherwise would have had a beneficial influence upon society in raising the standard of morals, have been lost to society through the multiplicity of home cares, because of the fashionable, health-destroying manner of cooking, and also in consequence of too frequent child-bearing. The mother has been compelled to endure needless suffering, her constitution has failed, and her intellect has become weakened by so great a draft upon her vital resources. Her offspring suffer because of her debility; and through her inability to educate them, society has thrown upon it a class poorly fitted to be of any benefit. RH July 25, 1899, par. 2

If these mothers had given birth to but few children, and had been careful to live upon such food as would preserve physical health and mental strength, so that the moral and intellectual might predominate over the animal, they could have so educated their children for usefulness that they would have been bright ornaments to society. RH July 25, 1899, par. 3

If, in past generations, parents had, with firmness of purpose, kept the body servant to the mind, and had not allowed the intellectual to be enslaved by the animal passions, there would be in this age a different order of beings upon the earth. And if the mother, before the birth of her offspring, had always possessed self-control, realizing that she was giving the stamp of character to future generation, the present state of society would not be so depreciated in character. RH July 25, 1899, par. 4

Every woman about to become a mother, whatever may be her surroundings, should encourage constantly a happy, contended disposition, knowing that for all her efforts in this direction she will be repaid tenfold in the physical, as well as in the moral, character of her offspring. Nor is this all. By habit she can accustom herself to cheerful thinking, and thus encourage a happy state of mind, and cast a cheerful reflection of her own happiness of spirit upon her family, and those with whom she associates. And in a very great degree her physical health will be improved. A force will be imparted to the life springs; the blood will not move sluggishly, as would be the case if she were to yield to despondency and gloom. Her mental and moral health are invigorated by the buoyancy of her spirits. The power of the will can resist impressions of the mind, and will prove a grand soother of the nerves. Children who are robbed of that vitality which they should have inherited from their parents should have the utmost care. By close attention to the laws of their being, a much better condition may be established. RH July 25, 1899, par. 5

The period in which the infant receives its nourishment from its mother is critical. Many a mother, while nursing her infant, has been permitted to overwork, heating her blood over the cook-stove; and the nursling has been seriously affected, not only with fevered nourishment from the mother's breast, but its blood has been poisoned by the unhealthy diet of the mother, which has fevered her whole system, thereby affecting the food of the infant. The infant is also affected by the condition of the mother's mind. If she is unhappy, easily agitated, irritable, giving vent to outbursts of passion, the nourishment the infant receives from its mother will be inflamed, often producing colic, spasms, and, in some instances, causing convulsions, or fits. RH July 25, 1899, par. 6

The character also of the child is more or less affected by the nature of the nourishment received from the mother. How important, then, that the mother, while nursing her infant, should preserve a happy state of mind, having perfect control of her own spirit. By thus doing, the food of the child is not injured, and the calm, self-possessed course the mother pursues in the treatment of her child has much to do in molding the mind of the infant. If it is nervous, and easily agitated, the mother's careful, unhurried manner will have a soothing and correcting influence, and the health of the infant will be much improved. RH July 25, 1899, par. 7

Infants have been greatly abused by improper treatment. If fretful, they have generally been fed to keep them quiet, when, in most cases, receiving too much food, made injurious by the wrong habits of the mother, was the very cause of their fretfulness. More food only made the matter worse; for the stomach was already overloaded. RH July 25, 1899, par. 8

Children are generally brought up from the cradle to indulge the appetite, and are taught that they live to eat. The mother does much toward the formation of the character of her children in their childhood. She can teach them to control the appetite, or she can teach them to indulge the appetite, and become gluttons. The mother often plans to accomplish a certain amount of work during the day; and when the children trouble her, instead of taking time to soothe their little sorrows, and divert them, something is given them to eat, to keep them still. This accomplishes the purpose for a short time, but eventually makes things worse. The children's stomachs are pressed with food when they have not the least want of food. All that is required is a little of mother's time and attention. But she regards her time altogether too precious to devote to the amusement of her children. Perhaps to arrange her house in a tasteful manner for visitors to praise, and to have her food cooked in fashionable style, are, with her, higher considerations than the happiness and health of her children. RH July 25, 1899, par. 9

Intemperance in eating and in labor debilitates the parents, often making them nervous, and disqualifying them rightly to discharge their duty to their children. Three times a day parents and children gather around the table, loaded with a variety of fashionable foods. The merits of each dish have to be tested. Perhaps the mother has toiled till she is heated and exhausted, and is not in a condition to take even the simplest food till she has first had a period of rest. The food she wearied herself in preparing is wholly unfit for her at any time, but especially taxes the digestive organs when the blood is heated and the system exhausted. Those who have thus persisted in violating the laws of their being have been compelled to pay the penalty at some period of their life. RH July 25, 1899, par. 10

There are ample reasons why there are so many nervous women in the world, complaining of dyspepsia, with its train of evils. The cause has been followed by the effect. It is impossible for intemperate persons to be patient. They must first reform bad habits, and learn to live healthfully; then it will not be difficult for them to be patient. Many do not seem to understand the relation the mind sustains to the body. If the system is deranged by improper food, the brain and nerves are affected, and slight things annoy those who are thus afflicted. Little difficulties are to them troubles mountain high. Persons thus situated are unfitted properly to train their children. Their life will be marked with extremes; sometimes they will be very indulgent, at other times severe, censuring for trifles that deserve no notice. RH July 25, 1899, par. 11