Women and Pregnancy in Bom Jesus Essay

1732 Words Apr 30th, 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. 231) In Brazil 1,000,000 children die a year which is about 40 children every hour and is the highest infant mortality rate. (pg. 279) Consequently the women are used to death and to cope with the loss of so many children they have become indifferent to death of their offspring. They even find it strange when someone feels sorrow for a child’s death like when Shcheper-Hughes came to a mother red eyed and tear stained with the bad news that her son had died. The mother was amused at her sadness because in the end no one thought that the child would live. (pg. 271-272)
There are many reasons that the women are so indifferent to their children dying. They can barely afford to keep the “healthy” family members alive and fed so when they have a new child they have to decide which is better to keep fed: the newborn that does not know life or one that lives and has been around. They must save those who are salvageable. (pg. 405) When an infant is born the women, for the most part, cannot breast feed for many reasons. If they are employed their bosses do not want to see the women lactating while serving their families dinner thus they are afraid of getting fired. (pg. 323) There is also a cultural reason for not breast feeding in where they believe that if they do they will transfer their sins to their infants. (pg. 326) So the babies are fed powdered mild when they can afford it. But because the women and men cannot afford to buy the weekly cans of
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