Middle Age and Old Age

The "cult of motherhood" (Finkler, 1997, p. 1152) has direct effects on the lives of middle-aged and old women. To be considered a woman, it is important to become a mother (Melhuus, 1993,1996). Thus, children are central to most women's lives after marriage. It is through her children that a woman gains respect and is able to engage in social relations. Married women without children tend to be very isolated (Pauli, 2000). It is often only through the birth of children that the social networks of women start to enlarge. Fictive kin relationships, especially between a mother and her comothers, her comadres, are central in middle age. These are the most important sources of reciprocal help. In old age, fictive kin may still be important. However, the now grown-up children become the most important source of help. Also, a woman's adult sons may protect her from a violent husband (Finkler, 1997, p. 1153).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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