On Becoming a Teen Mom: Life Before Pregnancy by Mary Patrice Erdmans

By Mary Patrice Erdmans

In 2013, long island urban introduced a public schooling crusade with posters of frowning or crying youngsters announcing things like "I’m two times as most probably to not graduate highschool since you had me as an adolescent" and "Honestly, mother, likelihood is he won’t stick with you." Campaigns like this aid a public narrative that portrays teenager moms as threatening the ethical order, bankrupting nation coffers, and inflicting excessive charges of poverty, incarceration, and faculty dropout. those efforts demonize teenager moms yet let us know not anything approximately their lives sooner than they grew to become pregnant.

In this myth-shattering e-book, the authors inform the existence tales of 108 brown, white, and black teenager moms, exposing the issues of their lives usually ignored in being pregnant prevention campaigns. a few tales are tragic and painful, marked by means of sexual abuse, associate violence, and faculty failure. Others depict "girl round the corner" characters whose accidental pregnancies lay naked insidious gender disparities. delivering a clean point of view at the hyperlinks among youngster births and social inequalities, this booklet demonstrates how the intersecting hierarchies of gender, race, and sophistication form the biographies of younger moms.

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Some grew up in families that were desperately poor, but most were just-getting-by working class. A few were stable working-class immigrants, others were working-to-middle-class climbers, and a few were middle-class sliders destabilized by divorce and alcoholism. Less than one-quarter of the mothers grew up in areas of concentrated poverty, 38 | Chapter 1 and even there, some lived in households that were relatively stable economically and emotionally. Education interacted with family income and neighborhood so that the poorest families had the least education and lived in the most impoverished neighborhoods.

One 14-year-old defiantly answered in monosyllabic yeah/nah, shoulder shrugs, and the Distraction | 39 “I dunno” mantra of a sulky adolescent who distrusts adults. A few mothers’ cognitive and emotional impairments limited their language. Some mothers were unwilling to revisit painful memories and were reluctant to offer more than the skeleton of an abuse narrative. And finally, a few mothers appeared to be under the influence of drugs (prescription and otherwise) and were a bit groggy during the interview.

2012, table 8. 63 Moreover, while birth rates have declined significantly for all teens, black teens had the steepest decline at 52 percent (see figure 4). 65 In our national preoccupation with racial and ethnic differences, however, what is often lost is the relationship between poverty and teen births. 68 Urban areas have higher rates of teen births because of concentrated neighborhood poverty; blacks and Puerto Ricans have higher rates of teen births because they have higher rates of Distraction | 25 poverty and they are more likely to live in areas of concentrated neighborhood poverty.

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