If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy you are likely worried and stressing about your future. What you had planned on was college, not a baby. You set a goal to graduate with your degree and you’re not sure you’ll be able to do that if you decide to parent. Other fears may include the thought of being judged by peers or professors or fearing you won’t be able to juggle pregnancy and motherhood with a college workload…
Let the volunteers at Birthright be the first to tell you that you can do this. We’re here to calm your fears and show you resources that will help get you through.
Did you know pregnant and parenting students are actually protected under Title IX of the Education Amendments. According to the National Women’s Law Center Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex- including pregnancy and parenting in all educational programs that get federal funding. Professors or school administrators cannot tell you that you have to drop out due to your pregnancy. In fact, professors are required to make certain exceptions for pregnant students, including excusing absences due to pregnancy or childbirth. When the student returns, she must be reinstated to the status held before leave was taken.
Most colleges have policies and procedures in place to accommodate pregnant students. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at West Chester University for example encourages professors to have a conversation with the pregnant student to plan a successful way for the student to complete the semester. This may include how the student will make up missed assignments or classes. Other possible accommodations according to the University website include extended time on assignments, a small break during class or opportunity to eat or drink in class and more. The student may also be able to acquire a temporary handicapped parking permit through the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. These accommodations can also apply to students who are experiencing medical issues from recent childbirth, as well as students who are breastfeeding or pumping.
For those students who are breastfeeding or pumping, West Chester and other semi-local universities including Kutztown and Temple provide several private lactation spaces across their campuses.
Remember, you are not the first to become pregnant while trying to finish school. Many women have been in your shoes at one time or another and have proven that it is possible. These women have grit and perseverance just like you. And there are even college grants and scholarships you may be eligible for to make your goal achievable if you’re worried about finances.
If you are pregnant and want someone to talk to about your college aspirations and help you get a game plan, then call us at 610-436-0773 or visit our website to schedule an appointment online.