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INFLUENCE OF PERSONALITY TYPE AND RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION ON FAMILY PLANNING

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Whether or not to have children is often considered to be one of the most important decisions in life. With the modernization of societies, child bearing has become increasingly detached from biological necessities and social pressure of earlier times (Miller, 1992; Potts, 1997; Van de Kaa, 2001). Reliable birth control can be used to disconnect sex and reproduction and the main purpose of marriage is no longer considered to be bearing and raising children (Taylor, Funk and Clark, 2007). In response to weakening biological and social pressures, fertility decisions may become more dependent on individual preferences and dispositions, such as personality traits. These decisions and dispositions could also affect the degree of family planning. Although fertility behavior is often considered through theoretical frameworks postulating preferences and intentions less predictable determinants often affect child bearing. For instance, nearly one third of all births in the 1990’s in United States were unplanned (Henshaw, 1998).

 

The individualization of fertility decision is connected with the broader themes of demographic transition and population dynamics, especially with the causes of declining fertility rates in developed countries over the last century (Borgerhoff Mulder, 1998, Hirschman, 1994; Kirk, 1996; Mace, 2000; Soares, 2005). One strand of theories has emphasized the role of individual choices is changing fertility patterns, while others have attributed a primary role to social and cultural changes (Newson, Postmes, Lea and Webley, 2005). Adding to the complexity of modern fertility patterns, the most recent evidence suggests that the previously observed fertility decline may be reversing in highly developed countries (Myrskyla, Kohler and Billari, 2009). Despite the potential importance of individual characteristics in influencing demographic fertility trends, the psychology of child bearing has remained largely an unstudied topic.

Abortion is the termination of an established pregnancy after implantation of a fertility egg in the uterus (womb). Implantation occurs at 5-7 days after ovulation (release of the egg) and fertilization (which typically occurs within the first 12 hours after ovulation). Actions before implantation that prevents pregnancy are “contraceptive” (National institutes of health protection of human subjects, 45 CFR sects 46.202, 2009).

Family planning is the planning of when to have children and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Family planning services are defined as educational, comprehensive, medical or social activities which enable individuals including minor to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved (Mischell, 2007). However, the cost saving stem from a reduction in unintended fragment, and also causes reduction in transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV (Isui, Mc Donald, Burke 2010).

Family planning as used by Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) means enabling individuals and couples to determine the frequency and timing of pregnancies, including the use of a variety of methods for voluntary prevention of pregnancy.

There are five primary ways family planning methods can work:

  1. Block sperm from reaching the egg
  2. Change the man’s sperm so they cannot fertilize the egg
  3. Prevent eggs from being released
  4. Thicken mucus in the cervix, preventing sperm passing
  5. Alter the living of the uterus (womb) so the fertilized egg does not attach or implant (pre-conceptional medicine inform health care UK, 2009).

Family planning is a powerful way to prevent abortion. Reducing unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion produces health benefits that are strongly embraced by both Christian and secular health organizations. A material death from any cause is a tragedy-but when a woman dies from a pregnancy she did not want, it is a double tragedy (Judith Brown, 2010).

Mishunki (1998), when planning a family, women who are over the age of 35 should be aware of the risk of having a child with autism and down’s syndrome, the chances of having multiple births increase which causes further late pregnancy risks, they have an increased chance of developing gestational diabetes, the need for a caesarian-section is greater, older women’s bodies are not as well suited for delivering a baby. The risk of prolonged labour is higher.

The provision of family planning as well as health services may impact long-term female health through improved reproductive health, reduced morbidity and /or improved nutrition, and longer intervals between later births. Such impacts of policy interventions are, how ever, rarely confirmed because of the lack of social experiments and long term follow-up evaluation studies or reproductive health programs (an exception is Frankenberg and Thomas 2001). Moreover, there is no agreement on how to measure adult health status at reasonable cost in a household survey (Rahman et al, 2004; Kuhn et al, 2004; Thomas and Strauss 2008).

Planning can help assure that resources are available, the purpose of family planning is to make sure that any couple, man or woman who has the desire to have a child has the resources that are needed in order to complete this goal. According to the world health organization (WHO, 2001), family planning is choosing the number of children in a family and length of time between their births. Family planning is sometimes used as a synonym for birth control, however, it often includes control, it is most usually applied to a female-male who wish to limit the number of children they have and /or to control the timing of pregnancy (also known as spacing children) (Mischell, 2007). In cases were couple may not want to have children just yet and plan with time, family programmes helps a lot. Federal family planning programs reduced child bearing among poor women by as much as 29percent according to a university Michigan study, (Mischell, 2007).

Family Planning Methods

Every month there are times when a woman is fertile and can become pregnant, and times when she is not fertile and cannot become pregnant. Most women produce one egg month. The egg is released from the woman’s ovary. If the egg lives up to 2 days inside the woman’s body she can become pregnant.

The various methods of planning includes:

  1. Barrier methods stops a man’s sperm from reaching the woman’s egg by the use of condoms for men, condom for women, diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge and spermicide
  2. Intrauterine devices (IUD, ICUD, IUS, Copper T, The Loop). This method prevents a man’s sperm from fertilizing the woman’s egg.
  3. Hormonal methods involve the use of pills, injections, implants. It works by keeping the woman’s ovary from releasing an egg. Some also affect the womb or the mucus in the cervix so sperm cannot fertilize an egg there.
  4. Natural methods. These methods help a woman know when she is fertile (the time in a woman’s cycle when she can get pregnant), so she avoids having sex during that time.
  5. Permanent methods (sterilization). These are operations that stop a man from releasing sperm, or prevent a woman’s eggs from reaching her womb (source; www.hesperian.org).

McSweeny (1990) introduced a method called “billings method” which helps the husband and wife to achieve or avoid pregnancy with intelligence and freedom as they desire. Billing method is an entirely new method of natural family planning. It is not the old safe period or rhythm method and does not make use of a thermometer or calendar, neither does it involve the use of a pill, coil, condom or withdrawal, all of which are artificial methods (McSweeny, 1992).

Billing method teaches a woman to recognize in her body one sign which tells her clearly and without doubt, that her ovulation is coming soon. Once a woman is able to identify the time of ovulation and understand its significance, she knows how to control her fertility (McSweeny, 1990).

Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems and world views that relate humanity to the supernatural and spirituality. Tylor (1871) defined religion as the belief in spiritual beings. He narrowed this definition to mean the belief in a supreme deity or judgment after death or idolatry and soon, would exclude many people from the category of religion and thus, has the fault of identifying religion rather with particular developments than with the deeper motive which underlies them, he also assert that the belief in spiritual beings exists in all known societies.

Geertz (1993) define religion as a system of symbols which acts to established powerful, pervasive and long lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing this conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic. The theologian, Vergote (1996) also emphasized the “cultural reality” of religion, which he defined as the “entirely of the linguistic expression, emotions and actions and signs that refer to “supernatural beings”, whatever transcends the power of nature or human agency.

Durkheim (1915) a sociologist, defined religion as a unified systems of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things. By sacred things he meant things “set apart and forbidden-beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church, all those who adhere to them”. Sacred things are not however limited to gods or spirits, a pebble, a piece of wood, a house, in a word, anything can be sacred.

However, James (1902) a psychologist defined religion as the “feelings, acts and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to what ever they may consider the divine”. By the term “divine” James meant any object that is good like, whether it be a concrete deity or not to which the individual feels impelled to respond with solemnity and gravity. Ferre (1969) further defined religion as one’s way of valuing most comprehensive and intensively similar, for the theologian.

Tellish (1957), faith is the state of being ultimately concerned which is itself religion. Religion is the substance, the ground, and the depth of man’s spiritual life.

Personality is defined as the combination of stable physical and mental characteristics or traits, including how one looks, act, and feels are the products of interacting genetic and environmental influence (Afolabi, 2011).

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