Choosing to parent is a courageous but immensely fulfilling choice. If the path you have chosen involves raising your child after having an unplanned pregnancy, we want to offer some assistance so you know what to expect and to handle various situations.
If you feel parenting is right for you, your mind is probably racing with these kinds of questions: what will my family and friends think of me being pregnant and choosing to parent my baby? What will I do about school? How can I pay for a pregnancy and support a baby? These are valid questions that you can find answers for.
Take the time to learn what this means for you. In this article, we will go over three aspects of what choosing to parent your child.
What will family and friends think of my choice to parent?
Will my parents be critical? What if they kick me out?
Maybe you’re like Betty, whose parents didn’t believe a sexual relationship was proper outside of marriage, and you are afraid to disappoint your parents. Or maybe they simply believe a baby will ruin your life. But communication is necessary for every relationship. They ultimately want to know! Betty still regrets years later, never telling her parents she was pregnant.
What will my friends think? Will they stop being friends?
It’s hard to think clearly right now due to the pressure you may feel and the hormones changing in your body with pregnancy. It may be tempting to keep it to yourself instead of telling loved ones and friends. You need support now more than ever. It’s not fun to break the difficult news, but these guidelines might help.
Find a Good Time. Preferably tell them when they can give you their full attention. Avoid late evening when people are tired.
Prepare Yourself. They may respond with shock or even anger. They may be judgmental that you would consider parenting. On the other hand, someone you think will be upset may be your biggest supporter! Whatever their reaction, give them space. They love you and need time to process your news. There’s a good chance they will come around and support you in your decision even if their first reaction isn’t positive.
Consider Your Safety. If you are concerned about your safety, ask for someone you trust to join you or have the conversation in a public area like a restaurant.
Communicate Well. Share with them your reason for choosing to parent. Is it because you recognize your baby, who already has a beating heart, as a person and have begun to love her. Or perhaps it is because abortion goes against what you know is right, and you don’t feel adoption is a good path for you. Maybe it is because your boyfriend wants you to keep the baby. Maybe you have wanted to be a mom. Any of those are good reasons you should be confident of. So explain this to them, share your fears, thoughts, and feelings about it.
Stand Strong. They may want to try to dissuade you from your decision to parent. It’ll be easy for them to throw out their thoughts, but the decision and outcome lie on your shoulders – you are the one making this good choice.
How could I support a baby?
Supporting a baby isn’t always easy, especially if you find yourself with this responsibility alone and without the support of your baby’s father. But that’s okay! Choosing to parent your baby is a bold but good decision and you are capable of handling the difficulties of parenthood – especially with support. Let’s look at some places that will help you get started!
Your local pregnancy care center: They have resources and programs to help you. Read what happened to Janey when she got pregnant with triplets, but was homeless and living on the streets. You might not be homeless, but you might be going through other circumstances that seem overwhelming. Care center counselors can talk through the various aspects of what parenting would mean for you.
Friends and Family: would anyone you are acquainted with let you live with them for some time? This drastically cuts financial needs!
Your church: depending on what religious background you have, there are many churches that are ready to provide a strong support network. Even you don’t already have a religious affiliation, many are willing to help.
Government assistance: you may be able to qualify for Medicaid. By using the medical providers on the Medicaid network, all costs for your pregnancy, delivery, and any complications will be covered. Here you can see the income requirement per state.
Can school happen with a baby?
Totally! It will be harder, but it’s very possible! You’re not alone in navigating school as a mom. Many other mothers have done the same thing. Briana, a single mom who graduated from Harvard law school said to her daughter, “They said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU.”
Various schools offer a range of accommodations to pregnant and parenting women. Visit your school’s counselor to learn about how your school can meet your needs. If you haven’t decided what college to attend, look up schools in your area based on what they offer. Some schools have daycare; some provide pregnant women with on-campus housing.
Title IX 1 is there to protect your rights while working through school during a pregnancy.
Key aspects of the law:
- Title IX applies to any school that gets government funding
- It protects your access to everything other students have.
- You should not be told you must drop out of class or change classes.
- You are allowed to make up missed work due to anything related to your pregnancy or baby and in accordance with doctors orders.
- Your teacher or professor is not allowed to harass you at all for being pregnant. If this ever happens, seek help.
It’s important to have support to ease the load of being mom and student. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Would a relative, friend, or a church lady be willing to do childcare while you are in class?
Final thoughts on choosing to parent
Welcoming a child into the world brings unparalleled joy and fulfillment for you. Even though she is dependent on you, you will likely find yourself dependent on the love she portrays back to you. This time also brings various changes. Some will be big, others will be smaller; some exciting, and others will be scary. Many people wonder if choosing to parent will ruin their life. Parenting is not the end of your dreams. Instead, it allows the continuing of them with even more meaning than they had before! Parenting is a wonderful and courageous decision. It shows tremendous selflessness by investing life into your baby.
And remember, you don’t have to prepare for raising your child alone. Your local care center has caring people who are there to listen and help you through this process.
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Before making any decisions, get in touch with people who can help you make one you won't regret.
- https://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pregnantandparentingstudentrightsonepager_6.14.12.pdf https://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/2011_07_21_pregnant_and_parenting_students_rights.pdf