Facing an unexpected pregnancy is hard. Doing it when you are in college can feel even worse. If you are in this position, you may feel scared about your future. You may feel all alone. You may even be feeling hopeless. Know that you are not alone. You have options, support, and with those things, you can make a positive choice.
Being a pregnant college student is not an anomaly. An unexpected pregnancy can happen to anyone of reproductive age, but young women between the ages of 20 and 24 are the most likely to face an unplanned pregnancy. In fact, one in four young women gets pregnant before their 20th birthday. You are certainly not alone, but now you need to know about your options.
If you face this situation and wonder what your options are as a pregnant college student, continue reading. Here, we will highlight the three choices you have. Keep in mind that this is YOUR pregnancy, and only YOU will know what is best for you and your baby.
When you learned of your pregnancy, you may have instantly tried to imagine yourself raising a child. Parenthood is a natural choice for many women, but it is not the right path for everyone while pursuing an education.
Parenthood brings many people a lifetime of joy and love, but it is also a lot of hard work. A child needs round-the-clock care and constant attention. Sleepless nights can last for years, and tantrums extend well beyond the “terrible twos.” Parenting is certainly a lot of fun, at times, but it is also an exhausting job. There is less time to focus on studies, hang out with friends, or work a regular job.
Raising a child is also expensive. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610. This does not include your child’s tuition. Part of that hefty price tag comes from childcare. When you are not with your child – for example, going to class or work – you must consider what you will do for childcare. Will you hire a nanny? Will your child attend daycare? Will someone in your family help out? These are just a few of the choices to be made when you choose to parent a child.
Parenthood is the leading reason why young women drop out of school. An estimated 61 percent of women who have children in college do not complete their degrees. Their dropout rate is 65 percent higher than students who do not have children. Of course, completing a degree while parenting is not an impossible task. Over 4.8 million undergraduate college students are raising children, so it is possible with that extra determination and hard work.
If you are seriously considering raising your child yourself, you may want to chat with some young women who have walked in your shoes. There are plenty of online support groups and in-person community centers that can help you connect with your peers. Find someone to talk to who has confronted a similar situation and completed college while parenting a baby. They may help you gain some perspective and get an idea of what to expect with life as a college student and a mom.
Whether you feel you cannot carry on with this pregnancy for medical or emotional reasons, you may be considering termination. This option must typically happen in the first 16 weeks. The exact timeframe you have to make this choice depends on the state, as laws vary. It also depends on the type of procedure you would like to have performed (read more on that here).
While termination is a fairly common choice – although rates have dropped to historic lows in the past year – and it is the quickest option for an unexpected pregnancy, it is certainly not easy.
Just as with parenting, you may want to speak with another young woman who has gone through a similar experience. There are online support groups for women who have had abortions, and you may want to connect with them for their experience. You can also talk to a local women’s health clinic, or an adoption agency, for guidance.
For many college students who do not wish to have an abortion, but are not yet ready to parent, adoption is a positive choice. Each year, 14,000 young women in the United States consider placing their babies for adoption. They often do not know much about it, at first.
Placing your child for adoption is not an easy path, but it is one of the most loving and selfless decisions you can make. It can bring you much happiness down the road, and also give your child a wonderful life. Going through pregnancy, childbirth, and recovery may not sound ideal, especially as a young college student. It is, however, something that will be worthwhile in the long run, especially if you choose an open adoption plan.
Open adoption – which 95 percent of U.S. adoption agencies offer today – means that birth mothers can have ongoing communication with their child’s adoptive family. The frequency and form of contact (such as email, phone calls, letters, or in-person visits) vary among families, but is typically decided by the birth mother. This type of adoption plan can bring peace of mind to your decision since you will be able to see how your child is doing and growing over the years. In fact, two-thirds of birth mothers in open adoptions today feel certain they would make the same decision today.
Another benefit of adoption is that expectant/birth mothers get to choose the adoptive family for their child. At Adoptions With Love, you can browse profiles of the many hopeful families that are eager and ready to raise a child. Each family undergoes a long and thorough screening and home study process, to ensure that every child will be brought into a safe, stable, and loving home.
Some pregnant college students who go on to make an adoption plan for their child take a semester or two off to recover. Once the adoption is complete, and you are ready to continue your education, you can once again focus on pursuing your dreams, knowing your child is in good hands.
If you would like to learn more about placing your baby for adoption, reach out to Adoptions With Love any time. We are here to listen and help guide you through the adoption process, without judgment, criticism, or pressure. Our services to birth mothers are completely free of charge. Call us at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777 0072, or contact us online. You can also learn more with our free eBook – Pregnant in College? A Guide for Young Women – which is linked below.