I was talking the other day about priorities. One of the priorities that most commonly conflicts with parenting is education—either starting or finishing it. If you are a teenager, you need to finish high school and possibly go to college. If you are in college, you probably don’t want to drop out. And if you’re pursuing an advanced degree, you might not want to put that off, either.
It’s completely natural to be scared and overwhelmed when you think of raising a child while pursuing your education. Parenting is hard work, and it can take everything you have, leaving little energy left over to concentrate on school.
But it’s important to remember that being a student and a parent is not impossible. Plenty of women have finished school while single parenting. Obviously the experience will be much easier if you have some sort of support network to help you along the way—someone to watch your child while you go to classes, someone to help out when you’re swamped with schoolwork. It also helps if your school offers assistance programs, such as flexible scheduling, for single parents.
Just keep in mind – it is possible. Just Google the phrase “single mother graduated” and you can find stories like this (from The Washington Post):
Candyce Paylor was an 18-year-old honors graduate of D.C.’s Cardozo Senior High School when she discovered she was pregnant. Despite her religious reservations, she considered abortion.
“But it was me who was responsible for my actions, not my unborn child,” Paylor, 23, says now. “I knew I had to make the best of things — figure out how to attend school and raise a child.”
Cobbling together scholarships, grants and financial aid, Paylor did just that. Next month, she’ll graduate from Howard University — as daughter, Nadia, 4, claps from the audience.”
The moral of the story – you can do it, if you are willing to make some sacrifices and if you have some help to lean on.
By itself, the need to finish your education should not be the deciding factor in influencing you to give up your baby. School will be over in a matter of years, but surrender is forever.