Education And Motherhood: The Challenges Of A College Mother

Motherhood is arguably one of the hardest jobs that a woman will ever face. In spite of this, it is still a major priority for many women. However, when the responsibilities of being a mother are combined with the responsibilities of being a college student, life can get stressful. In most cases, college pregnancies are spontaneous and unplanned, leaving college mothers unprepared to deal with the commitment that comes with it. When this happens, they often choose to delay their educational pursuits or give up on them completely.

One of the major challenges that disrupts the education of college mothers is a lack of finances. In today’s economy, raising a child can be expensive, even with both parents generating income. One can only imagine the level of financial strain that it puts on college mothers who have to limit the number of hours they work to align with their hours at school and who may not have aid from the father of their child. Furthermore, many colleges do not have housing or any form of daycare to accommodate young mothers. As a result, they are forced to live off campus, which may be expensive, and depending on the distance from the college, the journey back and forth may be stressful.

Additional strain is added to college mothers who have no familial support. We learn much of what we know about parenting from our families, and their support can mean the difference between failure and success for a college mother. This deficit in familial support may be for a multitude of reasons. There are those who attend university far away from their familial ties, those whose family members simply do not have the means to care for a child, or those whose families are just not interested in helping them. Whatever the reason, college mothers who do not have family members on whom they can rely, so they have a harder time completing their studies while juggling motherhood. As such, many end up becoming overwhelmed by the responsibility and eventually delay or quit school.

On the other hand, some college mothers who do have the support of their families admit to feeling guilty for leaving their baby with their parents and for not being able to see them and interact with them on a daily basis. They also feel guilty if they are not able to provide for them financially and take care of all the necessities they may need. These thoughts may distract them from their education and prevent them from fully participating and functioning as they should, which leads to a sub-par performance in their college endeavors.

Moreover, because of its unconventional nature, college mothers experience a certain level of stigma. Whether due to stringent religious beliefs or moral and ethical norms, some people find college motherhood offensive. This often leads them to behave in a discriminatory and prejudiced way towards mothers in college. Being the receptors of such attitudes causes college mothers to feel isolated and victimized, resulting in their depression and withdrawal from social circles. As a result, they may end up deciding to remove themselves from such a hostile environment and forfeit their education.

Becoming pregnant in college, though challenging, does not necessarily have to be the end of a young woman’s educational journey. It is important for ladies in this situation to remind themselves daily of the reason they decided to attended college and what they hoped to achieve from it. Also, rather than viewing your child as a hindrance to your education, use your child as your motivation to do better and achieve more. Lastly, remember to celebrate your triumphs and all the positive aspects of your life. Focusing on the hardships and negatives will leave you depressed and unmotivated, but being optimistic will improve your confidence and your willingness to try.

Chevel Powell

Chevel Powell is an international student from Jamaica who currently studies at Dillard University. She intends to attend law school after completing her bachelors degree in Political Science. Her interests include; writing, reading, political analysis, volunteerism and taekwondo. She lives by the mantra "if it is to be, its up to me." She is commonly described as ambitious, assertive, goal oriented and altruistic.

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