Many of our patients are still in school. Junior high, high school, and college students all experience unplanned pregnancies. One concern for pregnant students is what to do regarding their education. Sometimes concern about school causes a young woman who is pregnant to drop out or to even consider abortion. Schooling may become more complicated; however, you do not need to drop out just because you are pregnant! If you want an education, you absolutely can do it even while pregnant. There are many different education options and resources to help you. Check out this story of a teen mom completing her education. Also here is an article with tips for moms going to college.
How to Handle School Concerns
Pregnant students have many different concerns about going back to school. “What will people think about me when they find out I am pregnant?” “What about missing school for appointments and for the actual birth and recovery time?” “After the delivery, who will watch my baby when I go to classes?” “Can I still play sports and participate in extra-curricular activities?”
The federal government has addressed some of these concerns in something called Title IX. Public schools, including high schools and colleges, by law must make provisions for you to go to school if you are pregnant. These required accommodations include: allowing you to make frequent bathroom visits, providing a bigger desk if needed, and permitting you to participate in extra-curricular activities including leadership roles. School officials may not discriminate against you for being pregnant. If you need to be absent because of pregnancy, the school must excuse your absences and allow you time to make up your work. You may take a leave of absence during recovery time after delivery of your baby and you must be allowed to return to school afterward at the same level you left. Talk to your school counselor if you’re pregnant and put a plan in place to complete your education. If you have any trouble with the school harassing you or preventing you from getting needed accommodations, check out this website that spells out your rights.
There will be a time when it becomes hard to hide your pregnancy. This can be a difficult and embarrassing time for pregnant students. While a few students may be rude and unkind, many teachers and students will come alongside you to encourage you and help you as you continue your education. Find the people who support you and let go of negative influences in your life. Don’t allow fear of what others think of you stop you from achieving a great education! Some schools have special parenting groups and day cares right on campus to help with emotional support, resources, and child care. Those schools are much more likely to have other women going through the same situation – you can make some new friends along the way.
Resources in Natrona County
Here are some resources in our community for pregnant students:
High School with day care: Roosevelt High School has a day care on campus for students with children.
Online public school for junior high and high school students: If you don’t think you can handle going back into the school building, you still have the option of continuing your education via the internet with Connections Academy. Check it out it’s free.
College: Casper College has a single parent program which is a great place to find other single moms and local resources to help you.
Here are a few links to some different colleges in other parts of the country with special programs for single parents:
Scholarships: There are many grants and scholarships for college for single parents throughout the country. Visit free scholarship websites for ideas. You may need to sign up for an account with many of the scholarship finders. Make a separate email account for this because you will likely be inundated with junk mail from them.
You Can Do It!
Yes, it may be a little harder and a little more complicated to finish your education while pregnant and parenting, but you can do it. Many women have in the past and many are doing so today. Make the choice to graduate from high school and even go on to get your college degree if you want. Studies prove that people with an education, including high school diploma or GED, college or career training find jobs and make more money than those who don’t finish school. The sense of accomplishment you will feel as you receive your diploma will be well worth the hardships. You will be an example to your little one and gain the skills and education you need to provide for your family. Don’t let being pregnant, or the fear of being pregnant while still in school, stop you from being the best person you can be: a parent AND a provider!