University of Hertfordshire

  • Sue Middleton
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)227-238
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Journal publication dateSep 2011
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011


Teenage pregnancy has been the subject of recent policy development within the British government. Viewed from an overwhelmingly negative standpoint, young parenthood is recognised as a feature of impoverished communities while policies focus on technical and educational 'solutions' to reduce the levels of conceptions to under-18. Narrative research was undertaken to listen to the experiences of a small group of young women within individual interviews, with the aim of understanding the meanings of pregnancy for them. Childhood experiences and individual adversity were found to be the structuring features of most of the narratives obtained from the young women. The narratives also revealed a highly restorative aspect to pregnancy and motherhood, connected to overcoming earlier experiences. This appeared to suggest meanings for early pregnancy and parenthood for young women at odds with governmental policy direction, calling into question the focus on reduction that dominates current policy thinking.


"Published as Middleton, S. (2011) ' 'I wouldn't change having the children-not at all.' Young women's narratives of maternal timing : what the UK's teenage pregnancy strategy hasn't heard.' Sexuality Research and Social Policy 8 (3) pp.227-238. © 2011 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on JSTOR ( or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,"

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