Reproductive Rights

Graduate Baby Blues: When Pregnancy and College Don’t Mix

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Originally posted at Filthy Freedom. Reposted with permission.
Author’s identity is anonymous by request.

It was the winter before I started graduate school and I was in the first term of my pregnancy. Between waiting to hear back from prospective campuses and working a full time job that paid below a living wage, I was spent. Many women face this decision with fear of what others might think. This piece is my story about my journey to choice.

I could not arrive at a reasonable plan to make it through my first year of graduate school as a single mother. The programs I had applied to were full time, elitist and predominantly white. How would my classmates treat a single pregnant woman? Higher education already posed a series of ubiquitous challenges. Adding a newborn to the scenario was going to be exponentially trying. During my only ultrasound, I sang a childhood melody to my baby. After many tears, embraces, conversations and prayers, I decided to bid my farewell.

My choice to forgo being a mother is bittersweet. I could have struggled through graduate school and the truth is that I did not want the stigma that is attached to being a single mother. Graduate school came and went but not without constant reminders of the economic viewpoints surrounding pleasure, pregnancy and parenting. I sat through countless conversations about how women and families who cannot afford children should not have them. Only the babies with two parent household incomes were worthy of being born and only women who could access contraceptives should engage in sexual behaviors that might lead to pregnancy. Where did I fit in?

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

Every fall I honor my baby by placing a single blossom in a flowing river to symbolize my love. When I close my eyes to pray, I thank the creator for allowing us to greet one another here on earth. When my soul settles, I allow myself to imagine what my life might have been like had I chose another path. Then I open my eyes to reveal the life ahead.

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