Looking for maternity sizes for your junior prom dress? Probably not what you expected.
Perhaps your positive pregnancy test took you from being a carefree, fun-loving teen to a stressed-out, scared young adult.
But if you are facing an unknown future, you don’t need to spiral into panic. Here are some encouraging things you should know:
You Can Still Finish High School
Legally schools have to let you continue attending even if you are pregnant.
According to Title IX, “schools must give all students who might be, are or have been pregnant (whether currently parenting or not) equal access to school programs and extracurricular activities, and schools must treat pregnant and parenting students in the same way that they treat other students who are similarly able or unable to participate in school activities.”
School Might Look a Little Different.
However, it may be difficult to attend in person if you are dealing with heavy morning sickness or need to attend a prenatal appointment. Schools need to allow you to take as much time for doctor appointments and birth as your doctor says is necessary. You will need to provide a doctor’s note to your school only if the school requires that of all students for all appointments.
It might be worth considering alternative schooling, like finishing online at home. This way, you can be more flexible with your schedule. You also may need to consider working during the day to provide for yourself and your child and taking classes at night.
Some high schools offer alternative programs for pregnant teens, so you may want to talk to your school’s guidance counselor to find out if your school has any programs for you. Often these include childcare for your baby.
It Will Be Tough, But It Is So Worth It!
Finishing high school may be more difficult as a parent, but it is still possible and worth the hard work. It is extremely important to get that diploma. You will have many more options for future jobs and financial security if you finish high school.
Statistics show that high school graduates make at least $200,000 more over their lifetime than dropouts. High school dropouts are also much more likely to fall into a life of crime since they often struggle financially. According to statistics, 75% of crimes in the United States are committed by high school dropouts.
You Can Find Housing if You Need It
If you have the option to continue living with your parents or grandparents, that would be worth considering. It will help you to have extra help with your baby should you choose to parent. The more support you have around you, the better your situation can be.
Unfortunately, many teens who become pregnant and choose to keep the pregnancy will find themselves in need of a home.
Sometimes parents do not understand and think they are offering “tough love” by sending their pregnant teen out into the world to fend for herself. Other times, teen girls already in the Foster Care system get pregnant and are kicked out of their foster homes.
Good People Want to Help You!
Whatever the reason, if you need to find a place to live as you continue your pregnancy, you can start by going to a Safe Place site in the greater St. Louis area. Another option is to contact the Sparrow’s Nest, a home for pregnant teens.
We also would love to talk with you at our pregnancy help clinic and can help you find resources that may be able to help.
You Have Control Over What Happens Next
You may not have had control over your positive pregnancy test, but you do get to choose what happens next. Parents, grandparents, and boyfriends may all give you their opinion, but only you get to decide how you want to proceed.
If you choose to place your baby up for adoption, you will get to help choose the adoptive parents – even though you are only a minor yourself. You will get to choose how you give birth and where. You will get to choose how many contacts you have with your baby. You will get to choose your support team, who is with you along the way.
If you choose to parent, you get to decide to invest in your future by continuing your education. You get to choose to ask for help from parents and friends who can positively impact your child. You get to choose to live wherever you feel is best. You get to choose to know and love your baby.
You can also still choose abortion even though it is illegal in Missouri. You will have to travel out of state and likely need a parent to sign off before you get the procedure.
Where Can You Find More Help?
Our clinic offers free ultrasounds and pregnancy testing. We can answer any questions you may have about pregnancy and birth and talk to you about your specific situation.
No matter what circumstances led to your pregnancy, you can find support, encouragement, and help from our caring staff. We are here to walk this journey with you— you do not have to do it alone!