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Balancing tradition and modernity in narratives surrounding contraception use among poorer women in West Bengal, India.
Unformatted Document Text:  22 Women see this and are troubled by it. However, as much as many of these women would like to provide their children with communities of support, they recognize that, too, to be a problematic option. Conclusion Women’s stories about birth control do seem governed by very problematic options. In some cases there are no real options at all, but the very fact that there are options available to others makes the situations for women that do not have them even more problematic. Women walk lines and negotiate borderlands of uncertainty and certainty, emotion and logic, looking forward and maintaining tradition in ways that make sense in their lives within their contexts. As this paper shows, they differentiate finely between what they want and what they need, and the wants and needs of significant others around them. It is this complexity that needs to be understood by the health care system that runs the clinics at which these women were interviewed. At Bangur, I was sitting in a Social Welfare Officer’s room when a woman came in asking for information about immunizations for children. As is the norm, she was asked how many children she had. When she said she had three, the SWO immediately started telling her why she should have a ligation, and what she had to gain from not having any more children. I later interviewed this woman, and during a discussion about her meeting with the SWO she said: “What does she know about my life? No one but me knows about my life.”

Authors: Mookerjee, Devalina.
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22
Women see this and are troubled by it. However, as much as many of these women
would like to provide their children with communities of support, they recognize that,
too, to be a problematic option.
Conclusion
Women’s stories about birth control do seem governed by very problematic
options. In some cases there are no real options at all, but the very fact that there are
options available to others makes the situations for women that do not have them even
more problematic.
Women walk lines and negotiate borderlands of uncertainty and certainty, emotion
and logic, looking forward and maintaining tradition in ways that make sense in their
lives within their contexts. As this paper shows, they differentiate finely between what
they want and what they need, and the wants and needs of significant others around them.
It is this complexity that needs to be understood by the health care system that runs
the clinics at which these women were interviewed. At Bangur, I was sitting in a Social
Welfare Officer’s room when a woman came in asking for information about
immunizations for children. As is the norm, she was asked how many children she had.
When she said she had three, the SWO immediately started telling her why she should
have a ligation, and what she had to gain from not having any more children. I later
interviewed this woman, and during a discussion about her meeting with the SWO she
said:
“What does she know about my life? No one but me knows about my life.”


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