Unmarried mothers are often viewed in a negative way by many in society, and judged as being scroungers, or, as immoral women who get pregnant through choice, just to claim welfare benefits. However we have little knowledge of the actual experience of these women. Therefore this work has been based on oral interviews and the evidence collected from seven women, all of whom were born and raised in Barrow and Ulverston and who became unmarried mothers between 1960 and 1996. This work demonstrates the changes and continuities experienced by these women, shows the limitations imposed on them by society, and the strategies they employed to raise their child alone and gain a measure of independence. Thus challenging the argument that unmarried mothers are scroungers. The stigma associated with having children outside of marriage is shown, while the pattern of abandonment by men, demonstrates that even in the 1990s, sexual permissiveness was deemed acceptable for men but not for women.