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Despite attention paid to substance use during pregnancy, understandings of young Aboriginal women’s experiences based on their perspectives have been virtually absent in the published literature. This study’s objective was to understand the life experiences of pregnant-involved young Aboriginal women with alcohol and drugs. Semi-structured interviews to gather life histories were conducted with 23 young Aboriginal women who had experiences with pregnancy, and alcohol and drug use. Transcribed interviews were analyzed for themes to describe the social and historical contexts of women’s experiences and their self-representations. The findings detail women’s strategies for survival, inner strength, and capacities for love, healing, and resilience. Themes included the following: intersectional identities, life histories of trauma (abuse, violence, and neglect; intergenerational trauma; separations and connections), the ever-presence of alcohol and drugs, and the highs and lows of pregnancy and mothering. The findings have implications for guiding policy and interventions for supporting women and their families.

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Journal Article

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