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Balancing tradition and modernity in narratives surrounding contraception use among poorer women in West Bengal, India.
Unformatted Document Text:  11 discovered, and there being material effects on the woman’s life. One woman at Bangur said: “I think if my mother-in-law found out that I was using this (birth control) she would tell everybody, just to make me stop.” So why are there husbands and mothers-in-law so intent on women having more children than they already do? Most often, this has to do with the sex of children. Daughters leave the home and go to marital homes, so parents cannot really rely on them for financial and other kinds of support in their old age. Women experience ambivalence due to the competing nature of reactions to various factors. For example a woman may not want a child because she does not want to bear another baby, but may recognize that her mother-in-law is looking out for the woman’s own good in the long run when having more children is higher insurance that at least one of her children will take care of her when she is older. One woman at Bangur said of her mother in law: “I know she thinks that because I have two daughters no one will look after me when I am old, but I don’t want any more children. Besides, what if I have another daughter and not a son? Then will she tell me to have another child?” Another woman at Diamond Harbor said: “I think my daughters will take care of me, my sons in law are both very nice, but sometimes I think, this has never happened in our country (daughters taking care of aging parents), what if they don’t do it? What will happen then?”

Authors: Mookerjee, Devalina.
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11
discovered, and there being material effects on the woman’s life. One woman at Bangur
said:
“I think if my mother-in-law found out that I was using this (birth control)
she would tell everybody, just to make me stop.”
So why are there husbands and mothers-in-law so intent on women having more
children than they already do? Most often, this has to do with the sex of children.
Daughters leave the home and go to marital homes, so parents cannot really rely on them
for financial and other kinds of support in their old age. Women experience ambivalence
due to the competing nature of reactions to various factors. For example a woman may
not want a child because she does not want to bear another baby, but may recognize that
her mother-in-law is looking out for the woman’s own good in the long run when having
more children is higher insurance that at least one of her children will take care of her
when she is older. One woman at Bangur said of her mother in law:
“I know she thinks that because I have two daughters no one will look
after me when I am old, but I don’t want any more children. Besides, what if
I have another daughter and not a son? Then will she tell me to have another
child?”
Another woman at Diamond Harbor said:
“I think my daughters will take care of me, my sons in law are both very
nice, but sometimes I think, this has never happened in our country
(daughters taking care of aging parents), what if they don’t do it? What will
happen then?”


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