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Young Mothers

  • By: Gayle Letherby, Geraldine Brady, Geraldine Brown & Corinne Wilson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

In many societies influenced not least by political definitions and concerns, there is a hierarchy of motherhood, with some mothers being viewed as more appropriate than others. Age as well as sexuality, ethnicity, and other differences impact on the definition of motherhood as an appropriate or inappropriate identity for individual women. With specific reference to age, women are often considered either too young or too old to be mothers. For young mothers, this negative view of their identity and experience can lead to problems, including a lack of attention to the real concerns they have and a denial of the positive aspects of young motherhood.

The definition of young mother depends on the context, because the average age at which women become mothers (or are expected ...

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