Why do the poor have large families?

Florence expresses her desire to cease the act of giving birth, stating, “At this moment, I am confronted with numerous obstacles…My offspring had to discontinue their education. They are lacking in apparel. I am incapable of fulfilling their fundamental necessities.” She further adds, “Considering my health issues, I have reached an age where I can put an end to this. It is my intention to visit the health center and acquaint myself with the concept of family planning.”

The long-term health of a child may be compromised, especially if they are vulnerable.

Girls face higher chances of delivery complications when their pelvises do not fully develop. As they grow, their bodies are not able to sustain the growing child within them, and they are more likely to become malnourished during pregnancy. Teenage mothers, especially, face even more extreme health risks.

Optimal timing and spacing of pregnancy for good health.

  • Wait at least two years after giving birth before trying to conceive again.
  • Wait at least six months after experiencing a miscarriage before trying to get pregnant, and.
  • Community collaborators collaborate with World Vision to address anxieties and misunderstandings surrounding family planning, in addition to these instructive timeframes. Women receive assistance in comprehending their alternatives pertaining to contraception, enabling them to select the most suitable method for themselves and providing support in their decision if necessary.

    A mother holding her baby receives care from health workers.

    Eam Makara/Vision World: Photo. Vaccinations and feeding on information receives Cambodia from mother young this, malnutrition of rate the of reduce to.

    While educating themselves, women have always been influenced by complex issues such as religion, culture, and family in their decision-making process for their own reproductive health. This is the reason why the involvement of other players in the education process, particularly Vision World, is important for family planning.

    Collaborating with religious leaders.

    Congregations are equipped to use their platforms to positively influence the health of their members by teaching social and scriptures principles that contextualize the benefits of healthy pregnancy spacing and timing. Faith leaders are equipping parents with factual information about the benefits of family planning, which is often intrinsically linked to their religious beliefs and influenced by the values and norms of their community at the household level.

    According to Andrea Kaufmann, a Senior Advisor of Faith and External Engagement at World Vision International, “Collaborating with religious leaders is an excellent approach to tackling challenging problems within a setting that truly connects with and explores the fundamental values and convictions of the community.” “It encourages individuals to express their own perspectives and personal encounters. Additionally, we strive for them to enjoy fulfilling and prosperous lives, and as faith-based communities, we embrace children with love and affection.”

    Personalized group training.

    These couples have taken the initiative to advocate for creating a supportive environment within their communities, ensuring that their children have the necessary space to foster stability and good health. In many cases, these couples are referred to health centers for additional counseling and support, where they can discuss and plan for implementing family-oriented measures in their own homes. At the end of these sessions, a non-threatening atmosphere is created, allowing couples to ask questions and engage in meaningful discussions about the importance of gender equality in decision-making and the benefits of birth spacing. Vision World effectively works with married couples in small discussion groups, providing them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

    Educating men.

    Engaging with young individuals.

    Enhancing healthcare systems.

    Vision World works to support health systems in communities that are already in place. This includes providing health training to workers, including spacing and family planning counseling. They also ensure that girls and women have the supplies, equipment, and facilities they need to provide proper care during pregnancy, after, and during.

    A young mom places her baby inside a straw basket to be weighed.

    In Cambodia, this health care center provides a place for this mother to learn effective ways to keep her child healthy and plan for her family. Eam Makara: Photo.

    The necessities: Equity and knowledgeable decision-making.

    I still love being a part of an extended family gathering at my own home or when World Vision visits me overseas. However, I’ve just learned how much poverty can complicate conversations about the size of families around the world for parents.

    As a Canadian, I am grateful that my parents had the chance to attend school and later, university. They were rooted and raised a family of their own before moving from Guyana to Canada. I have never had to worry about going hungry a day in my life.

    A family portrait photograph from the late 1970s of a large Guyanese family sitting in a living room.

    Picture: Author’s personal collection. Ultimately, however, the discussion is less about the precise magnitude of a household and more about knowledge and choosing.

    The end goal of the conversation, however, is to have a discussion about choice and information, as well as the actual size of a family. It is important for everyone, regardless of the size of their family, to be able to make informed choices and have autonomy. Men deserve education and support to help them care for their families and partners, regardless of whether their family is small or large. Girls and women also deserve to have ownership over their bodies and to be heard, regardless of what happens to them. This is why it is important for everyone to be able to build families and support their partners in every part of the world.