This study examined patterns, variations, and existensial turning points in young mothers' narratives of self and their visions of the future as part of a larger hermeneutic, longitudinal study.The study was philosophically based in the phenomenology of everyday practices as inherently meaningful, situated, and historically derived and drew on dialogical views of the self. The sample consisted of 13 (of the original 16) young mothers and family members who had been interviewed 4 years earlier. For the present study, data consisted of life history accounts of the intervening 4 years, stories of caregiving routines, and recent coping episodes of parenting elicited through in-depth interviews. Findings offer a situated understanding of young mothering and highlight meaningful distinctions in the ways young mothers experience the self and project themselves into the future. The discovery of patterns and variations in the young mother's sense of self and future have implications for guiding clinical practice and are preliminary to designing programs and interventions that are tailored to the practical understanding and situated possibilities of young mothers.
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Mossouri (SmithBattle).
Nurse Coordinator, Hemophilia Treatment Center, Children's Hospital, Oakland, California (Wynn Leonard).
Funding from the American Nurses Foundation and the Summer Scholars Program, School of Nursing, Saint Louis University is grateful acknowledged. An earlier version of this article was presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Family Relations in Kansas City, Missouri, November 8, 1996.