Pregnancy and parenthood are the leading reasons why young women drop out of school each year. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one-third of young women who leave school do so in order to become a parent and take on their role as a full-time mother.
These young women come from all different backgrounds. Some were straight-A students before they became parents. Some had applied to college; some were enrolled in college. Some had other plans after high school. Most students who dropped out after becoming pregnant have something in common: They strongly believe that they could have graduated, had they only stayed in school.
Of the 1,700 teenagers who give birth each week, 60 percent do not finish high school. Of the thousands of young women who have children in college, 61 percent do not complete their degree.
You may be reading this because you too are facing an unplanned pregnancy. You may be wondering if you will be able to finish high school or college, if you will be able to graduate with your friends, or if you will ever have the chance to land your dream job.
It is important to know that being pregnant in college or high school does not mean you have to drop out of school. Pregnancy does not have to have a negative impact on your education. While being pregnant may pose some challenges as you work towards your degree, know that having an education under your belt will be worth it – for both you and your child – in the long run.
If you are looking to continue your education during your pregnancy and beyond, we truly commend you for this choice. To help guide you, the staff at Adoptions With Love has answered some common questions about pregnancy and education below.
Can I go to school while pregnant?
Yes – If you want to stay in school during your pregnancy, know that you have every right to do so. No school is allowed to exclude a student because of a pregnancy. You still have every right to remain in honors classes, internships, or participate in extracurricular activities as you wish.
Can I miss classes due to my pregnancy?
Yes – Under the law, your school must excuse any absences that are medically necessary, including any related to pregnancy or childbirth. Until your doctor tells you to get back to class, your school must permit your medical leave. This does not mean that you can continuously miss classes due to morning sickness or because you are getting bigger. However, most teachers will respect and help meet your needs when they can. This may mean giving you more restroom privileges, or even offering at-home tutoring. Talk to your teachers, school nurse, and other administrators about your options and needs as an expectant teen. Most likely, they will want to be supportive and help.
Can my school take away my scholarship or financial aid because I am pregnant?
No – No school has the right to take away or even reduce scholarships or grants based on pregnancy. If you have an athletic, academic, or need-based scholarship, you can keep it so long as you stay in school.
What are the challenges of being pregnant in school?
Whether you are in high school or college, being pregnant while pursuing an education is no easy task. As a pregnant student, you will have to learn to balance your workload with your hormones, your class attendance with your morning sickness, your grades with your relationships. This can all leave you feeling exhausted by the day’s end. By talking to your teachers and school staff about your pregnancy, you can work together on a schedule that will ease the day-to-day challenges for you.
How will my education impact my child? What impact will parenthood have on my education?
Education is so critical to a healthful and successful future in our society. If you choose to finish high school and obtain a college education, your economic and career prospects will be much greater. Female students who complete high school, on average, make $8,000 more a year than those who do not earn their GED. High school graduates are also less likely to need food stamps later in life.
Still, many young women who choose to parent their babies struggle to continue their education and pay the bills. This is because both school and parenting demand a lot of time. They both call for a lot of commitment and hard work. It can be tough to balance them both at once. As a young parent, you will have to make sacrifices for your child, which may mean putting your education or career goals on hold for some time.
What if I am not ready to become a parent? Will adoption allow me to finish my education?
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and still in school, know that you are not alone. The majority of young women who come to Adoptions With Love are in their early to mid-twenties. Every day, we see or hear from young women who were once in your situation, who have now gone on to get their high school or college degrees. We want you to know that you too can pursue your dreams.
Adoption is a positive, thoughtful option for expectant/birth mothers who want to finish school, for those that are not ready to parent a child and for those who want to send their children to a good school down the road. If you believe that you are not ready to parent your baby, know that adoption is always an option for you. Through adoption, you can achieve your dreams of going to college and establishing a career. You can also provide the life you dream of for your child. You can give your child a loving family, a quality education, and the future that he or she deserves.
To learn about making an adoption plan, please call Adoptions With love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072. We are always here to answer your call. For more information on the impact of pregnancy on your education, please download our free Guide to Teen Pregnancy below.