Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage

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University of California Press, Mar 8, 2005 - Social Science - 300 pages
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Millie Acevedo bore her first child before the age of 16 and dropped out of high school to care for her newborn. Now 27, she is the unmarried mother of three and is raising her kids in one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods. Would she and her children be better off if she had waited to have them and had married their father first? Why do so many poor American youth like Millie continue to have children before they can afford to take care of them?

Over a span of five years, sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas talked in-depth with 162 low-income single moms like Millie to learn how they think about marriage and family. Promises I Can Keep offers an intimate look at what marriage and motherhood mean to these women and provides the most extensive on-the-ground study to date of why they put children before marriage despite the daunting challenges they know lie ahead.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Before We Had a Baby
27
When I Got Pregnant
50
How Does the Dream Die?
71
What Marriage Means
104
Labor of Love
138
How Motherhood Changed My Life
168
Making Sense of Single Motherhood
187
Acknowledgments
221
City Neighborhood And Family Characteristics and Research Methods
225
Interview Guide
241
Notes
249
References
269
Index
285
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About the author (2005)

Kathryn Edin is Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and coauthor of Making Ends Meet (1997). Maria Kefalas is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She is the author of Working-Class Heroes (California, 2003).

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