Chapters 1 and 2

Chapter 1 opens by describing the Lee family and pieces of their heritage. Foua, Nao, and their children are a family of Hmong refugees from Laos. Now residing in Merced, CA, their 14th child was born in Merced Community Medical Center –making Lia the only child to be born in the U.S.  Of the 14 total children birthed by Foua, 6 died of various causes before coming to the states.

One of the most profound things that is dissected in the first chapter, is the difference between the birthing processes by Hmongs compared to Americans.  Foua gave by squatting on the floor of the house, while being quiet enough not to wake anyone up, and then buried the placenta in the ground. The traditional way Hmongs give birth is not only uncommon to Americans, but also concerning. My initial reaction was that the conditions were unsafe, as there was no doctor or aide present, the environment was not sterile, and no medications or emergency plan was readily available. As a strong believer in medical science, I would prefer to have a baby in an American hospital, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Hmongs’ traditional birthing techniques are wrong. Their practice is justified by their beliefs – if they do not follow a specific birthing process, their baby might have malformations or contact with a dab. This chapter exemplifies how American medicine should not only be accepting of other’s cultures, but could also learn something from the Hmongs natural birthing process. The caesarean section rates in the U.S. continues to rise, which poses numerous risks to both the mother and her baby. Americans.

The 2nd chapter discusses the history of the Hmongs, and notes that even though they are a small race, they have managed to survive though they often had to face more powerful nations.  Hmongs are notorious for being strong and resilient.

As the novel became more and more interesting, and as an impatient person, I looked up more details about what happens to the Lee family. I do not want to spoil any of the storyline for others, but it does get interesting!!

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