Broken Past, Fragile Future: Personal Stories of High-Risk Adolescent Mothers

Authors

  • Christine Williams,

    1. Christine Williams, DNSc, RN, CS, is an Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL; Susan W. Vines, PhD, RN is an Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME.
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  • Susan W. Vines

    1. Christine Williams, DNSc, RN, CS, is an Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL; Susan W. Vines, PhD, RN is an Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

purpose. To uncover what adolescent mothers view as their childhood struggles, their transition to the role of motherhood following a childhood of abuse/neglect, and their important relationships after they became parents.

design. Qualitative, phenomenological.

setting. Community-based parenting program for first-time mothers at risk for abusing or neglecting their children.

participants. Seven first-time mothers, ages 13 to 20, who reported they had been abused and/or neglected as children. All had healthy newborns.

results. Five themes emerged from the data: impoverished past, disintegration of relationships, emotional distance, problem fixing, and reconnecting. Participants described a process of using the experience of pregnancy and parenting as a mechanism for growth. Becoming a parent provided an opportunity to receive support from family members and to build more positive relationships. They viewed the experience as a second chance for a successful and fulfilling life.

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