From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 85 - January 16, 1873

From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

January 16, 1873

I’m completely recovered now. The little one (Thérèse !) is also doing well. She promises to be very strong, but nevertheless, I don’t dare count on it. I’m always afraid of enteritis.

I had begun to breastfeed her, and, fearing that this was not enough, I wanted to help by giving her a bottle. This worked very well until Sunday, but the famous bottle spoiled everything. It was impossible to make her go back to breastfeeding. I tried everything. I let her fast, but she cried so pitifully I had to give in.

She drinks perfectly. We give her half water in which we boiled some bread and half milk. That’s all she eats. I’ve decided not to give her anything else for three or four months, despite all the advice I’ve been given, because everyone disagrees with me, including the doctor who wants me to give her a cup of chocolate every morning! Just tell me if such a young child has the strength to endure that kind of diet. Under these conditions, it wouldn’t take long to give her the illness I dread so much. When I try to make her eat, I’ll ask you to tell me what food you gave your children to start with.

My little one is not at all difficult during the day, but at night she often makes us pay dearly for her good day. Last night I held her until eleven thirty. I was exhausted, and I couldn’t do it anymore. Fortunately, afterwards she didn’t do anything but sleep.

This child is named Thérèse, like my last little girl. Everybody tells me that she’ll be beautiful. She already laughs. I saw this for the first time on Tuesday. I thought I was mistaken, but yesterday it was impossible to doubt it any longer. She looked at me very carefully, then gave me a delightful smile.

While I was carrying her, I noticed something that never happened with my other children - when I sang, she would sing with me…. I’m confiding this to you. No one would believe it.

 © Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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