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‘Rebuilding after the storm’

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This research aimed to listen, and make sense of, stories of young motherhood from the perspectives of two cohorts: ‘mothers of young mothers’ and ‘young mothers’, and to explore how shared stories of motherhood were constructed in particular social, interpersonal and cultural contexts. A narrative approach was taken to the interviews and analysis. Twelve women were invited to ‘tell their story’ about becoming and being a mother and a mother of a young mother. There were a number of shared plots as well as diversities across and within cohorts, with three acts resembling a series of progressive and regressive phases: (1) derailment; (2) a bumpy, terrifying and fun ride, full of surprises; (3) coming to terms with reality: better equipped for the future. Located within personal stories were key cultural narratives which demonstrated how mothers’ individual experiences were informed by societal expectations. The contribution of these narratives to existing theoretical literature; wider clinical implications; the political context; and future research are discussed. The process of conducting this research has clearly illustrated the power, diversity, and authenticity of listening to mothers’ stories at different stages of their mothering journey.
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Keywords: cultural constructions; qualitative; stories; young motherhood

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 3, 2011

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