Single mothers' worries: Phenomenological approach to mothers' worries and parental support in Finland
Single mother families need special attention from the society. This study is interested in how the society takes into consideration single mothers` worries. The goal of the study is to answer to the following questions: How do single mothers experience motherhood? What kinds of worries do single mothers experience as mothers? What kind of experiences do single mothers have of getting parental support in the areas of their worries? In this study, a hermeneutic phenomenological approach is used. The study describes and interprets the single mothers` experienced worries and explains how the mothers understand motherhood and parental support from their perspective. The mini focus group interviews were conducted in November 2019 in an organization which organizes family work particularly for single mothers in Finland. The purpose of the mini focus group is to understand participants` perspectives. The data was then analyzed and arranged into themes according to the phenomenological principals. The interviewed Finnish mothers see motherhood as a gift which gives meaning to their life. This study shows that they worry about having all responsibility alone, their financial situation, their own well-being, their children growing without a father and their family model being different from nuclear families. Mothers experience that family policy supports them in their financial situation and in their own well-being. The peer support from other single mothers eases their feeling of isolation. Family workers support mothers in practical ways. Confidential, informal and long-term relationships with the family workers are appreciated. Grandparents give mothers social support, but their ability and willingness to help mothers varies a lot. The results of this study show that the society needs to make sure that all parents get social support, all family models are treated equally and single mothers can attend working life.