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Title: The neglected child becomes a mother : care-leavers' transition to motherhood and their lived experience of being a mother
Author: Hasse-Grierson, Eliane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 765X
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2015
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This study seeks to explore the experiences of motherhood amongst care-leavers with histories of neglect and/or abuse. Six mothers were interviewed, who had been in care for three years or more and had by the time of the interviews left care for at least eight years. The data collected was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), and four main themes were identified: (1) motherhood as a lifeline and a great challenge; (2) the negotiation of external threats and support; (3) care-leavers’ mothering overshadowed by their past; and (4) being good-enough-mothers: self-imposed pressures. The findings suggest that the transition to motherhood is a personal existential journey involving the search for connections, love and identity; giving the participants an opportunity to create a positive sense of self that lies beyond that of a “child of the system”, and bringing them a sense of purpose and self-worth. However it also propelled them to confront their givens and vulnerabilities, leaving them struggling at times to meet the demands of motherhood. External support and personal determination were key elements in their resilience and success in mothering their children. However, the positive elements of motherhood as the secure base from which to explore new ways of being were not enough to heal the trauma of their past. Participants’ needs to overprotect their children and the tendency to interpret their children’s need for independence as rejection may be fostering the transmission of psychological traits that they sought to avoid. There is a need for easier access to counselling services for these young adults before and after they leave care. Moreover, psychological educational programmes should be established to minimise the negative impact of children-in-care’s early experiences, preparing them not only for motherhood if desired, but also for life as independent, selfassured individuals.
Supervisor: Paidoussis, Chloe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available