The Practice of Baby Farming & the Immoral Morality of the 19th Century

In late-Victorian Britain, Australia and less commonly, the United States, baby farming was a practice involving taking custody of a baby in exchange for payment, either in the form of a lump sum or continuous ongoing payments.

Women and couples who had babies out of wedlock in the 19th century didn’t have many options. They couldn’t just “keep” their children. They sold their babies to baby farmers. They were allowed to visit, if the mother’s chose that option. This sort of arrangement wasn’t all that uncommon in the 19th century. To rid the problem of illegitimate children, some women would resort to birthing their baby and leaving it somewhere amongst the elements or having backyard abortions. Others hid their pregnancy and would attempt to find them a new home, to give them a good life, better than they could. It wasn’t rare to find ads in the newspaper consisting of women looking for people to take their children. Whatever their avenue, prevailing morality was above keeping an illegitimate infant.

This book was fascinating, but it is extraordinarily thorough and very dense. Reads like a history book and had some extensive family tree layouts that were tough to follow. The author was super authoritative on this subject, so I absolutely recommend this book, but I did require a few breaks here and there. Because it’s such a fascinating subject, I decided to write this blog to explain this particular case of baby farming further, because I’ve also done my own research as well.

Sarah and John Makin were not the only baby farmers in 19th century Australia and not the only ones on trial and even executed for their crimes. In total, 13 babies were found buried in the backyards of the Makin’s various homes. There were several women in the late 1800s tried and executed for the practice of baby farming throughout Britain and New Zealand.

Of all the babies found, there was only one infant that they were able to prove was killed by the Makin’s, Horace Murray. So, while they were on trial for one child, the other 12 dead babies in their yard certainly didn’t help their case. The 18-year-old mother testified she gave the Makin’s ongoing child support payments and her baby was sold to them healthy. She made several attempts to visit the child but was continuously met with excuses, and his body was one of 13 found buried.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, babies often died from disease, syphilis, malnourishment due to impoverished parents/guardians or overdosing on Soothing Syrup. A lot of the women who became pregnant were casual prostitutes, a job that many unwed women took to in order to make ends meet. And during encounters, contracted syphilis. Therefore, many of the newborns eventually died from the disease in the care of the baby farmers. Because the babies were so badly decomposed at the time they were found, it was nearly impossible to conduct proper autopsies to determine a cause of death.

Soothing Syrup or Godfrey’s Cordial was a commonly used OTC “medicine” containing opium. And frequently used by mothers to sedate a fussy baby or help with diarrhea or colic. Also, those in poverty used it since it was cheap and would keep babies from crying when they were hungry, which is why many babies became malnourished. People would also water down baby formula if money were tight. The convenience, accessibility and low cost made Soothing Syrup an ideal choice used by baby farmers. Children often died from overdoses, which can explain the high infancy mortality rate for the babies that farmers oversaw.

The jury was only able to go off testimony from the women who came forward, willing to look at photographs and clothing that the babies were buried in to help identify them. Many of the women had in their contracts the right to visit their babies weekly, but the Makin’s typically had an excuse why they couldn’t see the baby, indicating it was already more than likely dead. It was all based off circumstantial evidence. But 13 babies buried on their various properties, isn’t just a coincidence, and highly unlikely they all died of natural causes with zero foul play. Especially since the Makin’s were known to have criminal records as well struggle financially. But for the times, people did what they had to in order to survive, no matter how morbid.

To that point, they were also shady with the money they received. Parents would have to either give a lump sum to the Makin’s or weekly payments to help support the babies. It was never enough to fully care for a child, but it is expected that the couple pocketed the money and resorted to cutting corners to care for the child, like all baby farmers, by watering down formula or using Soothing Syrup frequently. Many mothers testified they turned over healthy babies, which was often written in contracts, and when they would visit, their baby would look thin, frail and ill. Even coroners reported the remains of the babies looked extremely malnourished.

Again, it wasn’t uncommon for babies to die from several causes in that era, so when the Makin’s would inform parents their baby had died, they’d ask for a burial payment. Most parents didn’t ask questions about why the child died since the rate of infant deaths was fairly high during that time. They said they would put the babies in a nice coffin or grave using that money. But, pocketed the fee and just buried the baby in the backyard. The smell coming from the yard was unmatched by anything anyone had experienced, witnesses said. And a worker discovered two bodies buried in the ground while attempting to fix a blocked underground drain near the Makin’s yard, and alerted authorities.

John and Sarah Makin were both convicted of murder. John was hanged in 1893 and Sarah was given life in prison, as executing a woman was not allowed at the time in Australia. John made several attempts to save his own neck, by saying baby farming was at the root a female practice, as nobody would sell an infant to a single man. Unwed mothers always looked for loving women to take their children. And the baby farming business he found himself in would never have come to be if it weren’t for his wife.

Misogyny was socially acceptable and John took every advantage he had to save himself. But he was the one in court who had no remorse, remained stoic. Sarah was crying, fainting, acting theatrical. Other witnesses said Sarah was a “bad woman” and brash, bold, defiant. She had a temper. The pointing fingers didn’t make much difference since they partook in the baby farming together, and the jury didn’t seem to care much about who was more at fault. John also seemed to accept his fate with composure when the verdict was read, most likely knowing that at least one of those babies died due to foul play.

What’s most fascinating is that these children mattered more in death than they did in life. The black market selling and murdering of babies was inevitable in impoverished Victorian society, there was a clash between poverty and morality. You could sell your baby, because women couldn’t raise illegitimate children, but if it died in the hands of the farmers, it became a crime. Babies were not always adopted healthy either, sometimes the mothers would attempt to care for them and sell them when they were several months old, requiring the female baby farmers to begin wet-nursing, breast-feeding done by a woman who is not the mother.

The truth behind the practice of baby farming is chilling. Young, unwed mothers were desperate, and the conditions of the time were heartbreaking. The social stigma of illegitimate babies in the 19th century had the capability to break even the most powerful bond there is, between mother and child, bringing to light a sobering reality from just over a century ago.

'Poisoning Eros' by Wrath James White and Monica J. O'Rourke Book Review

It’s not unknown that I love the extreme horror genre but I do suspect my parents will call me and try to increase my therapy sessions after reading this review, but I degress. This book was just too damn good. It’s certainly not for the squeamish but if you can handle graphic sex and violence, you’ll find a story that’s thought-provoking and exceedingly well-written. It’s poignant, tragic and has characters that feel disturbingly too real.

Gloria is an aging porn star who takes on the most vile and repulsive gigs just to pay for her drug addiction. She’s used, abused, washed up and nobody in the adult film industry will hire her unless it’s for some nasty, perverted website with content that you couldn’t even conjure up in your worst nightmares. At one point she had a boyfriend and daughter, whom she gave up in an effort to feed her drug addiction and live her life of sleaze. But when one of her gigs gets way out of hand, she finds herself in Hell. She’s taken to Hell and back physically and emotionally. The wretched porn star is sentenced to an eternity of suffering and torture in the deepest pits of Hell. She does anything to get out, even if it means having to take it over.

It’s an examination of Heaven and Hell, good and evil, the Devil and God. At first glance, it seems the authors could have been in this for the shock value. But once you get past the opening, you’ll quickly learn there’s a reason for all the depravity. The ending is gripping and stirring but you’ll have to read it because I wouldn’t forgive myself if I gave it away.

It’s one of the most notorious modern horror novels that will punch you not once but twice in the gut. Question everything, and buckle up.

Why I Don't Read Self-Help Books

I’ve read just about any and all types of books. And, when trying to navigate my teens and early 20s, I took to self-help books while dealing with sexuality confusion, breakups and other typical issues of that age. I’m almost 30 now and here’s what I’ve learned. They just don’t work. And that’s not to say they don’t help anyone since they get published everyday but it’s the self-help books that promise to expose whatever innermost damaging issue you have and giving you the fix right then and there. And you know what books those are, you figure it out pretty quickly even just a chapter or two in. And more importantly, it seems it’s the same authors writing self-help books, churning out new books, new topics. How could they have all the answers? Or is the success of the last book just too great to stay away?

When I got divorced, I was given books or suggestions on things to read or watch. I knew I had to navigate that journey with the love and support of family and friends, and mainly my own courage but a book telling me to be my “authentic true self” or “you’ll get through this and here’s how” just didn’t work for me. They work for the moment you’re reading them but they can sometimes be marketed as the solution, the cure, the fix.

I was in a toxic marriage where I was used and abused and no book was going to “fix” the trauma I dealt with, and still deal with over a year later. Life’s messy and I’ve totally screwed up several times trying to navigate my new life. When I was a teen, I was confused by my sexuality. I thought I was gay and no book was going to tell me if I was gay or not, I had to sleep with a woman to find that out (and, ya, so gay by the way, guys).

I’d rather spend my time reading fiction-romance, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, sci-fi, erotica, literally all fiction is my jam. Or writing and journaling, seeing my therapist or talking with friends and family. Everyone has problems. Everyone seeks answers and clarity. That’s why the self-help industry was born. And I would totally root for an author who went through a traumatic event and wants to write a book to share his/her journey in the hopes of helping others along the way. It’s the authors that have a resume full of self-help books. It’s the people that get sucked into that industry, spending all their time and money on self-help books, articles, tapes, DVDs, whatever.

People will always look for their next fix. It will eat away at you, it’s a cannibalistic effect and it can be damaging to the most vulnerable people. Fictional books can offer just as much help as self-help books. They’re creative, engaging and I’ve had plenty of fictional books change my life. But I’m all for the motivational quotes and memes that give you a little pep in your step for the day. This may be an unpopular opinion to say I don’t like to read self-help books and if it works for you, you should go for it. I just have been there, done it, and it doesn’t work.

Do you need a book to tell you that you should cut out sugar to lose weight? Or you should cut out negative people in your life? Self-help books are great for outlining your plan of attack if trying to lose weight, leave a relationship, etc. But you gotta just do it. And trust me, I am the QUEEN of planning and studying to PREPARE to do something. Ignoring something or hiding behind something else is the perfect way to not have to confront your demons.

Wait, was this a self-help article?

Instagram-Worthy Chia Pudding

If it’s not pretty, is it even worth it? This picture perfect pink chia seed pudding is delicious, healthy and easy to make! It’s made overnight so it’s ideal for those grab-and-go mornings. Simply toss in a mason jar, shake and refrigerate!


  • Mason jar
  • 1 tbsp freeze dried dragon fruit powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries for topping


  1. In a mason jar, add the powder, chia seeds, milk and honey and stir well.
  2. Wait a few minutes to let ingredients settle.
  3. Add the lid and shake vigorously until mixed.
  4. Store in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Top with your favorite fresh fruits!

Gender Roles in ‘Macbeth’ & the Distinct Eroticism That’s Often Overlooked

Fair is foul; foul is fair

In one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies ‘Macbeth’, gender roles and the concept of eroticism are some of the most key aspects to the entire play. Yet, the idea of eroticism can often be overlooked. Why is Lady Macbeth such an influencing character? What does killing Duncan really mean for her and Macbeth’s mental state? Where do the three witches come into all of this?

Witchcraft and Its Temptation

Though witches are portrayed in different ways through various forms of media, such as books, paintings or movies, the notion of magical powers or being enchanting and mysterious, is a pretty seductive and exciting idea. What comes to mind for you?

You may think of naked women standing in a circle, chanting a spell together. Or the devilish side-having sex with demons, which is depicted in many paintings during the 1700s. Or the witch that can cast a spell on a man and control a man. Or a more modern day approach of a cute cartoon witch riding a broomstick. Or the “domestic” view of a witch as a healer or a cook-making potions in a kitchen to heal. Regardless of what you think of when you think about witches and witchcraft, the eroticism cannot be ignored.

Macbeth encounters the three witches, or the Weird Sisters, and they prophesied that he will one day become King of Scotland. Macbeth, as well as Lady Macbeth, are both so taken with this prediction, that they make it happen. That subtle hint of temptation is all it takes. Not without first a little reluctancy from Macbeth. But Lady Macbeth, has some choice words for her man.

Though Macbeth wants to be King, the idea of killing Duncan to achieve that, creates an inner conflict, of which he voices to Lady Macbeth. She convinces him he must kill Duncan. She tells him that he’s a man, he should do it. If she were a man, she would do it herself but he must be the one to commit the crime. She further emasculates him by saying he should do it to prove his manhood to her, as an act of love, as seen in Act 1; Scene 7.

“Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would,’
Like the poor cat i’ the adage?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man.”

Just this quote on its own has an erotic undertone one could easily miss. A woman is convincing a man to prove how strong and masculine he is by doing something foul, for her, such as committing murder. “Erotic” doesn’t necessarily have to imply the act of sex. It could imply the desire, the excitement. Something seductive, intimate, sensual. But also dirty, raw, filthy or salacious. Much like murder. Much like a woman telling her husband to “man up” and prove himself to her, using sexuality as an influencer. If this isn’t an act of love and valor, I don’t know what is.

What’s in a Man?

One of the most dominant characters in the play is Lady Macbeth. It’s clear Lady Macbeth knows what she’s saying and doing to Macbeth, and it obviously works because he does in fact kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth is one of the most powerful characters in this play, at least in 2/3 of the play before she and Macbeth go mad. For Shakespeare’s time, to see such a strong, bold woman was unique and makes us question the roles of gender. The female characters in Shakespeare’s work normally didn’t act like this, nor talk like this.

While trying to convince Macbeth he should kill Duncan, she calls him a coward and says that he doesn’t have the guts to go through with it, that if she were a man she would do it herself, but it’s a man’s job. A woman is too kind and nurturing and that’s why she asks the spirits to “unsex” her, as seen in the passage below.

“Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me, from the crown to the toe; top-full
Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and pass
age to the remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief! Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’
Act 1; Scene 5

Again, witchcraft can be seen here. Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to unsex her, remove the parts of her that make her a woman so that she may commit this act herself. Fill her breasts with gall (bitter fluid) and remove the milk. Remove anything that makes her reproductive. Though, she is still a woman with these thoughts, so does it matter the gender when it comes to committing murder? Didn’t she aid in the killing of Duncan by convincing Macbeth to do it? Is there not blood on her hands too?

They reverse rolls, with Lady Macbeth falling into madness, and Macbeth carrying out more murders to protect his place. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth experience such a guilt over the murder of Duncan, Banquo, and the murders following, that the crimes directly result in both their psychological downfall. Lady Macbeth becomes a depressing character by Act 5, seen sleepwalking and experiencing delusions of blood on her hands that cannot be washed away. Macbeth too suffers from lack of sleep and delusions, seeing the ghost of Banquo at dinner. The final act of the play is a rapid finish-Lady Macbeth’s suicide is not seen, but reported. And Macduff kills Macbeth in battle, by beheading. Both becoming the weak type of person they were afraid of.

Some might say that this was one of the more misogynistic Shakespeare plays because it’s depicting that the evil came from the female characters, Lady Macbeth and the witches. But then we see Macbeth showing aggression and desire to murder to keep his kingship. So it can be viewed as both genders can be equally ambitious and feel guilt and worry. But both men and women have the ability of violence and evil.

It begs the question if things are really as they appear? What should the roles of male and female be? The famous quote from the play, “Fair is foul; foul is fair,” means just that. And ‘Macbeth’ started with and ended with the supernatural and sexuality. Shakespeare does it many of his works–the natural world has been shattered by the unnatural.

Gluten Free Cake Donuts

We all go nuts for donuts, but those restricted from grabbing a donut with their morning coffee from the bakery, feel like they are missing out! But no more! These donuts are gluten-free, baked-not fried and absolutely delicious and moist!


  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Food color of your choice
  • Toppings-sprinkles, sweetened coconut flakes, marshmallows, fruit


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder.
  3. Add in the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and vegetable oil and stir until batter forms.
  4. Fill the donut pan about 2/3 full.

5. Bake for 7-8 minutes.
6. Remove from pan and set on a cookie rack to cool completely before glazing.
7. Once completely cooled, mix the powdered sugar and milk in a bowl until a glaze forms.
8. Now is your time to get creative! Put some glaze in different bowls and add whatever food coloring you’d like.

9. Dip the fronts of the donuts into the glaze until covered, then add your toppings!
10. Serve immediately or store in containers once the glaze hardens.

‘The Bridge’ by Karen Kingsbury Book Review

Oh my heart. It gives you hope for that chance-meeting-turn-forever-love type of romance. Dewy eyes from cover to cover.

It’s been a long time since a book caused tears to flow down my cheeks; dewy eyes from cover to cover. It is the definition of second chances. Oh my heart. It gives you hope for that chance-meeting-turn-forever-love type of romance. This book entangles love, loss, the magic of Christmas, and the joy of books into one sweet story that is impossible to forget.

Molly and Ryan just happen to meet while both in their first year of college. Ryan takes her to The Bridge bookstore-the historic staple of downtown Franklin, just outside of Nashville. As the two spend more and more time together, especially at the bookstore, it’s clear they’ve fallen in love, and connect on so much more than just their adoration for books and striving to make their dreams come true.

The Bridge was started by Donna and Charlie, an older couple who also met by chance at a bookstore. After falling in love, marrying, losing their baby and finding out they can’t have children, they decide to create a magical place, a bookstore, full of stories of love, loss, hope and second chances.

But complications cause Ryan and Molly to pull apart-she reluctantly takes over her dad’s company back in Seattle and dates a man her dad finds suitable for her and Ryan, follows his dream of being on the road playing music. After several years apart, they’re brought back to where it all started-The Bridge, after a devastating flood destroyed the building and all the books.

Ryan and Molly go back to Franklin to help Donna and Charlie after the flood and a terrible accident to figure out how to restore the bookstore to its original glory and Molly and Ryan’s love blossoms once again.

This book was turned into a two-part movie from Hallmark and it was just as touching as the book. I totally recommend reading the book and watching the movie. Both are completely inspiring and heartwarming. You could easily read through this in one day, cozied up on the couch with some hot cocoa. A love story you won’t soon forget, a movie you’ll want to watch every Christmas season and a book you’ll want to keep re-reading. Christmas magic, through and through.

Easy Eggnog Latte

This eggnog latte is pure Christmas morning heaven. And it’s so easy to make. I’m always on board for a trip to the coffee shop to buy an overly sugary coffee delight but sometimes, spending over $5 for just one latte, kills my holiday spirit. So, here’s a simple eggnog latte recipe using just a handful of ingredients you probably already have!


  • 1/2 cup strong black coffee (or more depending on how strong you want it)
  • 1/2 cup eggnog (or more depending on how creamy you want it)
  • 1/2-1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Whipped cream, optional
  • Ground nutmeg, for topping


  1. Brew your coffee and pour into large mug.
  2. In a microwaveable cup, heat the eggnog until hot and pour into coffee.

3. Add the brown sugar and stir.
4. Taste latte and adjust flavors to your liking.
5. Add whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg and enjoy!

Gluten Free Maple Yogurt Cupcakes

I could literally eat all these moist cupcakes in one setting and still be content with my life choices. Maple is my favorite fall flavor and it ain’t bad for winter either. The yogurt in these cupcakes make them moist and cake-like and the icing…well, I just want to drink it; don’t judge me, please.


For the Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the Maple Icing

  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add baking muffin cups to muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the gluten free flour, sugar and baking powder and set to the side.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix the maple syrup, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and oil and pour into the dry mixture.

4. Fill the baking muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake 20-23 minutes. The tops should be sponge-like or you can insert a toothpick into the cupcakes to see if they come out clean.

5. Allow to cool completely before you do the icing.
6. In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar until a glaze forms.
7. You can either dip the tops into the mixture or use a knife or spoon to ice the cupcakes.

8. If icing starts to thicken and become too hard, just pop in the microwave for a few seconds to thin it out.
**TIPS: Only ice if the cupcakes are cool and store them in a dry, cool place because any heat or moisture can melt the icing. If eating the next day or two, warm them in the microwave before enjoying. Make an ice cream sundae using a cupcake, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup!

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Baked Potatoes

With running my own business and chasing after a 4 year-old all day, easy-to-fix meals are my jam. I love that I can toss the potatoes in the oven for an hour and forget them and use a rotisserie chicken and quickly assemble this warm, tasty meal. I have no shame in using shortcuts to get dinner on the table! Plus, it’s so dang good so who cares!?


  • Rotisserie chicken, 2+ cups shredded chicken
  • 2-4 baking potatoes (depending on number of guests eating)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin
  • 1 can green chilies
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded taco cheese blend
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash potatoes and poke holes all over the potatoes using a fork.
  2. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake for an hour or until soft and tender.
  4. Slice the 1/2 onion into thin slices and add to a saucepan.
  5. Shred the chicken and add 2 cups to sauce pan.
  6. Open the cans of chilies and enchilada sauce and add to sauce pan.
  7. Sprinkle with the garlic powder.

8. Saute until onions are soft and chicken is hot. Heat to a boil and simmer until serving.
9. Run a knife along the top of the potatoes and squeeze open.
10. Using a spoon, mash down the inside of the potatoes and fill with the chicken mixture until full.

11. Sprinkle with cheese and add a scoop of sour cream and top with cilantro.
12. Serve and devour! You could also try other toppings like queso or guacamole!