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"How can a man know what a woman's life is? A woman's life is quite different
from a man's. God has ordered it so. A man is the same from the time of his
circumcision to the time of his withering. He is the same before he has sought
out a woman for the first time, and afterwards. But the day when a woman enjoys
her first love cuts her in two. She becomes another woman on that day. The man
is the same after his first love as he was before. The woman is from the day of
her first love another. That continues so all through life. The man spends a
night by a woman and goes away. His life and body are always the same. The
woman conceives. As a mother she is another person than the woman without
child. She carries the print of the night nine months long in her body.
Something grows. Something grows into her life that never again departs from
it. She is a mother. She is and remains a mother even though her child die,
though all her children die. For at one time she carried the child under her
heart. And it does not go out of her heart ever again. Not even when it is
dead. And this the man does not know; he knows nothing. He does not know the
difference before love and after love, before motherhood and after motherhood.
He can know nothing. Only a woman can know that and speak of that. That is
why we won't be told what to do by our husbands. A woman can only do one thing.
She can respect herself. She can keep herself decent. She must always be as
her nature is. She must always be maiden and always be mother. Before every
love she is a maiden, after every love she is a mother. In this you can see
whether she is a good woman or not."
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