Motherhood, Empowerment, and Resilience within the Context of Intimate Partner Violence

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We conducted twenty in-depth interviews with residents of a domestic violence shelter in a southeastern metropolitan area to understand how low-income women experience mothering within the context of intimate partner violence (IPV). Interview questions explored the women’s feelings about motherhood, their relationships with their children, and the effects of IPV on their children. Despite the difficulties of raising children with an abusive partner, the women did not regret becoming a mother. In fact, respondents identified their children as one of few positives in their lives and mothering as central to their identity. Relationships with their children enabled the women to feel empowered in ways that their intimate partnerships did not and motivated them to escape the violence and persevere