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Family and Professional Life

Pregnant Marie, Pierre and daughter Irene
"It became a serious problem how to take care of our little Irène and of our home without giving up my scientific work. Such a renunciation would have been very painful to me, and my husband would not even think of it; he used to say that he had got a wife made expressly for him to share all his preoccupations. Neither of us would contemplate abandoning what was so precious to both.

Of course we had to have a servant, but I personally saw to all the details of the child’s care. While I was in the laboratory, she was in the care of her grandfather, who loved her tenderly and whose own life was made brighter by her. So the close union of our family enabled me to meet my obligations. Things were particularly difficult only in case of more exceptional events, such as a child’s illness, when sleepless nights interrupted the normal course of life.

It can be easily understood that there was no place in our life for worldly relations. We saw but a few friends, scientific workers, like ourselves, with whom we talked in our home or in our garden, while I did some sewing for my little girl. We also maintained affectionate relations with my husband’s brother and his family. But I was separated from all my relatives, as my sister had left Paris with her husband to live in Poland.

It was under this mode of quiet living, organized according to our desires, that we achieved the great work of our lives, work begun about the end of 1897 and lasting for many years."

—from Autobiographical Notes pp. 179-180.

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