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I just wanted to say how great it has been being in this class and how much I learned, and saw how much more I still need to learn. Being one of two guys in the class, I did not know what to expect and really just wanted to listen. But everyone has been so receptive to any comments I have made in class, and Dr. Foster has obviously been very helpful. As a Global Health minor I have seen how structurally, and physically obviously, violent heteropatriarchy can be. This class demonstrated to me how violent it is in terms of maternal health, as this is a topic that is glossed over in a lot of my classes. We saw how pervasive in daily life it was for someone as strong as Monique. We saw in various presentations how government’s obstinance can cause major problems in terms of contraception and abortion, just to name one of the many examples people gave to demonstrate structural violence against women in terms of maternal health. Overall, this class demonstrated to me how urgent the issue of maternal health is in many parts of the world, and in many instances in the United States. But also all the little things we can do to help the cause like raising awareness or getting involved with the Safe Motherhood movement. Thanks again and good luck to all in your future endeavors!



Part of the reason I am posting this is to know if anyone else knows anything about this? I am incredibly intrigued by this. I would like to see a study that outweighs the stress of parenting versus these biological benefits. And since the study was easier with males I would like to see more with females to see what the difference is, if any (they said it was more costly to study with female babies).

“There’s so much [epidemiological] observation out there,” Kamper-Jørgensen said. “Having kids protects you from breast cancer, but we don’t really know why. If you have kids, you live longer, but we don’t really know why. Women live longer than men, but we don’t know why. This phenomenon, this may be it.” I feel like this quote encompasses the mystique around the phenomenon, and therefore I believe there is much more to be studied. I am wondering if anyone else finds this interesting or even useful, or just a natural occurrence of no value?

Photos of Birth in Sub-Saharan Africa


So when I saw the title of this article I expected to see women in absolutely unfit conditions to give birth. Now while these may not be ideal settings, I keep thinking of the idea that comes up in class that women have, and will continue to give birth. This comes to mind, because even with the limited resources associated with the locations of these countries, these women are still able to give birth to babies that look fairly healthy and the women look like they are in decent condition. The midwives and doctors serving them looked to be trained birth attendants as well. So while I think the article wanted to say these pictures are supposed to make one shocked at how poor the conditions are, for me it was a reminder that life finds a way. Now with this being said there is so much work that can be done to improve the birthing conditions in this part of the world as we discuss at length in class. Yet, I just wanted to post this article because the pictures are striking, but not for the reasons I expected.

Why American Babies Die article

I recently read this article and found it very pertinent to our class, and to what I want to use in presentation. The article states how the United States is ranked 56 in the world in infant mortality and sandwiched between Serbia and Poland, which I personally found surprising as I figured the US would be lower, but I didn’t think that low.

The article states however that the US has lower neonatal death rates than Finland and Austria (two countries with low infant mortality rates) but relatively high postneonatal rates. So the problem is not when a child is born and is in the hospital and when they immediately get home, but later on.


But the one paragraph I found most interesting was this:

“The effects of socioeconomic status on health have been well-documented, and infant mortality is no exception: Unsurprisingly, the states with the highest rates are also among the poorest. “IfAlabama were a country, its rate of 8.7 infant deaths per 1,000 would place it slightly behind Lebanon in the world rankings,” Christopher Ingraham recentlynoted in The Washington Post, while “Mississippi, with its 9.6 deaths, would be somewhere between Botswana and Bahrain.””

The comparison to Botswana and Bahrain really puts the global problem of infant mortality in perspective in that it is a global problem which includes the United States. This article ultimately suggest how one must look critically at health statistics, but certainly for something as complex infant mortality.


Initial reaction

I have gotten relatively far into Monique and the Mango Rains but, what has stood out to me is Anita Diamant’s immersion into the culture of Mali. In her introduction she lays out the history of Mali from its kingdoms and world famous landmarks, to its colonial roots. I felt this relates to what we have discussed in class. We talk a lot about education which is huge for developed countries, as well developing. But as I read on I see Diamant’s everyday learning such as the pagnes, Monique’s marriage, etc. So, I believe it is very important to learn the customs and culture of wherever you intend to do work such as midwifery, because something like birth is so sacred and special. By learning the customs and culture of wherever you work you are able to teach the people in communities and empower them.