Indeed, she attributed some of the struggles in her own life and those of her mother to the inadequate support of the fathers. Participants received mixed levels of support from friends, and the level of support largely depended on the type of friendship before the pregnancy.
Some [friends] are very close, like this one who is here now, she visits daily. Even before I had the baby she encourages me. The others are now very distant from me. I think because I was pregnant. During the interview with Veronica, her friend was present and helped out with the baby. They seemed very close and, according to Veronica, becoming pregnant strengthened the relationship between the two friends. This supportive scenario between friends was not the same for others, who felt isolated, sometimes because their friends were young mothers themselves:.
I have one best friend and she has a baby as well, how can she support me? So I decided to keep to myself. For some young mothers, long travel distances and the inability to commute easily was a barrier to getting support from friends:. Yeah I have one [friend] but she lives very far. She lives in the other side of the city. The fathers of the babies were often absent during and after the pregnancy. For the few fathers who were around, the amount of support provided - financial, emotional or physical - to the teenage mother and the baby was generally described as inadequate.
When present, the a few fathers were reportedly inclined to try to access the social security benefits available to the mother rather than support her with the child:. They love to come around if you have money and ask if you have money and then they just go away with the money. If they know you have a kid, it sends them packing.
In Melbourne, members of the wider African community generally frown upon unmarried teenage mothers, leaving the teenagers with feelings of shame and embarrassment.
Young mothers are perceived to set bad examples to other teenagers, and give a bad reputation to the community and their families. Hence, teenage mothers were perceived to be bad role models for other younger girls. In accordance with this perception, the lack of support given to these mothers by members of their community was evident. None of the participants in this research said they had received support for the baby via their community.
Community attitudes towards them left with feelings of embarrassment. I was embarrassed; I was embarrassed with everyone [in the community]. My mother was angry with me, because I could not go to school.
She felt bad, because I am pregnant in street [unmarried] and it is a big problem in the community. Interdependency post migration remained an anchor point for many African migrants and their families. Thus any community perceptions and attitudes towards individuals were taken seriously. Those young mothers without significant social bonds expressed feelings of exclusion and rejection.
Francisca who moved to Melbourne from another city without sharing her pregnancy status with anyone recounted:. Friendships were limited for many of these young women because of their migration statuses and interrupted lives. The paper is based on qualitative research — i.
However, the paper does provide insight into the intersecting identities that shape teen pregnancy and early motherhood in a site of settlement. For African Australians with refugee background living in Melbourne, teenage motherhood brings both joy and regret [ 14 ]. Our research indicates that motherhood brought happiness for many of the young women and an increased sense of meaning, despite the associated challenges of early parenting [ 14 ].
There was an associated sense of maturity and responsibility. Many young mothers developed a personal sense of stability, identity, purpose and responsibility following early motherhood, a finding similar to other studies of teenage pregnancy and parenthood see [ 1 , 6 , 14 ]. The respect awarded mothers in Africa may be seen as a reason for this strong sense of identity and purpose following motherhood [ 1 ].
In this study, positive experiences of motherhood were associated with good social support which contributed to feelings of acceptance and optimism for teenage mums see also [ 1 ]. For some, teen pregnancy and early motherhood brought them closer to their families particularly mothers and female siblings and they valued having a child whom they loved and who loved them back [ 1 , 4 ]. Indeed in some societies, particularly when political instability is common, women become bearers of nationhood [ 3 ].
Thus, society, culture and the context within which motherhood occurs shapes and influences the motherhood experiences.
Nonetheless, in this study, all the young mothers indicated that pregnancy and early parenthood had come at a time when they were also confronting the ongoing challenges of settlement in Australia as well as the transitions and challenges of adolescence and early adulthood. Our findings demonstrate the conflicting role of motherhood to the self despite inherent benefits to the self, family and broader society [ 6 , 14 ].
Other studies have documented the conflicting experiences joy and challenges of motherhood, particularly among adolescent mothers who experience tensions between their needs as both mothers and as adolescents [ 2 ].
For participants in this study, they negotiated the competing demands and challenges of pregnancy and parenthood as well as adolescence and early adulthood, while also confronting settlement in a new country which brings its own challenges in relation to housing, language acquisition, education, social connections and workforce participation. Becoming a young mother in a new country is therefore complex, and theoretical frameworks that can engage with the multiple axes through which early motherhood is shaped and experienced best support understanding and analysis of these experiences.
Indeed, we contend that analysis of the experiences and perspectives of young mothers must highlight the many dimensions and intersections of their lives. Race, age, gender, migration experience, the family environment, socioeconomic status, educational background, and social networks prior to pregnancy contributed to a complex web of intersecting experiences that then shaped teen pregnancy and early motherhood see also [ 23 ].
In this study, an array of interpersonal identities influenced how young mothers experience early motherhood. While there is a large body of literature that highlights the disadvantages of teenage pregnancy and early motherhood, intersectionality theory provides a broad framework via which the diverse contexts, experiences, drivers and outcomes of teen pregnancy and early motherhood can be considered: Research indicates that family support is critical to teen mothers and it has been found to have a positive impact on parenting experiences, behaviours and practices [ 32 ].
Among many participants, despite initial negative reactions — particularly from mothers - when first confronted with the news of the pregnancy, interpersonal support was forthcoming from mothers and sisters and some female friends. Further, the family of young mothers also came under scrutiny by the broader community, which contributed to heightened feelings of shame and disapproval. Both the fathers of the young mothers and the fathers to the babies were described as providing inadequate or even no support, often cited as being absent.
As this research found, being a teenage mother can be difficult and many participants spoke of having inadequate social support.
Early motherhood was often marred by a sense of loss, particularly not being able to complete their school education and obtain a good job see also [ 1 , 2 ]. But with the right people and support, teenager mothers were able to engage in mainstream society.
Being a refugee and settling in Australia comes with many challenges, and teenage pregnancy can amplify the challenges of settlement including education, employment, housing and development of social networks [ 12 , 33 ]. Yet for many participants, having a child brought a sense of purpose, family, attachment and identity. For example, as young migrants from Africa with refugee backgrounds, settlement in Australia can be a highly challenging process that is often characterised by disrupted and fluid family and social networks: Other studies of migration and protracted refugee situations have documented that teenagers with refugee backgrounds have limited control over their lives and futures, and motherhood remains one of the few things they feel they can control [ 4 , 19 ].
And in her study of South East Asian immigrants, Liamputtong [ 6 ] argues that motherhood gives young women a sense of purpose and belonging and fulfils a moral and cultural responsibility. Further, these young women come from cultures where ingrained gender roles and practices support early orientation towards motherhood and childbearing, and motherhood is regarded as a female duty and responsibility.
Hence, while early motherhood has many complexities and disadvantages for young women in a site of settlement, paradoxically, it can also be fulfilling.
Motherhood at any age is complex, but more so for teen mothers and migrants who are developing and trying to negotiate their emerging position as adults in a site of settlement. For young women with refugee backgrounds, lack of extended family and social support networks including the absence of biological parents confers significant disadvantage. In this study, young mothers highlighted the important supportive role of their own mothers in particular where available , yet many spoke of inadequate wider social support and disapproval of family and community members.
Research indicates that social connectedness promotes better psychosocial outcomes for young parents, and better settlement and well-being outcomes for refugee youth [ 12 ]. Services and teen parenting programs for young people with refugee backgrounds should recognize and facilitate the important supportive role of extended family and community networks, including mothers, siblings, guardians, friends, the father of the child, and the father s of the young mother.
It is important that at least one biological parent, particularly the mother, is present during and soon after the birth of the baby. Service providers should also consider the broader context within which early, unplanned, or mistimed pregnancies and motherhood occur among teenage mothers, including those with refugee backgrounds. Despite policy commitments to delivering appropriate services to disadvantaged community, there are few examples of programs to support young mothers from refugee or culturally diverse backgrounds [ 12 ].
Initiatives and services are required that support young people to become parents while also maintaining broader settlement and life goals. Services must have increased awareness about migrant and refugee communities, and the particular challenges and needs of teen mothers, their children and families.
Given access to appropriate support, people with refugee backgrounds can make significant contributions to their new countries of settlement and lead satisfying personal and family lives.
For women with refugee backgrounds, early motherhood can be challenging, particularly where there is inadequate or limited social support, and this has an impact upon their aspirations and imagined futures. Yet, in line with the emerging research that highlights the positive aspects of teen pregnancy and early motherhood, this study suggests that African young mothers with refugee backgrounds often value motherhood.
Programs and policies should seek to increase and nurture social support networks while also building on the evident resilience and resourcefulness of these young women. We thank all the young mothers and other participants who contributed to and took part in the research. MCNCW carried out the research which was towards an academic qualification.
PL and CM supported and guided her during the research process. MCNCW conceived the study; PL and CM participated in its design, coordination and helped to draft the manuscript and made contributions as the manuscript evolved.
All authors read and approved the final manuscript. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Sep Received Jan 23; Accepted Sep 2. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background Motherhood is a significant and important aspect of life for many women around the globe. Methods This qualitative research used in-depth interviews.
Results Motherhood brings increased responsibilities, social recognition, and a sense of purpose for young mothers. Background Globally, teenage pregnancy remains a public health concern. Open in a separate window. Cultural influences Regardless of whether the pregnancy was planned or unplanned, all the teen mothers in our study decided to proceed with their pregnancy. Chelsea, a young Muslim woman, discusses her fear of abortion, the fate that awaits a woman if she dies due to an abortion, and the implications of abortion for the family: Chelsea However, women also spoke of more positive reasons for proceeding with pregnancy.
Becoming a mother Among these young women, becoming a mother was largely a positive experience, despite the associated challenges. Below Alimatou shares her joys and sorrows of motherhood as a pregnant young mother: Alimatou For some young women, motherhood brought with it a sense of maturity, elevated responsibility and purpose.
Francisca While there was a sense of purpose and maturity that came with motherhood, these mothers acknowledged the many difficulties they faced as young mothers. Daniela Some women felt regret in relation to having a baby while still at school, particularly when they were unable to complete their school education which then led to difficulties in finding work.
This difficulty was noted particularly among those with limited social support networks, as they had no one to help at home or lend a hand in the absence of biological parents following migration: Ayuba Those with an older child found the tasks of motherhood even more demanding. Jessica, who did not have her biological parents in Australia, highlighted the daily life challenges she faced coupled with the physiological changes expecting mothers have to deal with: Family support The challenge that many migrants face in sites of settlement is the lack of extended family, social and cultural networks [ 6 , 14 ].
The young mothers who lived with guardians said they would have had better support if their biological mothers were present: Chelsea, for example, had the support of her mother and went back to school when her baby was aged four months: Chelsea Those young women who had their fathers in Australia did not feel strongly about getting their support.
Almost all teenagers came from single parent homes or their fathers were reportedly in Africa or elsewhere, often married to other wives: Kayla Support was not only lacking from absent biological fathers; step-fathers who were present were said to provide limited support for the step-daughters and their children.
Support from friends Participants received mixed levels of support from friends, and the level of support largely depended on the type of friendship before the pregnancy. Veronica During the interview with Veronica, her friend was present and helped out with the baby.
This supportive scenario between friends was not the same for others, who felt isolated, sometimes because their friends were young mothers themselves: Chelsea For some young mothers, long travel distances and the inability to commute easily was a barrier to getting support from friends: When present, the a few fathers were reportedly inclined to try to access the social security benefits available to the mother rather than support her with the child: Support from the wider community In Melbourne, members of the wider African community generally frown upon unmarried teenage mothers, leaving the teenagers with feelings of shame and embarrassment.
Francisca who moved to Melbourne from another city without sharing her pregnancy status with anyone recounted: Stephanie Friendships were limited for many of these young women because of their migration statuses and interrupted lives. Implications for service providers and policy makers Motherhood at any age is complex, but more so for teen mothers and migrants who are developing and trying to negotiate their emerging position as adults in a site of settlement.
Acknowledgments We thank all the young mothers and other participants who contributed to and took part in the research. Footnotes Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Experiences of pregnancy and motherhood among teenage mothers in a suburb of Accra, Ghana: Experiences of early motherhood among Thai adolescents: Thai Journal of Research January-March, ;12 1: Reproduction, childbearing and motherhood: Motherhood as a script for nationhood; pp.
Maternal and Childhealth Journal. Burmese women and unwanted pregnancy: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Young mother in the hood: Journal of Youth Studies. Early marriages, adolescent and young pregnancies. Young people of minority ethnic origin in England and early parenthood: Unplanned but not unwanted? Teen pregnancy and parenthood among young people with refugee backgrounds.
Contraception, teenage pregnancy, culture and motherhood among African Australian teenagers with a refugee background in Greater Melbourne, Australia. Unpublished dotoral disseration Bundoora Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: La Trobe University; Benza S, Liamputtong P. Migrant motherhood and challenges: The lived experiences of Zimbawean women living in Melbourne. Paper submitted to Midwifery, Antenatal care perceptions of pregnant African women attending maternity services in Melbourne, Australia.
World Health Organization, Using peer education to increase sexual knowledge among West African refugees in Western Australia. Health Care for Women International. Hoban E, Liamputtong P. Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. Univ Chicago Legal Forum. Qualitative research and intersectionality.
Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. What are the causes? Find out what are the most common causes for this and if they can be eliminated. Parenting at a young age. Are young women prepared to become mothers?
What are the problems that could appear? Many parents, when they find out that their daughter is pregnant, press her to make abortion because she is too young. Do you think this is a good or a bad thing? Most of the time, the young couple does not get married, and they break up after a short period. Could this be prevented by getting married? Discuss with women who had children at a young age.
You can find out what are the biggest difficulties that they encountered and how they managed to deal with their new position. Most of the countries offer financial help for young mothers so they will have the chance to complete their education. In the last years, this became so common that it is considered normal in some countries.
The media is promoting an ideal image of a young, happy mother, and this could influence other girls to make the same mistake.
Top 25 Interesting Research Paper Topics On Teenage Pregnancy Are you in the process of writing a teenage pregnancy research paper, but have no idea how so select a topic? It can be difficult trying to find a topic that you get emotional about, and find a lot of .
There are many valid research questions for teen pregnancy, including common social, political and economical trends leading to higher or lower teen pregnancy, social and economical factors that will effect teen mothers, the physical results of pregnancy on teens, etc.
Scientific research indicates that abstinence plus education is actually much more effective in preventing teen pregnancy. Solving the problem of teen pregnancy has largely been relegating to treating the symptoms of the problem and employing prevention strategies aimed at young women. ganZila Arias 19 May Mod. Research Paper-Rough Draft Adolescent Pregnancy, also known as Teenage Pregnancy, is the period where teenage girls are at a stage where their mind is a bit undeveloped and carry around a fetus in their uterus.
10 Quick Tips On Writing A Research Paper On Teenage Pregnancy It is very common nowadays to see young girls, age 18 or less, who are pregnant or already having a child. Even if it is considered normal in some parts of the world, in the west this is concerning phenomena. The primary NIH organization for research on Teenage Pregnancy is the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Disclaimers MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies.