Millett: Women show rare courage (1-4-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 4, 1943)

Millett: Women show rare courage

Have babies with husband often far away
By Ruth Millett

The woman called a cab, went to the hospital and had her baby.

When they asked her if she didn’t want her husband notified, she said in surprise:

No, he works in a defense plant. I don’t want him away from his job. He will be through at six o’clock tonight.

That is the wartime attitude of women toward the job of having babies. No fuss, no demands for sympathy; no self-pity if the husband is clear across the country in an Army camp or overseas.

That is one way women are showing spunk and determination that shouldn’t be overlooked in our great admiration for the courage and the ability of the women who are filling men’s jobs. Because the job of having babies is just as important to the future of the country as the job of producing armaments.

While other countries are worried over the fact that they aren’t producing enough babies, we sometimes act as though young people don’t have a right to have babies in wartime, simply because it is a tougher job than in peacetime.

Even though older people are forever advising young folks to wait for more settled times before starting to enlarge their families, the young folks are going ahead having babies – not just as usual, but are breaking past production records.

And the burden of this defiance is borne by the mothers who often have to accept medical and hospital care that, due to the crowded hospital conditions and the shortage of civilian doctors and nurses, may not be the best; who often face the job of moving their babies from place to place as they follow their men.

But they are not complaining. They are tackling the job of having and caring for babies in wartime with a courage that is almost nonchalance.