Women and Pregnancy in Bom Jesus Essay

1733 Words May 1st, 2012 7 Pages
Women and Pregnancy in Bom Jesus

The women, men, and children that live in Bom Jesus, for the most part, from the moment they are born have a very hard life. The impoverished women, on average during their reproductive days, have about 12 pregnancies. Of those pregnancies only about three of the children survive. (pg. 311) When asked, how many children would be the ideal family size, the women would answer between two to three children. (pg. 331-332) So the question that must be asked is why these women have so many pregnancies when they only really want about three children? The answer to that question has many reasons and most of them are deeply rooted in the culture that the women live in. First there is the issue of birth
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(pg. 319) Most cannot read and so they do not know some of the consequences of feeding their babies formula without boiling the water. (pg. 321) With the combination of high mortality rates and the lack of means of really feeding and nurturing their children the women of Bom Jesus have learned to accept their children dying. They know that they have a little chance of living and the ones that do live do not have much of a life so they would be better off dead. (pg. 344-345) The women become indifferent and complacent so that they can “save” themselves of more heartache and pain in the end.

Natural Maternal Instinct: Fact or Fiction

Most people believe that the want to nurture and love your child come naturally and every woman has this feeling. But in reality a mother’s love is anything but natural and it comes from social and cultural practices. (pg. 341) Shcheper-Hughes argues this point very well and she talks about how the mothers will distance themselves and delay their attachment to the point that the mothers see the infants as passing “visitors”. (pg. 340) She does not want anyone to think that the mothers love is absent but because of the history of the culture the love is shaped differently then what we are used to for means of survival. (pg. 341) The women of Bom Jesus have lost the thought of “natural maternal instinct” because death is a common aspect of their lives. They may neglect their newborns or have

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