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I Was an Unwed Welfare Mother: Social Justice for Poor Women and Children

I Was an Unwed Welfare Mother: Social Justice for Poor Women and Children

Some names have been changed for this essay, and some settings are composites.In the summer of 1981, just after turning 22, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy and named him Caleb.I was not married, and the man who had fathered my child was permanently out of the picture.My divorced parents both shunned me for being an unwed mother in an era when it was still unspeakably shameful. Both my parents were toxic in any case; my friends were my family.But my friends were in no position to help me. Emotionally compromised by post-traumatic stress, I was a college dropout and had barely been supporting myself as a minimum-wage secretary, living in two rooms off an alley behind a hardware store. I had

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