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Whisper of the Mother: From Menarche to Menopause Among Women in Pohnpei [Hardcover]

Maureen H. Fitzgerald

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Book Description

Sept. 30 2001 0897898184 978-0897898188

Despite considerable worldwide attention to maternal and child health, for many societies there is little information about the traditional beliefs, practices, and experiences associated with women's reproductive lives. This study is an ethnography of menarche, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, and menopause in one Pacific Island society experiencing significant culture change. The beliefs and practices that surround these uniquely female experiences in this community are explored by combining historic and contemporary data from the Micronesian community of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Interviews with women aged 20 to 74 are included.

The study examines how women's experiences are situated in a society that is rapidly being exposed to alternative models and ideas. In exploring the issues, it highlights community concerns about women's lives, their health and that of their community, and the impact cultural change has had on many aspects of contemporary health, including traditional beliefs and practices. This information forms the basis for understanding women's experiences and the impact of culture change that can allow us to address some of the health, social, and cultural needs of women and their communities.

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“Maureen Fitzgerald's Whisper of the Mother is an excellent and important work on traditional beliefs and practices surrounding women's important roles as the bearers of children in Pohnpei (Micronesia)....Fitzgerald's work....is a very important contribution to anthropological and scientific research. This would make an excellent addition to both undergraduate and graduate courses in anthropology, education, health services, and medical training.”–Elizabeth Keating Associate Professor Department of Anthropology University of Texas at Austin

“One of the strengths of this monograph is the way in which it is embedded in the culture of Pohnpei, yet sheds light on the experience of other women in other places--all done in such a way that the voices of the female informants can be clearly heard. Congratulations on a fine job.”–Francis X. Hezel, SJ Director of the Micronesian Seminar

“Fitzgerald's monograph is a well researched and valuable contribution to a much neglected topic, the medical anthropology of Micronesia, and it has a special significance. The work addresses another neglected concern, the health and well-being of Micronesian women.”–Robert C. Kiste Director Center for Pacific Islands Studies University of Hawaii

Book Description

Explores reproductive life (menstruation, pregnancy, birthing, postpartum motherhood, and menopause) among women in one Micronesian society.

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