Of domesticall duties eight treatises. I. An exposition of that part of Scripture out of which domesticall duties are raised. ... VIII. Duties of masters. By William Gouge.
Gouge, William, 1578-1653.

§. 50. Of an husbands*prouident care for his wife about her child-bearing.

Most proper to this place is that prouident care which hus∣bands ought to haue of their wiues both before and in the time of their trauell and child-bed: and that in two things especially.

1. In procuring for their wiues to the vttermost of their power and abilitie, such things as may saue their longing, in case they doe long (as in all ages women in the time of bree∣ding and bearing childe, haue beene subiect thereunto.) For it is well knowne, that it is very dangerous both for mother and childe to want her longing: the death sometimes of the one, sometimes of the other, sometimes of both hath followed thereupon.

2. In prouiding such things as are needfull for their trauell Page  400 and lying in childbed. This time is especially to be prouided for, in many respects.

1. Because it is a time of weaknesse, wherein the woman can∣not well prouide for her selfe.

2. Because her weaknesse is ioyned with much paine: the * paine of a women in trauell is the greatest paine that ordinari∣ly is endured by any for the time: none know it so well as they that feele it: and many husbands because they are not subiect thereto, thinke but lightly of it: but if we duly weigh * that the holy Ghost when he would set forth the extremitie of any paines and pangs, resembleth them to the paines of a wo∣man in trauell, we may well gather, that of all they are the greatest: which is further manifested by the screekes and out∣cries which not only weake, and faint-hearted women vtter in the time of their trauell, but also are forced from the strongest, and stoutest women that be, and that though before hand they resolue to the contrary. Neither may we wonder thereat; for their body is as it were set on a racke (if at least the trauell be sharpe) and all their parts so stretched, as a wonder it is they should euer recouer their health and strength againe: or that they should hold out the brunt, and not die with their trauell, as Rachel, and the wife of Phinchas, and many in all ages haue * done. Surely among ordinary deliuerances I know none so neere a miracle, none wherein the Almighty doth so euidently manifest his great power and good prouidence, as in the safe deliuerie of women. Besides the great pang of trauell, wo∣men are also after their deliuerie subiect to many after-throws which are very painfull. From all these paines and great weaknesse which befalleth women in childbed, especially if they nurse their children, men by reason of their sex are freed: Now then to apply this point, seeing women are brought to such paines and weaknesse in bringing forth those children which are the mans as well as hers, and he freed from all; is it not very iust and meet that he should prouide all things need∣full for her welfare, ease, and recouery of strength?

3. Because the want of things needfull is at that time very dangerous: dangerous to the health and life of the woman and childe also.