Refusing cesarean sections to protect fertile futures: Somali refugees, motherhood, and precarious migration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While cesarean sections are increasingly used worldwide, Somali refugee women in Kenya are rejecting the operation in attempts to protect their future reproductive capacities. In a context of displacement and insecurity, women's reproductive bodies can be crucial to their security and strategies for onward migration. Somali women's resistance to C‐sections mirrors prevalent practices of female circumcision, since they are both perceived by physicians as medically harmful but by women as essential to achieving gendered expectations of marriage and motherhood. The strategic modification and protection of reproductive capacities are situated in multifaceted social and political ruptures, and women's refusal of surgery is part of a long‐term, future‐oriented pursuit of motherhood and survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-201
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Volume46
Issue number2
Early online date26 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019

Keywords

  • refugees
  • Kenya
  • Somalia
  • motherhood
  • migration
  • cesarean section
  • female circumcision
  • resistance

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