The Story of Teen Motherhood Identity: A Narrative Analysis

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 1:30 PM

Janelle L.B. Macintosh, PhD, RN
College of Nursing, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to list the three acts of maternal identity performance narratives.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss the disconnect between personal maternal performance and the expected maternal performance within the clinic setting.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe and explore how young women participating in a teen mother and child program incorporate the concept of motherhood into their own identities, including the personal and cultural meanings and experiences of motherhood they use to make this identification.

Methods: A purposive sample of nine nulliparous pregnant teens and five staff members from a teen mother and child clinic were interviewed. Additional data were gathered using observation, informal and formal interviews, and field notes.. Narrative analysis and the Burkean Pentad were used to analyze these data.

Results: In the personal narratives, from in-depth interviews, the teen mothers told stories of change, in three acts. The three acts are labeled, The Test, The Loss of My Body, and In My Arms. Teen mothers cast themselves as the lead throughout the three acts of their narratives. Teens were cast as supporting cast members by the omnipresent narrator in the Teen Mother and Child Program, the certified nurse-midwives (CNM).

Conclusion: The casting illuminated a disconnect between the clinic and the personal narratives of teen mothers. The implications to nurses and nurse-midwives abound and include the need to understand how teen mothers position themselves in the construction of their own mother identity.