Objective: to understand the future expectations and experience of vulnerable mothers from pregnancy to their child's early years. Methods: this qualitative study used the social phenomenology of Alfred Schütz as a framework. From January to April 2011, nine mothers from the 2009 program "Chile Grows with You" were interviewed at health centers in an urban Santiago de Chile community. Results: analysis of the "lived type" led to an understanding of the mothers' real-world experience. Unexpected pregnancies in extremely vulnerable mothers are associated with feelings of hopelessness then resignation. There is no plan for the future; the mother lives in the present with great uncertainty. Conclusions: from the mothers' stories, significant patterns were identified in their experiences, yielding insights into society from these women's perspectives. For humanized, comprehensive nursing care, this expertise directs interventions designed to overcome despair in women excluded because of their invisibility and poverty.
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