Exploring the identity formation experiences of a group of women who became mothers during adolescence

Rabie, Cerise (2022-04)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: Early adolescent motherhood is an increasingly common phenomenon in South Africa, and worldwide. While teenage pregnancy is a well-researched occurrence, very few studies have collaborated with young mothers to reflect on their lived realities of early motherhood. In seeking to address the often marginalised voices of young women in the literature related to the phenomenon, this study collaborated with a group of women who had become mothers during adolescence, in the stories they tell about how their lived realities of early motherhood have influenced their identity formation in a historically marginalised community of the Western Cape. This exploratory study was embedded in the social constructivist, interpretive, and transformative paradigms, using a predominantly qualitative research design, more specifically, community-based participatory action research. Six co-researchers were intentionally selected by making use of purposive sampling with the help of a key informant from the community. Creative arts-based visual methods were used to elicit co-researchers’ lived realities by making use of the ‘river of life’, ‘photovoice’, collages and clay modelling. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, traditional forms of face-to-face interactions had to be re-imagined through data generation methods that could be done online. This was a challenging but enriching experience that encouraged honouring the resources, limitations, experiences, and skills, both mine and of the co-researchers. The various methods and theories used in the study afforded triangulation, creating an opportunity to explore data from various vantage points; thereby adding to the rigour of the study. Thematic analysis revealed that the women’s experience of pregnancy in adolescence was complex and multifaceted, encompassing aspects of motherhood, identity, community, and resilience. The research findings reflect the daunting new role of motherhood for the young girls. The women identified various phases of identity and described their conflicts and struggles. The study showed each of the women on a journey to create a redemptive identity despite the adversity and marginalisation with which they had dealt. The results further highlight the influence that community factors, both negative and positive, have on the women’s lived experiences. The co-researchers, however, alluded to the fact that social support and religious awareness aided their personal growth, resilience, and meaning-making processes. Through this reflective process of the telling and retelling of their lived realities in new and creative ways, the study created a space for the co-researchers to re-imagine their identities. The data generated in this collaborative study added to the limited body of knowledge about how marginalised women inform their identities and has the potential to influence the way in which adolescent mothers are supported.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Vroeë adolessente swangerskap is ‘n toenemende verskynsel in Suid-Afrika, en wêreldwyd. Terwyl etlike studies binne die raamwerk van tienerswangerskap bestaan, bly daar ‘n tekort aan studies relevant aan die geleefde realiteite van vroeë moederskap, vir tieners. In ‘n poging om die dikwels gemarginaliseerde stemme van jong vroue in die literatuur verwant aan die bogenoemde verskynsel aan te spreek, het hierdie studie met ‘n groep vroue, wat tydens adolessensie moeders geword het, saamgewerk. Hierdie vrouens deel stories oor hoe die geleefde realiteite van vroeë swangerskap bydra tot hulle identiteitsvorming binne ‘n histories gemarginaliseerde gemeenskap in die Wes-Kaap. Hierdie ondersoekende-studie is ingebed in die sosiaal-konstruktivistiese, interpretiewe en transformatiewe paradigmas. ‘n Oorheersende, kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp, meer spesifiek, ‘n gemeenskapsgebaseerde en -deelnemende aksienavorsing is gebruik. Ses mede-navorsers is doelbewus geselekteer deur gebruik te maak van doelgerigte steekproefneming met behulp van 'n sleutel informant uit die gemeenskap. Skeppende kuns-gebaseerde visuele metodes is gebruik om mede-navorsers se geleefde realiteite te ontlok, deur gebruik te maak van die ‘rivier-van-die-lewe’, ‘photovoice’, ‘collages’ en klei modellering. Met die Covid-19-pandemie in ag geneem, moes tradisionele vorme van aangesig-tot-aangesig-interaksies herdink word, om datagenereringsmetodes aanlyn gedoen kon word. Dit was 'n uitdagende, maar verrykende ervaring wat die verering van die hulpbronne, beperkings, ervarings en vaardighede van my en die mede-navorsers aangemoedig het. Die verskillende metodes en teorieë wat in die studie gebruik is, het ‘n element van triangulasie aangebied, wat 'n geleentheid geskep het om data vanaf verskeie uitkykpunte te verken en sodoende by te dra tot die strengheid van die studie. Tematiese analise het aan die lig gebring dat die vroue se ervaring van swangerskap in adolessensie kompleks en veelvlakkig was. Dit sluit aspekte van moederskap, identiteit, gemeenskap en veerkragtigheid ook in. Die navorsingsbevindings het die skrikwekkende nuwe rol van moederskap vir die jong meisies weerspieël. Die vroue het verskillende fases van identiteit geïdentifiseer en hul eie konflikte en stryde beskryf. Die studie het getoon dat elkeen van die vroue graag 'n verlossende identiteit wou skep, ten spyte van die teëspoed en marginalisering waarmee hulle te doen gehad het. Die resultate van hierdie studie dui op die invloed wat gemeenskapsfaktore, beide negatief en positief, op die vroue se geleefde ervarings het. Die mede-navorsers het egter aangevoer dat sosiale ondersteuning en godsdienstige bewustheid hul persoonlike groei, veerkragtigheid en betekenisskeppingsprosesse aangehelp het. Deur die reflektiewe proses van vertel-en-oorvertel van hul geleefde realiteite op nuwe en kreatiewe maniere, het die studie 'n ruimte geskep waarin mede-navorsers hul identiteite herverbeel het. Die data wat in hierdie samewerkende studie gegenereer is, het bygedra tot die beperkte hoeveelheid kennis oor hoe gemarginaliseerde vroue hul identiteite bepaal en het die potensiaal om die wyse waarop adolessente moeders ondersteun word, te beïnvloed.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/124558
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