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I read “An Oral History of Olivia Hamilton”, and it really impressed me. A very short summary of this story is that one woman made some bad decisions and had to go to prison while she was pregnant. In prison she was treated poorly, that is why she told her story to people so that they could learn from this bad experience and make wise choices in similar situations. However, sometimes things can become really tough, and there is only one way to avoid embarrassment: not stepping down the edge. In all perspectives, this quote emphasizes the most simple and essential thing for people and society to remember: one person should help another person. This practice is an essential thing for people, and even the Bible underlines the same statement “love thy neighbor as thyself”. In other words, this quote says that sometimes people may step on the wrong path, but it is not the end for them because they simply need someone, who can give them a hand in this situation.

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My goal now is to help people avoid making the same mistakes. I want to work with young women because when a woman gets to a certain age in her life, there is pressure to do things that they may not want to do.

I agree that helping people is very important in today’s society. This point needs to be emphasized since many people believe that the problems of others are not their business. The story of Olivia Hamilton is not a single case since many pregnant women undergo the same hardships while imprisoned. However, the case of Olivia Hamilton is a vivid example of women, who face the same problem. I agree with this quote because I really care about the problems of today’s society. We are all people, and we all make mistakes. That is why any individual should not be judged strictly since every person can be in a similar situation. This problem is more relevant for teenagers, who sometimes step on the wrong path due to some extreme circumstances. Furthermore, it happens because of a lack of parental care, poverty, some external factors, etc.

Another topic that is relevant to this quote is that people get to a certain age, where sometimes they have to do things that they may not want to do. In another word, it means that sometimes our wishes do not meet our possibilities. However, people should not give up or lose their hearts. I have interviewed one person, who wanted to stay anonymous (this person will be referred to below as Helen Smith). Her story is very similar, and she faced difficult problems in her life. She got pregnant at a young age and had to give up school. As a result, she had to take bad jobs. Moreover, she had poor support from her parents, and it caused psychological stress for her. However, she was strong to handle that situation and has not broken down. She says that what happened to her was her fault, and she has to take all responsibility for her actions. Nevertheless, now Helen has a beautiful daughter and a husband, and after attending specialized courses, she has got a job of her dream. She also fully agrees with the above-mentioned quote and thinks that “An Oral History of Olivia Hamilton” is really eye-opening.

I agree that people need some help in similar situations, and Helen Smith’s experience confirms it. However, this topic requires further study and a more detailed examination of Hamilton’s story. It is also important to look at the issue from sociological and psychological perspectives.

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Olivia Hamilton’s Story

Olivia Hamilton provided a vivid example, which really seems to be eye-opening. However, American society continues to face the same problem. Statistics show that 3 out of 10 American girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. Parenthood is one of the reasons why girls drop out of school, and more than half of them never resume their studies. Furthermore, 8 of 10 teen fathers do not marry mothers of their children (Finer & Philbin, n. d.). These facts show that the problem remains urgent and requires further study.

Hamilton’s story is not unique, and today more and more women undergo the same challenges. However, Olivia is a really strong woman, who handles all difficulties and shares her experience with the public.

Poor Parental Care

After studying Olivia’s story, it can be concluded that in childhood she had a lack of parental care, namely, her mother sent Olivia to her grandmother. This experience can cause disorders and emotional stress at a young age. The study of psychologist Bifulco showed that loss of mother before the age of 17 is associated with the increase in depression in adulthood. Sometimes, it causes premarital pregnancy, marital divorce, and negative self-perception.

This study may be applied to Olivia’s case. However, there are some other factors that had a negative influence on her life. Olivia says that she was in trouble, and she always tried to get her mother’s attention. Due to the examination of this evidence, it may be concluded that she really experienced a lack of parental care. However, by focusing on the Bifulco study it is clear that some problems may cause a lack of parental care. Nevertheless, it is important to look deeper into the problem of the negative influence of external factors (Bifulco & Brown, Harris, n. d.).

Negative Influence of External Factors

Olivia states that problems began when she had two kids and was four months pregnant with another one. She was living in Marietta, Georgia and was working two jobs: at Kmart and Pep Boys. She had a friend, who used fake refunds and involved Olivia in a crime. Due to financial problems, Olivia followed a negative example of her friend. Hence, it resulted in her arrest and further imprisonment. There is no doubt that external influence has a great impact on the development of an individual. In this case, a person requires help from their parents or some outside assistance. However, this material is useful for teenagers and adults to avoid the same mistakes.

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The Problem of Poor Treatment of Pregnant Women in Prisons

Another issue is that women are poorly treated in jails. Olivia says that she was treated poorly in prison. Moreover, they made her undergo a C-section. Improvement of medical treatment and ensuring the protection of the rights of pregnant women is important for society’s prosperity. In general, neglect of imprisoned women is common it the United States. Jails and prisons usually fail to provide proper medical care to pregnant women. However, changing the personnel’s attitudes may change the state of the issue. It is necessary to provide extensive training to staff and officers, who fail to diagnose women, which causes lethal consequences. Such poor treatment may lead to women’s death and mental or physical disorders in newborns. Therefore, women deserve proper medical care and protection of their rights. The personnel should monitor their health in order to ensure that she will have a healthy child. Besides, postpartum care should also be proper in order to ensure that a woman fully recovered physically and emotionally after separation from the newborn (Roth, 2011).

All Storms End

After Olivia left prison she was really mad because she had to address the aftermaths of the imprisonment. However, she has overcome everything and now lives a happy life with her husband and children. In this case, it is sometimes that the government should be blamed for since it cannot provide proper assistance to former prisoners. In some cases, they require psychological assistance, especially when they have no relatives and close people, who can help them. There should be special programs that will help such people rehabilitate.


To sum up, “An Oral History of Olivia Hamilton” is an illustrative example of today’s society. A woman already had two children and got in jailed while pregnant. For some people, it may be considered just as a story, but for others, it is a reality of their lives. Sometimes they make bad decisions and have to bear the consequences. After reading this story, I realized that it is very important for people to get a good education in order to get a good job in the future. Furthermore, it is important for people to start having children only when a person can support their baby fully. Besides, the government should work on support programs for young mothers and improve the treatment of pregnant women in jails. However, it is very important that some people who made bad decisions and paid for them realize their mistakes and try to help other people. There is no doubt that people like Olivia Hamilton make a good impact by trying to assist people who are in trouble. Nevertheless, hopefully, the message of Olivia Hamilton will reach those, who are in need.

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