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In many ways this book echoes my own personal and academic journey to

date, and there are many people to thank from along the way. Living in

the Solomon Islands provided a rare opportunity to explore different

cultural practices and become friends with the warm and friendly people

of Munda. Other friendships were later forged in the contrasting circumstances

of profound poverty and inspiring determination in Bangladesh,

another beautiful country but so often, and unfairly, ravaged by disaster.

The people met during these years of living and working in different

countries and cultures taught me many lessons and have enabled me to

see, and to respect, how other lives are lived. More recently and closer to

home, colleagues at Oxford Brookes University have generously supported

my research and writing endeavours and I am very grateful for

this. Particular thanks are due to Abbey Halcli and John Carter, who read

and commented on this book as it took shape. Friends and colleagues in

other institutions and other countries have also contributed in a variety of

ways, providing critical comment, friendship, encouragement and support.

These have included fellowmembers of the Women’s Workshop on

Qualitative Research in London, and others in Switzerland, Italy and the

USA. Thanks also go to Jane Ribbens-McCarthy and Maxine Birch for

years of friendship interspersed with the occasional discussion of weighty,

academic matters! Also to Frank for travelling with me and continually

providing support and love. But the final thanks go to all the women who

shared with me their journeys into motherhood. Without them this book

would not have been possible.