When you type “pregnant college students” into the search engine it generates statistics regarding unplanned teen pregnancies, high school dropout rates and pregnancy prevention propaganda.
Why doesn’t society like to discuss pregnant women dedicated to obtaining bachelor degrees from four-year universities in a positive light?
Pregnant women aren’t only concerned about their due dates– they are also planning their graduation dates.
Over 2 million college-aged women (ages 18-24) become pregnant each year, yet the majority of statistics involving this age group aim to reveal how many of them are single mothers from minority groups living in poverty. These statistics paint a sad picture of pregnant women being weak, and unable to pursue a college degree. The research discourages women from attempting degree attainment before they even enroll in classes.
61 percent of women who have children after enrolling in community college fail to finish their degree, and unplanned births account for nearly 1 in 10 dropouts among female students at community colleges. Okay ladies, according to the statistics you are going to drop out, so don’t even try. Society expects you to stay home with your children anyway, right?
There are truths behind these statistics, and they can be helpful when discussing the importance of promoting education among young mothers, but they are also extremely discouraging to mothers who work diligently to make it through college. Especially when these are the only statistics they are bombarded with from researchers.
If you can find research regarding pregnant women or mothers in college, the research seems to revolve around community colleges or two-year degrees. Not that community college isn’t important, but mothers pursuing bachelor degrees at four-year universities actually exist, and believe it or not, they are successful at their endeavors.
Why don’t we hear more about mothers who beat the statistics, or celebrate the pregnant women who overcome societal norms?
Researchers should focus on the positive aspects of mothers seeking bachelor degrees, and investigate the success of those who make it to their graduation day, not only their due dates.
Rather than being told they are most likely going to fail at obtaining a degree, search engines should be bombarding hopeful women with success stories and positive research.
We get it — a lot of pregnant women drop out of college, and many of them live in poverty or belong to minority groups. However, these statistics do not define them. It’s time to move on from negative research and begin reporting the success of these women.
Pregnant women, single mothers and even married mothers trekking across college campuses are sharing a common goal — graduating.
They are desperately sleep deprived, and they have more responsibilities than the average student, but they have a tremendous amount of willpower that pushes them to see their graduation day. Where are these women in the media? Their stories should be heard, and their work ethic should be researched.
These women wake up every morning to get their children bathed, clothed and ready for school before they even fully dress themselves. They clean, cook and keep their family in line even though they know they have to stay up late to finish homework or study for exams. Their homework time is often interrupted by crying babies or terrified toddlers who awoke from a nightmare, and needs their mommy to check every corner of the room for monsters.
While rocking a newborn baby or battling the aches and pains from pregnancy, these women persevere and finish their degrees. They sit down with their older children to help them with their school projects or homework before they even begin their own.
These women are heroes in their children’s’ eyes, and role models to pregnant moms who are discouraged by the statistics that greet them every day.
They are more than a statistic; they are role models.
Students for Life of America. Pregnant on Campus Initiative: Research (2014). Retrieved from http://pregnantoncampus.studentsforlife.org/research/