Lately, in my personal life, I have been bombarded with more baby news and baby showers than a 21-year old who doesn’t like kids should ever have to sustain. As anyone could assume, it is a daunting situation to lug a five-pound infant along with your hefty chemistry book, but college women are doing it and doing it well.
Senior Ambrocia Crawford is due the last week of the semester and not a moment too soon. She was pregnant before the semester started.
“So, when I scheduled my classes, I took into account doctor visits and how I might be feeling. I contacted all of my professors before the semester began and informed them that I am pregnant and warned them that I was due the last week of the semester,” she said. “All of my professors said that we could work something out if there was a problem.”
Balancing pregnancy with academic life is admirable at the least.
“Of course there were times that I wished that I didn’t have to be in school because I was tired or feeling sick,” she said. “But, my grades are just as good as they always have been.”
I can’t imagine having to deal with the stresses of college while preparing to bring a life into this world. Rattles and bottles are as far from my mind as canes and orthopedic shoes.
Ten percent of all college-age women become pregnant each year but most turn to abortion or dropping out, according to Planned Parenthood’s research arm, the Alan Guttmacher Institute. One of every five abortions is performed on a college woman.
“Women who cannot find the practical or emotional support they need to be both parents and students must leave school,” wrote Wendi Story in her thesis for the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “They intend to return someday soon, but many never do.”
Between 12 percent and 23 percent of women in college ages 18 to 22 experience an unplanned pregnancy at least once, according to Story. Ten traditional-aged college women who experienced an unplanned pregnancy while enrolled as full-time students at a university in the mid-Atlantic region participated in Story’s study, which analyzed the effects of pregnancy on female college students.
Nine of the women had their pregnancies terminated and the remaining woman miscarried. Negative effects followed their decisions.
“The most prevalent of these effects are feelings of guilt and fear of being stigmatized for their experience,” wrote Story.
Does anyone really want to be a college mother? I personally live my life as if I were writing a book and Chapter 21 would not read well with happy hour and screaming babies. I’m sorry. I only want to be responsible for me and that’s just about as many beings as I am able to take care of.
Following chapters entail traveling, landing a career, advancing that career, meeting Prince Charming and sailing into the sunset in our yacht.
No way can I do that with a baby strapped onto my hip. Don’t get me wrong, I believe all babies are a blessing, but that is one blessing I think should be saved for last.
Dashira Harris can be reached at email@example.com