Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy while still in school? Right now, it may feel as though the world is on your shoulders. You may have many questions like, “Am I ready to become a parent?” and “What should I do next?” Having a baby may be a long-term dream of yours, but it may not feel right, or feasible, to fulfill at this time in your life.
As you grapple with the news of your pregnancy, you may also be considering your options. What can you expect when becoming a mom as a young student? What is it like placing your baby for adoption? What will these choices mean for your future? Read on, as we explore seven considerations to make when pregnant and in school.
The first realistic consideration to make, when trying to decide between parenting and placing your child for adoption, is finances. This is no secret: Parenting is pricey. In fact, a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the average cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610. This does not include the child’s future college tuition fees.
If you are thinking about making an adoption plan, but you are unsure about the financial implications, you can rest assured that there is support for you. Adoptions With Love offers expectant/birth mothers the following services free of charge:
- Counseling services – during and for a year after pregnancy
- Medical care – All uninsured prenatal, hospital, and postpartum care is covered
- Financial assistance – utilities, phone, maternity clothes and more, as needed.
- Housing assistance – We can cover deposit and several months’ rent.
- Legal assistance
- Assistance designing a customized adoption plan that meets your needs
- Ongoing support for contact with adoptive family
2. Energy and Enthusiasm
One of the benefits of becoming a parent as a college student is the amount of energy you have. That youthful energy will come in handy, should you decide to parent your child at a young age. Younger parents can run around with a little one without getting as winded or achy as older parents. Teen and college student parents still have a youthful outlook on life, which can mean more active involvement for your child in sports and playtime. Of course, you will have to weigh this benefit with your current life and goals. Do you want to invest your time and energy into parenting a child right now? Or do you wish to invest your energy in pursuing other priorities, like a college degree and campus experience? This is a decision only you can make.
3. College is a Commitment, But So is Parenting
If you are thinking about parenting your baby and continuing your education, you will have to consider childcare. Not only is childcare expensive, but it can be hard to find a daycare or a babysitter that you trust with your child. You will need to consider the time spent away from your little one. You will need time to attend lectures (on campus or online), to study and complete assignments, and also to work a job, so that you can afford raising your child.
Once you finish school, you will likely start working full time to continue to support yourself and your child. The childcare concern does not stop at college. Parenting is a 24-hour job, and one that requires childcare for many years into the future. Whenever you are not with your child, who is? You will need to consider childcare until your child is at least in his or her teen years.
There are many young moms who say that becoming a parent turned their lives around. If you were headed down the “wrong” path, becoming a mom may be a game-changer. It may motivate you to mature more quickly and start taking responsibility for your life and your future. Perhaps you were not a serious student before. Having a child to raise may motivate you to pursue a better job. After all, a better job will give you the chance to provide a better life for the both of you.
At the same time, it is important to put your child’s interests above all else. Ask yourself if you can realistically provide for a child. Can you give your child the opportunities he or she deserves? Can you provide a safe place to live, a stable home environment, and meet his or her basic needs? If you answered no to any of these questions, you may consider placing your baby with a family who is ready – and wanting nothing more than – to become parents.
5. Parenting is a Life-Changing Choice
Seeing your child take her first steps is an incredible moment, but it does not end there. In fact, that is just the beginning. Becoming a parent is a life-changing decision. You have someone who is depending on you, day and night, for care and comfort. There are many moments of joy, of course, but it is also requires a lot of hard work.
In the infancy stage, babies require constant attention. You are never “off the clock.” When your child starts “sleeping through the night,” she will still have occasional weeks – or months – where overnight wakeups are the norm. When she is a teenager, there will be sleepovers, parties, and lots of shopping trips. As many seasoned parents would tell you, it is a life-long journey that is constantly evolving.
6. Adoption is a Positive Choice
Another choice that you may be considering is making an adoption plan. As you consider this choice, you should know that adoption is a brave, loving, selfless decision. It takes a very strong person to place her baby with an adoptive family. This is a choice that puts your child’s needs before your own. It gives your child a life beyond what you are able to provide at this time.
Adoptive families are ready and eager to raise a child. They have proven, through a thorough background screening and home study process, that they are physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially fit to raise a child. Expectant/birth mothers can rest assured that these hopeful adoptive families can offer safety, stability, and love to any child.
Your child will fare well, too. The majority of adopted children today are happy with the life they have. In fact, 90 percent of children over the age of five have positive feelings about their adoption. They are also more likely to be read to, sung to, and told stories to every day.
7. Your Future
Another important consideration to make when you are pregnant and in school is your future. You might be thinking about your baby’s life, but what about yours? You need to think about what is best for baby, and what is best for you, too.
Parenthood is the leading reason why young women drop out of school. Among those who parent a baby before age 18, only 40 percent finish high school later in life. Less than 2 percent finish college before 30. What about college students who get pregnant, you wonder? An estimated 61 percent of young women who have children in college do not complete their degree. Their dropout rate is 45 percent higher than students who do not have children.
If you are considering adoption, you may be thinking about life after pregnancy. You will need some time to recover from the pregnancy, and you will likely experience some feelings of loss and grief. There are, however, supportive groups to help you work through your emotions and continue to pursue your professional and personal dreams. Your adoption agency will also be here for you, should you choose adoption.
8. Your Support Team
That support network we mentioned is important, no matter what decision you make regarding your pregnancy. If you decide to parent, you will find that you need a lot of support. As the African proverb states, “it takes a village to raise a child.” It is important to find your tribe and connect with other moms your age. No one can understand what you are going through better than others who have walked – or are walking – in your shoes.
There are also support groups for teens and college students who place their baby for adoption. Of course, a trustworthy adoption agency can be a continuous source of comfort and support. Your counselor at Adoptions With Love will be there to listen to you and talk to you about your struggles long after the adoption is complete. At Adoptions With Love, our expectant/birth mothers are not clients – they are family. We are always there for our family.
If you would like to chat with our compassionate staff members, contact Adoptions With Love today. Our services are always free to expectant/birth mothers, and we never judge or pressure you as you consider your options. Call us any time of day, any day of the week at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.
Learn even more about facing a pregnancy during your college years by reading our free eBook: Pregnant in College? A Guide for Young Women.