Winter in Chicago is great for hibernating, restoring, and replenishing the body, mind, and spirit after a hot (sorta) summer and fall, but by the time February comes, I’m done with it all and ready to blossom out again! Which is exactly when my husband and I can fortunately leave town and visit one of our favorite countries: Jamaica.
If you haven’t visited I strongly suggest it in the Wintertime; less hot and humid. It’s lush and green with colorful vibrant blooming flowers; it’s what I would describe as alive and fertile. I would describe the people just the same – in fact, so welcoming often you’ll here “welcome home” with a big warm smile. One of my favorite signs I came across this trip was “Jamaica makes the world shake”. I can attest as every where you go there’s Reggae music playing and people dancing and/or singing a bit throughout their day – even if they’re doing a job that seems less than desirable.
I’m sure you’re thinking, of course they’re nice you’re in the resort area and they are paid to be that way; but the truth is we’ve been to Jamaica 5 times (they call you Jamericans after a couple stays) and gone to a few different areas, including where locals live and hang out and it’s the same! Big warm welcoming smile each time.
I don’t know about you, but each time I take a leave I get more clarity about my needs and wants and the world around me. On this visit, I was reminded of my mantras for this year, “Be the Change You Seek” and “Happy, Healthy and Whole”. Which got me thinking, how can Jamaicans be so damn happy, healthy, and whole – when it “appears” they struggle with the basic necessities in certain areas – clean water, sturdy homes, clean clothes, access to vitamins/minerals, doctors, dentists, work long hours, not working at all, lacking variations of healthful foods, certain areas a ton of marijuana smoking, and away from family and friends often.
As someone who struggles to conceive a child, I’ve made it my mission to help others get more fertile and am always curious about all things fertility, I decided I would research a bit about Jamaica’s fertility. I was curious to see if their fertility was being jeopardized by their lifestyles. As it turns out, they too have a decline in their fertility, but not primarily being tied to lifestyle issues.
Records showed the most fertile point in their history thus far was in the 1960’s with 6 children per woman to 2.1 in 2017. USA’s most fertile point was in the 1950’s and was 3.7 per woman to 1.01 currently (2018).
What was interesting to me was their decline was seemingly a purposeful choice versus the USA’s decline rate of fertility is mostly due to lifestyle choices (what we consume, what we don’t consume, exercise [or lack thereof exercise], career choices, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.).
In the 1970’s, Jamaica’s government launched a nationwide campaign “Two is Better Than Too Many” to try to help the community from continuing to have more children than they can manage to take care of monetarily – trying to avoid further poverty in the communities.
According to a 2016 article in The Jamaican Observer … “increased or improved participation of women in the labour force, increased educational attainment of women, these are just some of the factors that contribute to women delaying having children and also reducing the number of children they have." Which is also a reason the USA’s fertility has declined. Basically, more women working on their education and careers before deciding to have children, if at all. Also, over the last year the government has recommended to holding off getting pregnant due to the Zika virus.
As you can probably relate, I love my life and my lifestyle choices currently, but they haven’t always been great. Nevertheless, those choices got me to where I am now and that’s a pretty great place so I wouldn’t change them.
BUT, seeing and reading about how Jamaicans live their lives, I can’t help but think, are we too smart for our own good? Could having too much at our fingertips be a bad thing for our fertility? Too much information? Too many options? Could going back to the simpler ways of living be our ticket back to fertility?
I think in some ways it may help us be more happy, healthy and whole!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Reach out to learn more about my mission www.dianazic.com