Finishing School as a Mom

Finishing school as a mom is tough.  But, One of the most important things a teen mom can do is finish school, but most teen moms drop out of high school and never complete their education. Though teen moms face many challenges to finishing school, they do have options.

Nearly 1 million teens have babies every year, and of these almost 7 out of 10 will drop out of school before completing high school. Less than 2 percent of teen moms go on to get a college degree. 80% of women who have babies when they are teens spend at least part of their life dependent on welfare, and they have serious disadvantages in achieving financial success and independence in life, largely due to their lack of education. Their children are also less likely to succeed in school and financially. Finishing school as a mom, where possible, attending trade school or college will increase the opportunities for teen moms and their children.

Despite the advantages of finishing school, teen moms face serious obstacles. Several factors make it more difficult for teen moms to finish school:

  • Feeling embarrassed or awkward at school, especially if students or adults at school make the teen feel out of place.
  • Health concerns for themselves or their children. New moms may suffer from a difficult recovery after pregnancy or have postpartum depression, and new babies may have health problems that make it hard for a teen mom to focus on school.
  • Finding daycare or childcare. A teen mom needs someone to care for her child during school and when she needs to work on homework, but not all teens have someone who can watch their children.
  • Safety fears. The crowds, fighting, and other problems at some schools may make it more intimidating for a pregnant teen or teen mom to go back to school.
  • Lack of support. Teens need support to finish school as a mom, from the school system, family, peers, and/or teachers. Without some kind of adult support it is very difficult for a teen mom to succeed at school.
  • The need to work. Some teen moms need to work to support themselves and their babies, which may interfere with school work.
  • Not knowing her options. Though most states and school districts have programs to help teen moms, the teen may not be aware of these opportunities.
  • Being behind in school. Teen moms are often already behind in school after pregnancy and childbirth, and they may feel overwhelmed in trying to finish.

It's important for teen moms to realize that finishing school is the best thing for themselves and their children. Finishing school builds self confidence and self respect and opens up opportunities later in life. Though finishing school as a mom may seem overwhelming, teen moms do have some options available to them. Not every option is offered in every school district, but if a teen mom can find a knowledgeable adult like a teacher or school counselor to help her, she can learn which options are available and best meet her needs:

  • Special schools for pregnant teens and parent teens
  • Schools with day care centers
  • Regular schools with outside daycare
  • Homeschool
  • GED
  • Night school
  • Community college
  • Online education

School programs for teen parents make a huge difference for teens finishing school as a mom. They provide teen pregnancy support and guidance for teens that are easily accessible.

Some other things that can help a teen finish school as a mom include:

  • Realistic expectations of motherhood, including both its challenges and its rewards.
  • Classes that teach teens about handling the responsibilities of motherhood and adulthood, including managing money, finding a job, and child rearing.
  • Good day care or childcare, either at school, with family members, through a private day care, or through a church or community group such as the YMCA.
  • A supportive adult to help guide the teen through the challenges of finishing school as a mom and keep her focused on her goals.
  • Long term goals to help the teen get through the challenges and remember why she is making the effort.
  • A breast pump if the teen mom is nursing so she can pump her milk for her baby to use while she is at school. Teens can purchase a breast pump, or look for programs through hospitals or community groups that rent or lend sanitary breast pumps. Borrowing a pump from another person can put the baby's health at risk, and regular breast pumps should not be shared.
  • Support groups for pregnant teens. Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is an example of a faith-based support group.


Megan Tady, WeNews, "NYC Mom Laments 'P-School' Closure" [online]

Alyse Knorr, Greensboro News and Record, "Staying in school not likely for teen moms" [online]

WomensHealthChannel, "Teen Pregancy" [online]

Georgann Yara, The Republic, "TUHSD program helps teen moms finish school" [online]

YMCA of Snohomish County, "YMCA helps this teen mom finish school" [online]

Mothers of Preschoolers, "Teen MOPS" [online]

Related Article: Surviving an Unplanned Pregnancy >>