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Balancing tradition and modernity in narratives surrounding contraception use among poorer women in West Bengal, India.
Unformatted Document Text:  19 birth control may help their families have a higher standard of living. As one woman in a village called Lakhikantopur in Mogra Haat II put it: “When I got married, my mother told me that I was to listen to my husband. Now I tell him that I will not have another child, it is a hard thing for me and for him (...) but my husband is a good man, he takes care of me, so I have been lucky.” Some fears are material and may turn out to be justified as when women fear that if they disobey a marital family and/ or a husband in this vital area, their lives may become much harder than they already are. A woman who had come into the PP clinic at Bangur to have her fourth child immunized expressed this fear: “My mother in law says that if I use anything to stop having babies, she will take my children away and throw me out. She says that I will never see them again. Why should I take this risk?” This sentiment was echoed by other women interviewed who had decided not to use birth control. The fact is that for many of these women, being thrown out of a marital home amounts to disaster, as parental homes will rarely take back a woman thrown out of her marital home in disgrace (Sen, 2001). Women who express such fears seem to find ways of dealing with them in a manner that makes them feel better about their situations. They say that they love having babies, that they have a duty to their children to provide them with siblings, that having more children means that their old age will be comfortable. One woman in diamond Harbor said:

Authors: Mookerjee, Devalina.
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19
birth control may help their families have a higher standard of living. As one woman in a
village called Lakhikantopur in Mogra Haat II put it:
“When I got married, my mother told me that I was to listen to my
husband. Now I tell him that I will not have another child, it is a hard thing
for me and for him (...) but my husband is a good man, he takes care of
me, so I have been lucky.”
Some fears are material and may turn out to be justified as when women fear that if
they disobey a marital family and/ or a husband in this vital area, their lives may become
much harder than they already are. A woman who had come into the PP clinic at Bangur
to have her fourth child immunized expressed this fear:
“My mother in law says that if I use anything to stop having babies, she
will take my children away and throw me out. She says that I will never
see them again. Why should I take this risk?”
This sentiment was echoed by other women interviewed who had decided not to
use birth control. The fact is that for many of these women, being thrown out of a marital
home amounts to disaster, as parental homes will rarely take back a woman thrown out of
her marital home in disgrace (Sen, 2001).
Women who express such fears seem to find ways of dealing with them in a
manner that makes them feel better about their situations. They say that they love having
babies, that they have a duty to their children to provide them with siblings, that having
more children means that their old age will be comfortable. One woman in diamond
Harbor said:


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