"I had hoped that lighter hands than mine would help to mould her character, and that a baby-smile upon her breast might change my child-wife to a woman. It was not to be. The spirit fluttered for a moment on the threshold of its little prison, and, unconscious of captivity, took wing. "

Charles Dickens seems to have had mixed feelings about his own ten children. While some accounts record him as a caring father, he is said to have blamed his wife for having had too many, a situation which caused some financial strain.

Following the birth of each child, Catherine Dickens suffered what would probably now be diagnosed as postpartum depression, which would only have added to the strain in their marriage.