Had Claire slipped them into the dark pockets of her black wool coat? Jody shifted from side to side, looking at the dark wool draped over the chair, hoping to see the white edge of a photo poking out of the pocket. The camera was there, hanging off the side of the chair, but where were the pictures?
She must have zipped them into her purse. The purse was on the table in front of Claire, screaming to be opened. It occurred to me just last week that you and I should make a movie together—write a screenplay about therapy. Do you know what it means to me to see you wearing that color? Two peas in a pod. She would have said, Oh, there you are, what a coincidence, I just stopped by your building hoping to catch you in. But there was nothing—not a word—not a gesture. Just the two of us. Out to the beach, or maybe up to the Berkshires. Jody finished her coffee, picked up the video camera, and turned it on Claire.
The scene is Claire Roth at Patisserie Lanciani. Were you seeing patients? Jody paused. What can you tell me about your background, your training? Your philosophy, your approach to therapy? The myth of the therapeutic process, the great wide unknown. No, it all goes on in here. Perhaps you could illuminate the process for us.
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Jody met her glance evenly and head-on. Come on, loosen up. Jody sat alone at the table. Claire had probably left a package outside her door, a little present, or a sweet note on beautiful paper. Jody would find it there and, humiliated, would have to call Claire immediately to beg her forgiveness. Jody scanned the room. There was nothing except mail—so much, in fact, that various envelopes stuck out, and Jody had trouble closing the purse. Worried that Claire would come out of the bathroom and catch her rummaging, she was trying to push them back in when on the left corner of one she noticed, familiar handwriting—the return address of someone she knew in L.
She pulled out another—her phone bill. A bank statement, a postcard from Carol Heberton … a schedule of screenings at the Museum of Modern Art. Claire had stolen her mail. She had reached into the mailbox and walked away with everything. A federal crime. In all the months that the lock had been broken, none of the multitude of strangers that came in and out of the building had ever taken anything. Then Jody heard the click of the bathroom door unlocking and jammed everything except the postcard back into the purse and zipped it closed.
The purse was back in position on the table before the bathroom door opened. Jody glanced up and her eyes were red. Jody ordered a second espresso, poured in the sugar and spooned the thick brown syrup into her mouth as though it were a prescription product. Trying to figure, trying to figure. She was trapped.
She finished the espresso and paid the bill, thinking that crawling out of a well was harder than falling in. A losing streak. Coked up on espresso, paranoia and guilt, she raced home and found Peter Sears waiting in the vestibule. Three other boxes also had broken locks, but the mail was there, waiting. Jody shrugged. Jody had read reports calling it a B-cell virus, chronic immune dysfunction syndrome, a new herpes—a rare combination, a grenade type virus with an unidentified trigger pin. Jody looked at her apartment door before unlocking it. There were no signs of tampering.
On the floor, just inside, was a delivery menu from a Mexican restaurant. No note on pretty stationary, no magical explanation. Remember that idea we worked up for story class? I went ahead and wrote it. The script got sold for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Can you believe it? She came back seconds later with her hands full of small packages.
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All kinds. Peter shrugged. You seem tense, upset. I took a course in massage. Would you like me to give you one? We used similar data to that which contributed to the prior analysis and did not observe a significant increase in the probability of mothers born in India having male offspring compared to mothers born in the UK. This is consistent with the interpretation that if the practice of sex-selective abortion was present in the last decades of the 20 th century, it is less common nowadays.
One potential explanation for this change is that the nature of immigrants who leave India for England and Wales has changed [ 11 ], and those who arrive in the 21 st century are less susceptible to the cultural and economic pressures that create the environment where sex-selective abortion is acceptable. A recent analysis of data from the Norwegian Central Population Register similarly did not demonstrate an excess of male births compared to females from to [ 12 ].
Our analysis also identified mothers from countries in South East Asia, the Middle East and South America as having higher odds ratios for having boys than mothers born in the UK. Previous studies have suggested that there has been a rapid increase in the number of males being born in Vietnam [ 13 ], and also that Filipino immigrants to the USA have a higher than expected sex ratio [ 8 ]. Some counties in the Middle East have a gender bias in mortality in females, and this has been interpreted as a possible consequence of the discriminatory treatment of women [ 14 ].
Where it exists, such prejudice may conceivably begin after conception.
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However, our data are observational and do not allow firm conclusions to be drawn as to the explanation of these differences. Despite the ability to radiologically identify the sex of the fetus soon after the end of the first trimester, sex-specific abortion is illegal in the UK. Our data also showed that mothers from East and West Africa had a lower odds ratio of giving birth to boys than mothers from the UK that was unlikely to have occurred by chance.
This observation was first reported in using data from both England and Wales [ 15 ] and the USA [ 16 ], and corroborated in subsequent studies [ 1 — 9 , 17 ]. One potential explanation for this observation is that tropical latitude may be in itself an important factor in determining the sex ratio at live birth, with humans living in more tropical areas having an increased chance of having female offspring compared to those who do not [ 18 ].
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Other possibilities include differential exposures to parasite infection [ 19 ] or other environmental factors that may also modify national mortality rates [ 20 ]. In summary, our data demonstrate no evidence that mothers born in India have an excess of male births when compared to mothers born in the UK, although mothers born in the Middle East, South East Asia and South America do have higher odds ratios for giving birth to boys than mothers from the UK. We also observed that mothers from Africa are giving birth to fewer boys compared to mothers born in the UK.
Our data do not allow distinctions between biological explanations and cultural practices, but are hypothesis generating and have the potential to be tested in other countries with relatively high levels of global immigration. No ethical approval was required as fully anonymised data was used; therefore no ethics committee was consulted before proceeding with this project. We would like to thank Joanne Evans at the Office for National Statistics for helping to provide these data.
All data used in this article are available from the Office of National Statistics on request. Competing interests. This analysis was a medical student project for Cameron Smith. CS was involved in a data analysis and drafting the manuscript. AF Guarantor was involved in the study conception and design, checked the analysis and revised the manuscript before submission. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript. Cameron Smith, Email: moc. Andrew Fogarty, Email: ku. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.
BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. Published online Sep Cameron Smith and Andrew Fogarty. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. Received Jun 5; Accepted Sep 2.
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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
Abstract Background Preference for sons in India has resulted in a skewed sex ratio at live birth, probably as a consequence of female feticide. Methods Data of all live births in England and Wales from — were obtained from the Office of National Statistics. Results Mothers born in India were not observed to be giving birth to disproportionately more boys than mothers that were born in the UK Odds Ratio OR: 1.
Conclusion There was no evidence of an excess of males born to women from India in England and Wales.
In A Country Of Mothers
Background The worldwide sex ratio at live birth defined as the number of males born divided by the number of females is approximately 1. Methods Study population Data was obtained on all live births in England and Wales from — from the Office of National Statistics. Variables of interest The main outcome variable for this study was the probability of having a male infant compared to a female.
Data analyses We calculated the overall sex ratio for each of the areas by dividing the total male births by the total female births. Results Data were available for 3 births from to , increasing from births in to births in Continental analysis In the analysis stratified by continent, mothers who were born in Africa were less likely to have a male child than those who were born in the UK, with an odds ratio of 0.
Open in a separate window. Regional analysis Mothers who were born in East Africa and West Africa had lower probabilities of having a male child than those who were born in the UK with odds ratios OR of 0. Country analysis Mothers who were born in India had no increased probability of having a male child compared to mothers who were born in the UK with an odds ratio of 1. Table 3 Births by individual country - Discussion Our analysis of national statistical data from England and Wales over a five year period has demonstrated a number of interesting observations.
Conclusions In summary, our data demonstrate no evidence that mothers born in India have an excess of male births when compared to mothers born in the UK, although mothers born in the Middle East, South East Asia and South America do have higher odds ratios for giving birth to boys than mothers from the UK. Ethical approval No ethical approval was required as fully anonymised data was used; therefore no ethics committee was consulted before proceeding with this project. Acknowledgements We would like to thank Joanne Evans at the Office for National Statistics for helping to provide these data.
Contributor Information Cameron Smith, Email: moc. References 1. Shifotoka A, Fogarty A. J Epidemiol Comm Health. Reduced ratio of male to female births in several industrial countries. A sentinel health indicator? Grech V. Sex ratios at birth in the British Isles over the past sixty years. Eur J Pediatr.
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Low male-to-female sex ratio of children born in India: national survey of 1. Ding Q, Hesketh T. Family size, fertility preferences, and sex ratio in China in the era of the one child policy: results from national family planning and reproductive health survey. Brit Med J. Hesketh T, Xing Z. Abnormal sex ratios in human populations: causes and consequences.
Different sex ratios of children born to India and Pakistani immigrants in Norway.