This section is from the book "Health Without Medicine. A Treatise On The Laws Of The Human System", by Larkin B. Coles. Also available from Amazon: Philosophy Of Health.
This consists in what is called the ovum, or egg, which bears a close resemblance in character to that of the oviparous or egg-bearing animals. This is the natural element for the reception of the primary principle or germ which is of paternal origin. It is located, not in the interior, as may generally be supposed, but is on the exterior, upper, and lateral part of the uterus, or womb. The whole course of the reproductive process is, in all its essential features, analogous to that of oviparous reproduction. Soon after the reproductive process is commenced, the ovum changes its location from the exterior to the interior of the uterus, where it undergoes a full fetal development. The uterine system is concerned in the nutrition and perfection of the paternal rudiment of the future being; and great care should be taken that nothing, at any stage of early life, shall transpire to derange its functionary powers, and disable it for the purposes for which it was originally designed.
This system is liable to derangements of various kinds. One is displacement. This may be brought about by severe lifting; jumping and striking hard upon the feet; long protracted standing; severe exercise in jumping rope; severe exercise in dancing; tight lacing; and other causes. Any cause, too, which tends to weaken the general system will greatly promote this derangement. Irregularities of periodical habit often become matters of serious moment. Where daughters have been brought up under proper physical training -- if their discipline in respect to diet, open air, exercise, and other things, has been what they should be -- there will be little difficulty of this kind. But if parents have been guilty of neglecting these obligations, have brought up their daughters too delicately, have not given sufficient attention to the development of their physical powers, or have allowed them to have irregular habits of diet, by which their digestive apparatus has become disordered, serious results may follow. If they have not given them precautions against such causes as sudden colds, exposure of the feet by thin shoes, long-continued cold feet, tight lacing, costive bowels, and other hurtful influences, they may find occasion for repentance when it is too late to make amends.
There is great sympathy between the female mind and her own reproductive system. The offspring, while in its fetal state, receives an imprint from the maternal mind, which, though it may afterward be modified, can never be eradicated. It there receives a mental and moral mould, the great outlines of which can never be obliterated. We go into a family of children, and find some very different traits of character. Trace the history of these different children back to their foetal state, and the influences to which they were then exposed by the immediate operations of the mother's mind, and the causes of these differences will then appear. While the paternal character gives the great features, the immediate operations of maternal influences give the smaller peculiarities.
This sympathy is also manifested in the effects of sudden emotions and particular appetites. Deformities of physical structure are not unfrequently produced by a sudden impression being made on the mother's mind by the unexpected appearance of some frightful or disagreeable object. A case which has come under the observation of the writer, was of this sort. The mother, during her pregnancy -- somewhere about the sixth month -- indulged a great desire for partridge-meat. The husband went in search for the fowl, but rinding none, killed a ground-squirrel, and brought it home. She saw him at a distance, thought the partridge was coming, and prepared her cooking apparatus for its reception. She saw no more of her husband till he, with astonishing imprudence, threw the dead animal at her feet. She was shocked at the sight, and sadly disappointed. When the child was born, it presented, in a striking manner, the features of the dead squirrel, as it laid prostrate before her. The arms could never be raised above an angle of forty-five degrees from the body. The hands resembled the animal's claws; the elbow and knee joints were almost immovable, and bent in the opposite way from the natural direction. He lived to ripe manhood, but with the same degree of malformation and disability. Many illustrations of this kind might be adduced, together with cases of mothers' marks, in proof of the great sympathy between the maternal reproductive system and the maternal mind.