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Mothering served as a narrative backbone that supported a meaningful, well developed life in some teenage mothers

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Q How do mothers who gave birth when they were <19 years of age describe and interpret their life experiences 12 years later?

DESIGN

Longitudinal qualitative study using interpretive phenomenology.

SETTING

A large metropolitan area on the west coast of the US.

PARTICIPANTS

From an initial sample of 16 families, the sample followed up at 12 years consisted of 11 families (9 mothers, 3 partners of mothers, 9 maternal grandparents, and 6 of the mothers’ firstborn children). Mothers were 27–31 years of age. 10 mothers had given birth to additional children. 5 mothers were married, and 6 were single. 2 families were receiving public assistance. 1 mother lived in low income housing, and 3 mothers lived with their parents. Of the 7 remaining families, 4 owned their homes.

METHODS

Families were interviewed at 4 different time periods (approximately every 4 y). At the fourth follow up, the investigator interviewed each mother (and partner in 3 cases) about changes in her life since the last follow up and difficult and rewarding parenting situations. 1 month later, parents were asked to describe additional difficult and rewarding parenting situations. Parents and the index child were then asked to …

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