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Table of Contents

Foreword by Frank Furstenberg Introduction 1. "Before We Had a Baby ..." 2. "When I Got Pregnant ..." 3. How Does the Dream Die? 4. What Marriage Means 5. Labor of Love 6. How Motherhood Changed My Life Conclusion: Making Sense of Single Motherhood Acknowledgements Appendix A: City, Neighborhood, and Family Characteristics and Research Methods Appendix B: Interview Guide Notes References Index

About the Author

Kathryn Edin is Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and coauthor of Making Ends Meet (1997). Maria Kefalas is Professor of Sociology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She is the author of Working-Class Heroes (California, 2003).


Seeking to identify the forces behind the trend for young (and often impoverished) women to become (and remain) unmarried mothers, sociologists Edin (Univ. of Pennsylvania) and Kefalas (St. Joseph's Univ.) interviewed some 162 low-income residents in poor urban areas of Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. In their cogent and persuasive explanation of this lifestyle, they focus on four young women-Deena, Dominique, Mahkiya, and Jen-who, when they became pregnant, chose motherhood without marriage over abortion or adoption. Despite being young and poor, these women believe that caring for their children has added meaning to their otherwise diminished lives. The women relate personal stories and decisions that reflect factors in the changing role of women since the 1950s: a redefinition of marriage, the sexual revolution, and growing acceptance of cohabitation, all in a world of increasing inequalities in income and wealth. These women may struggle on the lower rung, but they remain firmly committed single parents. This thought-provoking book is highly recommended for academics, professionals, and public libraries.-Suzanne W. Wood, formerly with SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"A seminal book."--Time Magazine

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