Card image cap
Card image cap

Immigration, desires for children and family plans: study on the life course of South Asian women who recently immigrated to Montreal

Jacqueline Schneider

Research framework: Few Quebec studies adopt an analytical angle capable of targeting the structural issues affecting the sphere of reproduction of immigrant women, particularly those from the Global South, who may be marked by specific issues.

Objective: This article analyzes the reconstructions of the desire for children and the family plans of South Asian women who recently immigrated to Montreal, with a particular focus on the structural issues that shape them and the responses formulated by the women in this regard.

Methodology: The study was based on ethnographic research conducted over 13 months in a Montreal neighborhood, where 39 biographical narratives focused on the perinatal period were documented, a corpus to which 8 case studies are added.

Results: Women who have a professional project inherent in their migratory project draw their desires for children through identity strategies deployed in response to difficulties in integrating into the world of professional work. Asylum seekers, for their part, seem to deploy identity strategies when they play on fertility to cope with their life contexts, but may be constrained by migratory status. Finally, some sponsored women decide to suspend new pregnancies, partly because of the impoverishment of the female support network.

Conclusion: Immigration projects, with the migratory statuses and post-migratory projections they imply, act as a form of governance on the negotiation of the relationship to reproduction of the women we meet, and structure the most intimate dimensions of identities.

Contribution: Our article thus challenges the idea that immigration to the North is a potentially liberating experience for women from the South.