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Stress of unmarried motherhood - Essay Example

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Stress, Coping, and Social Support Among Single Mothers The joy felt by a mother, especially upon seeing her healthy new born, is incomparable and the essence of being a mother can lift a woman’s spirit on the lowest times in her life. However, parenthood can also be a stressful responsibility…
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Stress of unmarried motherhood
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Download file to see previous pages If stress is left untreated, this may lead to life altering health complications that may also affect the child, thus coping with the challenges of single-parenthood and social support are of core importance. To start with, it shall be emphasized that single mothers, in this study, refers to those women who were separated, divorced, widowed, or never been married living with at least one child (minor age). The number of single-parent families, majority of which is headed by women, grew substantially since the 1960’s as a result of increasing rates of divorce and separation (Avison, Aneshensel, Scheiman, and Wheaton 73). In the most recent census in the U.S., about 84% of 13.7 million single parents are single mothers (Grall 1; Wolf n. pag.); 45% are currently divorce or separated; 34.2% have never been married; 19% are married (usually remarried); and 1.7% are widowed (Wolf). Wolf added that 79% of single mothers are employed and those who work in full-time basis are much greater (71.7%) compared to part-time basis workers (18.4%). In relation to poverty, 27% of single mothers live in poverty and in terms of public assistance or support, 22% receive Medicaid, 23.5% receive food stamps, 12% receive public housing or rent subsidy, and 5% receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Wolf n. pag.). In connection to stress, it is important to understand what stress is all about. According to Dr. Stoppler (1), stress, in general, is related to external (physical environment, job, relationships with others, and all situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations occurring everyday) and internal (body’s ability to respond) factors. When a stressor comes in, our body’s rapid and automatic defense would be a “fight-or-flight--a reaction called the stress response (Smith, Segal, R., and Segal, J. n. pag.). The three components of the body involved in response to stress are: (1) the brain that immediately responds to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, (2) the hypothalamus and pituitary gland transmitting signal to the adrenal cortex to release cortisol and other hormones, and (3) the many neural (nerve) circuits involved in the behavioral response (Stoppler 4). Though a certain level of stress can motivate an individual to perform well under pressure (Smith, et al n. pag.), however, a stress-out lifestyle is more likely an unhealthy one because it can affect the person’s eating habit that may result either to weight loss (due to lack of time to prepare healthy foods) or weight gain (to fill an emotional need and partly due to the effect of high level of cortisol during stress that stimulates fat, carbohydrate, and insulin) (Stoppler 1). Focusing on stress among single mothers, Scott (n. pag.) said that most mothers, generally, feel stress in the following areas: (1) time demands, (2) finances, (3) relationship demands, (4) protective instincts, (5) self doubt, and (6) time alone. A single mother carries all stress in these areas with no male partner to share with, thus parenting is more burdensome to them compared to two-parent family. Studies consistently found out that single mothers have high levels of psychological distress and high rates of major depression than married mothers (Avison, et al 73). More specifically, separated or divorced mothers have higher rates of depression, dysthymia (a mood disorder), ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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