Pregnancy is a critical period for mother and child. While this is a known fact, this had been overlooked in the early part of the 20th century especially in times of war.
It is particularly difficult to be pregnant throughout the period of war. There is not just a high level of stress and anxiety over safety but there’s also that extreme danger of living under the ruling of hostile forces. There could be a shortage in the food supply and unavailability of food source recommended for the conceiving mother.
Pampering is almost impossible because of the economic and social situation of the nation during WWII. Many women in this era have little-acknowledged rights to the point that working women were not granted maternity rights. They have to work even in the last trimester of pregnancy.
When the Pearl Harbour had been bombed by the Japanese Imperial, many American men signed up to join the armed forces, leaving most of the men’s duties to women from the farming to the manufacturing industry.
Struggles of Pregnant Women in WWII Throughout the World
There were many struggles that pregnant women have to endure then and these struggles were not just true in the United States but throughout the world. Particularly in Asian countries where the impact of the war had been mostly felt.
In Korea, women and children felt the wrath of war as they tried so hard to run for safety and survive for freedom. And while it is already hard for women and children, it’s harder for pregnant women who have to stay healthy while battling the stress of the war.
Much harder is the hardship that women have to endure while imprisoned and abused sexually. Read more at https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/confronting-koreas-censored-discourse-on-comfort-women/. When these women become pregnant, it is harder for them to stay healthy while growing a child in their belly. And after the baby is born, mothers are clueless as to where the baby has gone.
Experiments on Pregnant Women
While the horrors of keeping women in brothels were already worse, the experiments done on pregnant women is even far monstrous. In the name of science during the World War 2, scientists would like to know if syphilis could possibly be passed from mother to baby. Once prisoners had been impregnated purposely for the experiment, these women were infected with syphilis. Then from each stage of pregnancy, the fetus is tracked with its development.
There were many tales of horrors that only those who survived can tell the story. For now, we can say that our generation is lucky enough that the war is over, that there is more value given to human rights like it was before and during the war that harmed millions of people throughout the world.