Countless Blessings offers a compelling and beautifully crafted history of reproduction and emotions in Sahelian Africa. Looking at individuals, households, and institutions, the work sets out to explain the meaning of childbirth for Nigeriens and their preference for multiple children. This preference is embedded in a paradox: although Niger has the world's highest fertility rate, it is also grappling with issues of infertility. Barbara Cooper explores this paradox by focusing on the cultural importance of motherhood and its interaction with personhood from the late precolonial era to the present, in which maternal mortality remains high due to early marriage and long childbearing careers.

Relationality plays a key role in Cooper's analysis. Personhood and fertility are relational, connecting the living with one another and with ancestors. Bearing children is a moral obligation to the ancestors. This obligation is first introduced in the background chapter 1 and traced in the following chapters...

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