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 Post subject: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 12:19 
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Given that she was so delicate from an early age, I really don't think she should have undergone so many pregnancies and births. I'm aware that she had converted to Catholicism which frowns upon contraception, but surely Jack (being a doctor) would have known a little bit about gynaecology and might have refrained on certain days. Or am I assuming too much about medical knowledge of the 40s and 50s?

And given that Madge wasn't a Catholic, why did she have such a large family?

Apologies if this has been discussed already, but it's my very first thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 12:48 
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No, probably not wise, but makes a good story! Joey seems to have lost her physical delicacy when grown up, but she does remain very highly strung and excitable, she seems to be knocked off balance by things, which might have something to do with frequent upsurges of hormones with so many pregnancies. Perhaps she should have stopped after Charles - 5 would be enough for her to cope with reasonably well.

I think Madge's 6 children is not uncommon for the time, and she spaces hers much more reasonably. There's a couple of years between David and Sybil, but after that there are bigger gaps - about 3/4 years before Josette (although her age does get EBD'd several times!), and same for Ailie, then a big gap before the twins. I suspect the first 4 were planned, but twins not!


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 13:02 
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I suspect that Madge's twins were a happy accident :D. It seems unlikely that she'd have decided to become pregnant whilst she was away from home. Given that she had all the Bettany children to look after, it also seems sensible that she left a big gap between Sybil and Josette.

Dick and Mollie are the ones who seem to have no idea of family planning - OK, they had two sets of twins, but they had four kids in four years, and then Mollie was expecting again whilst Jackie was still a baby! I suspect that Jem had a "little word" with Dick during the Bettanys' visit in Jo Returns , because they pause after that!

Other Catholic families in the books - the Maranis, Mensches, etc - don't produce huge families (although the second generation have more than the first), so I don't think it was a religious thing, just that EBD and Joey both wanted Joey to have more children than anyone else! Joey was absolutely fine five minutes after giving birth to triplets - the nurse commented on it - which seems unlikely. Madge was ill after having David and Janie was ill after having Barney, so EBD was clearly aware that childbirth wasn't just that easy.

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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 15:38 
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Janie's illness is somewhat of a mystery. At the end of Janie Steps In' she was fine after having Barney, and thrilled with having another son, then a couple of books later in the CS series, we're told that she's in the throes of a protracted illness. I think that that was a result of EBD's forgetfulness, and she needed Janie to be ill, not a thriving mother.

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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 17:08 
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Welcome to the CBB, Rosamund.

I don't think anyone would recommend having as many pregnancies as Jo did, especially given her tendency to have multiples. She does seem to have spaced out her earlier children. Chas might have been an accident, but there's a reasonable gap between the triplets and Steve (and it's explicitly stated that she stopped breastfeeding the triplets when they were a few months old, so she wasn't using breastfeeding as contraception) and either side of Mike.

I think she could reasonably have stopped after Mike, since none of the younger ones are old enough to play any major part in the books. Although maybe EBD was anticipating skipping terms and years, as she had done earlier in the series, and having them grow up more quickly.

I suspect EBD, with triplets, was looking to outdo EJO, whose characters all have twins, and one (Rosamund!) has two sets of girl twins within a calendar year. (Someone wrote a drabble a while back in which they went to the CS and were introduced to Joey as quads! Roses at the Chalet School, I think.)

On the one hand, EBD realistically shows Jo having a difficult pregnancy with her second twins in Theodora. Then she has that prolonged faint at the beginning of Joey & Co. Then a few weeks later she's hiking round the mountains and engaging in swimming races with fit (in every sense? :wink:), sporty young men.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 18:11 
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I don't think so many pregnancies were necessary for plot purposes. I would cut out Mike and the second twins so Jo would have - The Triplets, The Boys, The Twins and The Singleton Daughter. That's plenty and more than Madge, Mollie and her friends. Felix could become The Naughty Boy. The cover of Rescue shows Jo carrying a baby (Stephen) with the triplets . At the end of the series, fifteen years later, the last book could show her still with a baby (Marie-Claire) with Geoff and Phil. Surely too much for anyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 18:31 
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I agree she'd have been better stopping at Mike, or at most F&F. I usually forget the second twins even exist most of the time, really. Charles or Mike should have been a girl, to fit in as a Middle during the Jack Lambert period. Charlotte/Michaela would then lead a rival gang to the odious Jack's, a la Mary-Lou and Phil Craven.

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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 21:18 
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I don't think she should have had so many children if only because I think it was too many for her to cope with. I don't think it was to do with her RC religion Jo having such a large family. She speaks in a couple of books of planning her family and Felix and Felicity were definitely planned - Jo and Jack's conversation in Peggy.

I think EBD wanted Jo to have more children than anyone else and she might also have viewed it as something that would make all her young female readers happy; hearing about all those delightful babies!

I do think it was ridiculous Mollie Bettany churning out babies she was going to leave with Madge. However, I do think this might also have been to 'grow' Madge's new household. It also meant that there was lots going on when the girls from the school visited the Sonnalpe.

I do think Madge's twins were planned. In Three Go a year before they were born Madge is shown looking at little vests of David's which she had out airing. Kester and Kevin came early but even so I think Madge became pregnant before she went to Canada.

I think EBD made a huge mistake leaving such a big gap between the triplets and the next daughter. It would have made such a difference if the triplets had a sister four or five years younger. On the other hand EBD could have made more of Ailie.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2016, 21:56 
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In the 1920s and 1930s contraception was frowned upon by many branches of Christianity, not just Catholicism. Dick and Mollie may not have known how not to have a long family!

Mollie only leaves her children with Madge because this was the "done thing" for parents who lived in India; children were not thought to thrive out there, and were sent "home" for their education. Two famous examples were Rudyard Kipling and Rumer Godden, neither of whom felt quite at home in either Britain or India for the rest of their lives!

My grandfather's aunt made a home for several children from India at one stage of her life (she later ran a home for Estonian nurses, and then dropped everything to look after her nephews when their mother died - very Girls' Own somehow, since she and their father were twins); one has to hope she was a lot nicer to them than Kipling's guardians were to him!


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 00:50 
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Natural Family Planning (aka the rhythm method) was accepted and promoted by the Catholic church from the early 1930s, so Jack, as a Catholic doctor, should have known the details. But from what Jack and Joey say, it does sound like they were planning their family - Joey says right out that they're probably going to stop after second twins, as they "aren't millionaires". And her pregnancies are, with the exception of Charles, neatly spaced at 2-3 years between pregnancies.

For Dick and Mollie, latex condoms were available in the 1930s, so they had more options of restricting their family growth, at least at the level of less than six kids in five years!

Joey isn't really physically delicate after the first couple of years in the Tyrol - most of her health problems are the result of emotional stress, and a tendency to overdo things and collapse.

I think with Joey, what she lacks is an understanding of how much her personal circumstances contribute to her ability to have and enjoy a large family. They've got a giant house with enough room for sixteen kids plus long term house guests, and room left over for studies, dressing rooms, and private bedrooms for the older kids. They've got an extensive vacation home, and a someone gives them a minivan that fits the whole family. They've got devoted servants who do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, most of the child-care, and have time left over for fancy baking, making delicious jam, and walking a badly trained St Bernard. They can afford good quality private boarding schools for all eleven children, and expect to send all of them to university. They've got an extensive support system, so if Joey is poorly, she can be sent to bed to recuperate, while other people handle everything.

That's very, very far outside the experience of anyone I've ever known who has kids, but Joey is very breezy about it - confidently stating that bigger families are better, because the older ones can look after the younger - ignoring all the things she has that her friends and family don't.

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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 09:57 
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"They can afford good quality private boarding schools for all eleven children"

I think the girls get free education as Joey is a shareholder in the Chalet School, so it's only the boys' education they need to pay for, and even they get free junior education till they are about 8 and go off to prep school in England, so that's a bonus, but otherwise, yes they do have the money and support system to cope with such a large family.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 11:15 
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ivohenry wrote:
"They can afford good quality private boarding schools for all eleven children"

I think the girls get free education as Joey is a shareholder in the Chalet School, so it's only the boys' education they need to pay for, and even they get free junior education till they are about 8 and go off to prep school in England, so that's a bonus, but otherwise, yes they do have the money and support system to cope with such a large family.


Plus, isn't there money from Grannie Maynard that pays for the older boys at school and triplets, or is that post-education?

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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 11:37 
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I think Granny Maynard's money is just for for the triplets and Stephen - don't remember her death getting a mention at the time, but must have been in the year or so between Stephen and Charles' birth


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 12:54 
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I've always seen Joey's large family as some slightly misty eyed rose tinted wish fulfillment on the part of EBD, mixed in with "that's what the grown up heroines of girls stories do, once they leave school" - have lots of interesting babies (which are then treated a bit like dolls until old enough to go to school in their turn.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 13:10 
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Caroline wrote:
I've always seen Joey's large family as some slightly misty eyed rose tinted wish fulfillment on the part of EBD, mixed in with "that's what the grown up heroines of girls stories do, once they leave school" - have lots of interesting babies (which are then treated a bit like dolls until old enough to go to school in their turn.


I like this analysis, Caroline. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 14:34 
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thefrau46 wrote:
Caroline wrote:
I've always seen Joey's large family as some slightly misty eyed rose tinted wish fulfillment on the part of EBD, mixed in with "that's what the grown up heroines of girls stories do, once they leave school" - have lots of interesting babies (which are then treated a bit like dolls until old enough to go to school in their turn.


I like this analysis, Caroline. :)


I also agree.

EBD only had the one brother who died although I think she could have had a half brother she never saw. She could have been a bit lonely.

EBD possibly also thought that the babies made the households more interesting to the readers. Imagine, too, visits to Freudesheim if Joey had stopped at, say, Mike. No "cute" (?) little scenes with Maynard babies and toddlers and no pram pushing walks for Joey around the Platz with the possibility of bumping into CS pupils. For me, too, reading as a young girl it added another dimension to the books.

It is interesting though, that the size of the CS families was probably different from those of other families of around the same time.

My grandparents were all born around 1900. My grandfathers both came from huge families and a grandmother was one of six. I believe that was the norm for the time. Contrast that with 3 Bettany children, Marie and Frieda each from families also of 3 children and Simone with only one sister.

One generation down, around the thirties, most families were a lot smaller. My father was one of three although one died aged three. My mother was one of four including a set of twins.

Contrast this with EBD's families. Dick and Mollie Bettany have seven children including six born in four years (albeit from four pregnancies). Madge has six spread over a long period of time. Joey has 11. Marie has seven, Frieda has five? and Simone about the same. I suppose as the books went into the fifties the families did grow slightly smaller as with Frieda and Simone.

EBD did work in reverse od the current trends. She probably did not want Frieda, Marie etc cluttered up with lots of siblings but later on with Jo she gave her lots of children to add interest.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 17:25 
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Joey: There are a couple of telling remarks, one by Joey when she says that something along the lines of "they wo'n't be tripping round after Mamma much longer" in a regretful way, and one by someone else (possibly Mary-Lou) along the lines that "in a couple of years time, you'll be saying you miss having a baby around". This could be interpreted that Joey likes having a baby to look after. Now, that's not unusual in "planned" long families where the reason for having some many children is actually because the mother enjoys the baby stage, and the dependency of very young children.

Molly: It is known that people who lose a baby (either to death or have the baby "taken away" for whatever reason) often "replace" the "lost" child with a new baby. Noticeably, children stop arriving in that household when the Second Twins are born - and cannot be removed because of the war.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2016, 21:20 
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I think Joey felt keenly, growing up, how small her family was. Just her, and her siblings, much older than her, and a scattering of elderly relatives. So she longed for a large family of her own to compensate for this.

Also, in those days, part of the marriage service, even for C of E, was that marriage was:

Quote:
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.


and contraception was frowned upon, and considered sinful right up until the last 60's.

Quote:
not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding;


children were thought of as the rightful fruits of marriage, as many as God ordained, and not to be prevented (circumventing Gods will by mans actions)

Sex for recreation primarily is a modern thing for devout Christians.

The same view, but more so, is espoused by the Catholic Faith


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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2016, 17:52 
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fibreclaire wrote:
Also, in those days, part of the marriage service, even for C of E, was that marriage was:
Quote:
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

and contraception was frowned upon, and considered sinful right up until the last 60's.
Quote:
not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding;


Sex for recreation primarily is a modern thing for devout Christians. The same view, but more so, is espoused by the Catholic Faith

Most definitely, fibreclaire! And contraception is still a 'sin' for Catholics, when we had all hoped for better things after Vatican II. Many Catholics left the church because of it, and many priests walked away from their vocation.

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 Post subject: Re: Was it wise for Joey to have so many children?
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2016, 23:13 
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Victoria wrote:
Molly: It is known that people who lose a baby (either to death or have the baby "taken away" for whatever reason) often "replace" the "lost" child with a new baby. Noticeably, children stop arriving in that household when the Second Twins are born - and cannot be removed because of the war.


Indeed - even my parents had another baby once my brother and I were at boarding-school; I suppose they weren't ready to be "empty nesters" under 40! I believe they tried for a 4th child, but it didn't happen.


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