While many sexually active students use contraception, many do not. It is not surprising that a lot of college students report either experiencing or being involved in unplanned pregnancy.
“I did not become pregnant as a result of casual sexual encounters. I became pregnant because I was in a relationship,” Texas College Freshman Chasity Jordan said.
Whenever women are feeling ashamed and alone, or their partners no longer want to be with them, there are places they can go for help.
“When I became pregnant, I was scared to tell anyone besides my closest friend,” TJC sophomore Jazzmen Smith said. “You just feel guilty, like you have shamed your whole family.”
Shame is one of the reasons many women facing unplanned pregnancies shy away from help.
“The guilt makes it difficult for them to associate with peers and family, because frequently, they fear they will be judged negatively by their family,” Suzanne Rice, counselor at West Rusk High School, said.
Communicating the fact that these women are pregnant is sometimes the hardest part. A lot of these students feel that people will look at them differently. Being pregnant and unmarried has an affect on their whole life.
“Telling your partner is the hardest part. You never know what they might say or do,” Texas College freshman Tamesha Wallace said. “If I could help anyone, I would tell you not to [have sex], but since women are having sex, use protection. I love my son, but if I had a second chance to do things differently I would.”
For students who are unsure about their unplanned pregnancies and are unaware of their options, organizations like Father Heart Maternity Home seek to provide answers.
Located among 40 acres of East Texas woodland, Father Heart provides on-site schooling, BULS-1 Program (Biblical Understanding and Life Skills introduction), and childbirth education. For the baby, they offer newborn parenting classes and health care for infants up to 12 months old.
Once a student has a baby, life is totally different. There are things that a student must cut out. The extra activities such as hanging out with friends, going out to the movies or just having a quiet day alone are all out of the question.
“Life gets extremely hard after having a baby,” TJC student Frandreka Walker said. “Your freedom is out the window. It takes you from irresponsibility to responsibility in a heart beat.”
Student parents have to balance their school work with having a child, but can find support from family and friends.
“Maintaining in school is hard,” student Terri Martin said. “You have to be focused and motivated to finish school because of sleepless nights. And playing catch up with your homework is almost impossible.”
“Families and friends of students, who experience an unplanned pregnancy can assist by expressing emotional support and being careful about the things they say,” Rice said.
Despite being conceived within committed relationships these students saw their pregnancy as a growing process.
Among the many other facilities willing provide help and answers, Trinity Mother Frances Family Care Center offers services that include medical care, health education and counseling.