Young Motherhood: Is It Really a Case of ‘shattered Lives and Blighted Futures’?



Despite an apparent drop in the teenage pregnancy rate over the last 40 years, Great Britain still has the highest number of teenage mothers in Western Europe. Society still seems to view early motherhood as a threat, with young mothers continuing to be stigmatised (Holgate, 2012). Hadfield, Rudoe and Sanderson-Mann (2007, p.257) maintain that ‘[i]n the main, media portrayal of teenage mothers is focused around the derogatory “pramface” or the teenage “chav mum”, personified by Vicky Pollard from the BBC’s Little Britain’. Such a view of young mothers as on ‘the road to social death’ (Whitehead, 2001) therefore associates teen motherhood with a working-class condition and contributes to stigmatising these women by seeing them as members of a disempowered section of society. Some scholars, however (e.g. McDermott and Graham, 2005), have suggested that there has been too much focus on the possible negative effects of teen motherhood on young women and society, and that any positive effects are being ignored. This chapter presents the stories of a group of young mothers and illustrates how they deal with a stigmatised identity and use everyday language to construct their selfhood.


Young Woman Social Comparison Teenage Pregnancy Young Mother Teenage Mother 
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© Hilary Bruffell 2015

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