On Becoming a Teen Mom: Life before Pregnancy

Front Cover
Univ of California Press, Feb 6, 2015 - Social Science - 344 pages
In 2013, New York City launched a public education campaign with posters of frowning or crying children saying such things as “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen” and “Honestly, Mom, chances are he won’t stay with you.” Campaigns like this support a public narrative that portrays teen mothers as threatening the moral order, bankrupting state coffers, and causing high rates of poverty, incarceration, and school dropout. These efforts demonize teen mothers but tell us nothing about their lives before they became pregnant.

In this myth-shattering book, the authors tell the life stories of 108 brown, white, and black teen mothers, exposing the problems in their lives often overlooked in pregnancy prevention campaigns. Some stories are tragic and painful, marked by sexual abuse, partner violence, and school failure. Others depict "girl next door" characters whose unintended pregnancies lay bare insidious gender disparities. Offering a fresh perspective on the links between teen births and social inequalities, this book demonstrates how the intersecting hierarchies of gender, race, and class shape the biographies of young mothers.
 

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Contents

Young Young Mothers
40
Child Sexual Abuse
77
Violence against Women
105
Education
143
Contraception and Abortion
176
Getting beyond the Distraction
217
Tables
236
References
285
Index
319
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Mary Patrice Erdmans is Associate Professor of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of The Grasinski Girls: The Choices They Had and the Choices They Made.

Timothy Black is Associate Professor of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of When a Heart Turns Rock Solid: The Lives of Three Puerto Rican Brothers On and Off the Streets.

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