A phenomenological investigation into the lived experiences of young motherhood in Scotland and their transitions into Higher Education within the context of Welfare Reforms in the UK.
(2016) A phenomenological investigation into the lived experiences of young motherhood in Scotland and their transitions into Higher Education within the context of Welfare Reforms in the UK., no. 82.
The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the lived experiences of young motherhood in Scotland. The study seeks to highlight young mother's experiences as they transition into higher education, alongside investigating subsequent experiences within the context of welfare reforms in the UK. Data was generated from four semi-structured interviews with 21 year old mothers, each falling pregnant at 15, 16 or 18 years old. The interviews were designed to produce multidimensional understandings of the lived experiences of young mothers in higher education in Scotland. Key themes derived from the research analysis include stigma, social isolation, financial support for childcare, and lastly formal and informal support networks. What became clear from the analysis was the overriding experience of 'felt' stigma, whereby all of the participants confided in an overwhelming fear of humiliation and discrimination. Dominant government and media rhetoric appear to have impacted the participant's experiences. Financial stigma reiterates a strong presence of neoliberal discourse regarding the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' dichotomy. Adverse social implications of young motherhood were uncovered through experiences of social isolation and a loss of friendship bonds, demonstrating detrimental psycho-social implications. However what became evident was the lack of consistency across the university experiences, as financial support for childcare was a significant factor in aiding young mother's transitions into higher education.