Unmarried With Children

Essay by euromix890College, UndergraduateA, November 2009

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In the article entitled "Unmarried with Children" the authors present the findings of a study which they spent years interviewing 162 low-income mothers in eight poor neighborhoods in Philadelphia and its suburb, Camden, New Jersey. (Edin and Kefalas, 34). "We spent five years chatting over kitchen tables and on front steps, giving mothers like Jen the opportunity to speak to the question so many affluent Americans ask about them: Why do they have children while still young and unmarried when they will face such an uphill struggle to support them" (Edin at al, 33). Their goal was to paint a portrait of these women's lives from the early days of their intimate relationships, through pregnancy, birth and beyond to tell us why they frequently put motherhood before marriage. The primary point they make is that these women do not devalue marriage, but rather value it highly and do not enter into it lightly.

"Unmarried with Children" brings us into a life of young Jen Burke who dropped out of high school after she got pregnant by her 20-year-old boyfriend, Rick. "I didn't want to get pregnant; he wanted me to get pregnant. As soon as he met me, he wanted to have a kid with me" (Edin et al 33). Jen believed that her boyfriend wanted to have a baby with her so that she wouldn't leave him, because of all the other girls he has been with as it had happened to him in the past. According to Jen she began pushing Rick to get a real job and stop messing around and shed that "kiddie mentality" because he had growing financial obligations at home (Jen in Edin et al, 34). Edin and Kefalas stated in the article that Rick wasn't like other to-be fathers...