Positive. Emily looked in disbelief. She teared up and whispered the question “How can I be a student and have a baby?”
Emily was a first semester freshman at Penn State, the first from her family to attend college. She was on a partial scholarship, but was also working part time to cover the costs of her first year of collage. As she wrestled with the results of the pregnancy test she felt like it was all just a bad dream. What would she do? What would her family think? How could she continue her education and have a baby?
This is just a peek into what happens in the PRC offices as we help women work through the implications of an unexpected pregnancy. State College is full of women just like Emily who are full time students that feel backed into a corner because they became pregnant. Often women don’t know, or aren’t able to think through all their options. They think there is no way they can be a student and have a baby.
Yet, many choose to do just that. These brave women make their choice to be both a student and a parent. These women weighed their options. They decided that parenting was the right decision for them, even if others couldn’t understand. Sure, it’s hard. But it’s not impossible.
Perhaps you’re in a similar position as Emily, or you have a friend facing this tough decision. We want to let you know that PRC is here to help if you’re worried about how to be a student and have a baby.
First, we will listen to you. We’re here to help you work through all your emotions as you face the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy. We have information and materials to help answer the health and relationship questions you may have. We will also help you work though possible next steps.
We will also be there to support you. Part of this support is providing classes and baby items if you choose to have your baby. We also offer parenting groups where you can meet other new moms who are going through the same thing you are. We work with other agencies in town to connect you with resources we can’t provide.
One of the biggest challenges can be working with your school.* You may no longer fit the school’s typical student mold. You have special needs and we want to help you understand your rights as a student. As a pregnant or parenting student you fall under Title IX. You have the right to stay in school and to meet your educational and career goals. Click here to learn more about Title IX applies to your pregnancy.
Another consideration is housing. Where to live while you’re pregnant is a big decision and we’ll be here to help you weigh your options. Is it best to live on or off campus? That’s a tough choice, with many things to consider. Your health should be a huge factor in making that decision. What are the sanitary conditions like in on-campus housing? Will you be able to get enough rest? Do you have quick access to a bathroom? We’ll help you work though all those and other questions as you decide what is best for you.
We want what’s best for you and we’re here to help no matter what choices you make. Every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy has difficult choices to make. We think it is important to pause and to think through all the options before making a decision, especially one this big. Our promise to you is that we will be a safe place to ask the hard questions. We’ll listen, provide information, and support. We’ll be there for you, because you matter.
So if you’re a college or high school student wondering how in the world you can be a student and a parent, give us a call. At your appointment we’ll have you take a pregnancy test here in the office to confirm that you are pregnant. If it comes back positive our staff will help you work through finding the right options for you.
* At Penn State there is a department that works specifically with students in special situations to help them arrange their schedule, housing, etc. when life circumstances make things a little more complicated. It’s called the Office of Student & Family Services and you can contact them at (814)863-2020.
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