Purpose: To understand the experience of becoming a mother for single, unpartnered, Medicaid-eligible, first-time mothers in the United States and to discover the basic social psychological problem and process experienced by the mothers during the first 3 months postpartum. Design: Grounded theory. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted and audiotaped with 20 single, unpartnered, Medicaid-eligible, first-time mothers at 1, 2, and 3 months postpartum. Data analysis was completed using the constant comparative method of data analysis. Findings: The women used the basic social psychological process of "reformulating life" to manage their "grieving of multiple losses." "Reformulating life" included "believing in future possibilities," "submerging self in the mother role," "daring to dream life's options," "development of a new self-definition, identity, and future," and "risking a new life course: attempting new roles." Social support and personal resilience facilitated the basic social psychological process of "reformulating life." Conclusions: Single, unpartnered, Medicaid-eligible, first-time mothers in this study managed their "grieving multiple losses" by "reformulating life." The uniqueness of this substantive theory is the relationship between pregnancy, loss, and grief.
- Medicaid-eligible mothers
ASJC Scopus subject areas