This post series is inspired by the book, First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents by Bonnie Angelo. The book is about 11 mothers of presidents, all of whom lived in the 20th century. While Angelo presents a much more rounded version of the President’s mothers, my goal in these posts is to share only the positive things each mother did. So without further ado, here are some anecdotes about Sara Delano Roosevelt.
- In giving birth to FDR, Sara went through a labor of over 24 hours. The doctor eventually administered chloroform, but gave her too much and she passed out. The baby was born blue and had to be resuscitated. Thankfully both mother and baby recovered quickly.
- At a time when wealthy young mothers were not excepted to personally care for their babies, Sara nursed her baby a year longer than the usual practice. Of this decision, she remarked, “Every mother ought to learn to care for her own baby, whether she can afford to delegate the task to some one else or not.”
- As Franklin was her only child, Sara kept copious notes of every major milestone in her baby’s life.
- When FDR was under quarantine for scarlet fever at boarding school, his mother Sara climbed a workman’s ladder so she could get to the window that led to his room. She visited him every day atop the ladder and even read to him until he recovered.
- Sara was the first American mother to cast her ballot for her own son as president. (Although I’m sure many other mothers would have loved to do so, women did not gain the right to vote until three months before FDR’s first election.) Sara continued to vote for her son for two more terms until her death.
- Sara was the first mother of a president to write a memoir about her son, entitled My Boy Franklin.
- After her son’s election to president, Sara would address the nation over the radio on Mother’s Day.