Young mothers: juggling school, career and family



The objective of this qualitative research is to improve our understanding of how some young women succeed in developing and pursuing an educational and career plan, despite a teenage pregnancy and the arrival of a child.

Bringing a pregnancy to term and reconciling the responsibilities of motherhood with the requirements of school life is no easy task; the challenges faced by students in this situation are greatly increased, as is the probability that they will abandon their studies. A young woman without a diploma has limited job options and is at a higher risk of being financially dependent on a partner or the State.

How do young women succeed in developing and pursuing an educational and career plan?

The research was conducted in three regions of Québec: Outaouais, Montérégie and Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec. Through semi-structured interviews, we examined the academic, work and family conditions of 48 young women and the manner in which these evolved before and during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Despite their desire to stay in school as long as possible, some young women have to deal with a number of hurdles: too many stairs to climb, crowded corridors, risks of being bumped or jostled, frequent doctor's appointments, all of which, combined with bothersome physical discomforts and teachers and school administrators who are not always accommodating, ends up discouraging them and convincing them to abandon their studies earlier than they had planned.

It is clearly important for schools to adopt and implement measures aimed at encouraging young women who become pregnant to stay in school for as long as possible.

Main researcher

Andrée LaRue, RIPOST / CSSS de la Vieille-Capitale

Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: July 2008