Having Kids in College

If you had kids in college, what was/is it like? Would you do it again? How was/is it for your academics? How did/do you juggle school and parenting?

I’m a teenberry and my chosen career requires lots of time in college. I don’t want to wait until my 30s to start having kids since I want at least 3. Is having kids in college worth it? Any insight is appreciated!

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I have a lot of friends who had kids in college. So its doable. Its success depends mostly on the relationship you have with your SO, your work ethic, your college and the support you have available.

Id like to also point out though that it is completely possible (and in no way unreasonable) to have 3 kids in your 30’s if you decide college and children isnt the path you want to take. Dont pressure yourself into having children before you feel ready.

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Thank you for posting this!! I’ve actually been thinking of the same thing. I’d like to pursue psychology, and most jobs for it require a masters degree, unfortunately! [name_f]My[/name_f] plan now is to go to college, then work abroad for a few years, and then go and get my masters degree so I won’t have to go into debt for it :rofl: This slightly worries me because I’d be 26 by then, and then I’d have to have a long term relationship, and be a few years into my job before having kids and I want five!
So once again, thank you for posting this and I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on the replies as well :two_hearts:

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As a 30yo PhD student considering having kids during my course, I have thoughts on this :sweat_smile:

an essay

In terms of logistics ~
Check how many hours a week you’re meant to spend on the course you’re planning to do - how many hours would you need someone else to be watching the baby/toddler? [name_m]Can[/name_m] your partner/family members accommodate that many hours?

If not, do the calculations about the cost of childcare (I don’t know how it is in other countries, but in the UK it’s eye watering!) and see if you think it’s realistic to cover that cost whilst studying (and presumably relying on one income). See if you could study part time after the kids arrive, at least for a while, if that helps.

This is pretty much advice that works for any situation in which you’re planning to have kids, but I’d say it’s especially important if you’re a student - make sure your significant other is truly supportive and willing to pull their weight. I have one friend who is a graduate student with a toddler, and her partner unfortunately expects her to do the bulk of the childcare and housework on top of her studies - which is just not possible, so she’s constantly going over deadlines and struggling with mum guilt.

However, I do know others with children who do manage to balance everything. If you have a supportive partner and other family members nearby who can provide childcare/help around the house, I would say that makes it a lot easier.

Another thing to be aware of is that you wouldn’t be able to participate in much else apart from your studies, like social activities and clubs, which other college students might be doing. It depends how much that bothers you.

I also strongly agree with @LibelluleClaire, there is no reason to worry about having kids post-30. I am living proof! I am one of three siblings all born after my mum was 31, and having recently brought up the possibility of kids at my own medical appointments I’ve had nothing but positive responses. Unless you’re particularly keen to be a parent ASAP or have medical conditions which might complicate it, waiting until your later 20s or 30s is no big deal.

In terms of whether it’s ‘worth’ it ~
If I could go back in time I’d definitely have established my own career more firmly in my mid 20s, before trying for kids (unlike you, I was not prepared and did not ask these big questions early on, because I didn’t realise I wanted kids until my mid-to-late 20s!).

As a grad student I do have financial worries around relying on just my husband’s income for a few years if we go ahead and have a baby. I wish I was in a job with mat leave rather than facing time off with no income, and I’m strongly considering cutting my course short and training in something like teaching which would support a family better than my negligible student income. So my advice to younger folks would generally be to sort the career stuff out first, while you’ve got time.

However, the main thing is that only you can decide when the time is right. If you are feeling the urge to be a parent and you’re in the middle of college, okay maybe there are better times on paper, but biology/the heart doesn’t work like that. This isn’t ‘the best time’ for me to want a baby in theory, but if it happens we will work things out.

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I identify with this comment so much
Next year I [name_u]Will[/name_u] start studying to become a vet and I want to enjoy college to travel and even study abroad
But I would only finnish it by 25 and i always thought of having a big family and starting young
But if I wait [name_m]Till[/name_m] Im in a secure job with a good income i would be in my 30’s by the time a start trying
But before I Worry about all of this i still News to find a partner as well :grimacing:
I always also though about adopting but I keep hearing it is really hard to do so
I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what future has in storage for me, but it feels nice to see other people thinking about the same as me ahah

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So, first and foremost, wait until you are in college before thinking about babies in college. I love that you are thinking ahead and setting steps to take, but definitely view them as written with pencil rather than written in stone.
College is vastly different experience for everyone, and it’s incredibly difficult to say what you can and cannot handle until you are in the environment. I personally dropped out of high school but THRIVED in college. Large course load, 6 classes a semester, some days has 12 hours of class with no breaks and a project/home work heavy course. There were nights I was up until 4am working on things and I loved it. Managed a 4.0GPA every semester. I made new friends, I found my people, I have hugely fond memories of college in general. For me, a baby would have changed that experience greatly. I wouldn’t have graduated as quickly as I did, there’s no way there would have been time for what I did and a baby.
On the flip side, my friend that had a great high school experience had a vastly different college experience. She couldn’t keep up, her anxiety went through the roof, she started missing assignments and classes because of it. She ended up having to spend an extra year doing courses because college ended up being something she was not at all prepared for once she got there.
I had classmates that were parents, often missing classes because kids get sick, babysitters get sick, it’s incredibly unforgiving to be a parent at times. I would check with your prospective school choices and see what kind of supports they have in place for pregnant or parent learners. Many colleges do not have very accepting retake policies for exams if you miss them, many instructors will not be sympathetic to your needs as a parent, some will, but not all.
I had a class mate that was pregnant and due within the beginning of our 4th semester, she was exhausted during 3rd semester and took 4th semester off, she also had two littles at home already. I’m not sure she ever went back to finish the program.

[name_f]My[/name_f] general take, is that yes, it absolutely can be done, would I recommend it? Probably not during your first 4 years. College is a hugely formative time for a lot of people, it’s different than most expect. It’s hard that as the child bearers we need to make these choice, I strongly suggest you enjoy your college experience child free, get your bachelors degree (or whatever your first step looks like) and then consider your life circumstances, financial (student loans and cost of living, child care is big bucks!) and emotional readiness, your relationship and support systems, then maybe baby during your masters or PHD.

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This is definitely something to consider as well. The college I went to was generally very family friendly however they warned us at the beginning of each semester that finals and major project dates are set in stone unless the death of you or family member, but that doesnt include labor or delivery so we were told to plan accordingly. I had a lot of friends submit tests from the hospital postpartum room or they planned carefully to have they’re baby during break

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I did not have a child whilst I was studying but the idea of it makes me panic :joy:

I am sure that people do it and do fine. One of my friends is a medical doctor (I think she’s the US equivalent of a Resident now) and she’s had two children in that time (one at 24 and one at 27). When she had the first baby it was ‘tactical’ as it lined up with the point in time when medical students in the UK can take time off without affecting their ability to get future placements. For the second one she’d had enough time to establish herself in her work-based studies that she could take time off again. These were big, big decisions and not something she would have been able to do if she didn’t have a husband whose job is extremely flexible.

I agree with people saying that while it’s great you’re thinking about this now - it’s so useful to think things through! - you’re best avoiding making really ‘firm’ plans or expectations because you really never know how you’ll feel or where you’ll be at once you get there.

When I was 16/17, I was sure and fully planned on marrying the boyfriend I was with at the time. We were going to go to university, then get engaged/married when we graduated (age 21) and have our first baby when we were 23. We wanted a big family and 23 seemed really quite old and grown up, we were sure we’d be ready and that we didn’t want to wait until we were older since we wanted 4-5 kids. Naturally, we broke up - just before going to university. We were going to different ones and we also had just grown apart. I cannot imagine now, at 28, having actually gone ahead with that plan. There is so much I wouldn’t have been able to do and my life would have been so different. And I promise you, you are still quite young even when you’re in your early 20s!

I met my now husband on my first day of university and we are now, a decade later, trying for a baby. So chances are (if nothing goes wrong) that I will have my first child before I’m 30, but since my mum was 37 when she had me, I don’t think you need to worry that much about it! Once you get closer to it you’ll realise it’s not as old as it seems to you now.

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Our timelines are so similar! :grin:

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I just want to echo the sentiments that a few posters have made about having future plans is good and useful, but allow room for change and growth. The difference between me at high school graduation and even just one semester of college (let alone the entire 4 years) was so intense and profound. It’s a time of self-discovery and figuring out who you are, what’s important to you, shedding past expectations, forging new bonds, and just general exploration of life. As someone who’s now closer to 30 than 20, I can promise you that although it feels like you’re supposed to have everything together by the time you’re in college, you are still so young and have so much ahead of you (heck, even I’m still so young and don’t have it all together!) I don’t think having kids in college is not doable and it can be the right decision for some people, but I’m just saying that for me and almost everyone I know, we thought we knew what that transition from adolescence to young adulthood would be like but getting out into the real world and navigating that transition can really take you down an entirely different path than what you thought it would be.

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[name_f]My[/name_f] mom had 3 kids and started at 32 with me, so having 3 kids past 30 is totally doable!! But if you want to opt for having kids in college it could definitely work if the stars align correctly (e.g. spouse’s income, housing situations and other things) but it could work!!

Currently pregnant with my 4th and my first wasn’t born until I was 30…. So it is doable to have 3+ in your 30’s.

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When I was in high school, I hoped to get married at 22 after I finish my bachelor’s degree and have my first kid at 23-24. But of course, life didn’t go according to my plan. Dealt with a bunch of shit in my 20s and only met my now husband after my 29th birthday. I’m 30 now, but the situation requires us still wait to even TTC. Now just hoping to have my first before 32. I still hope to go to graduate school one day too, but 1) also don’t want to go into debt. 2) wonder how to balance it with childcare. I wanted to finish a masters in my mid-20s, but again, shit happened and life didn’t go according to plan.

I’d like to echo everyone who said it’s doable, but it highly depends on many factors (how you divide time, your relationship, your support system, financial condition, etc). Also, while it’s good to plan ahead, allow room for changes. College years are indeed formative years and what you wanted back in high school vs college could be really different. Spend the first few years focusing on yourself and your studies instead, and if you still feel ready by then, maybe it’s time to revisit this plan. :slight_smile:

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Ofc not, that comment was me saying what I always though but I’m still really young and have a long way to go until I feel like I’m stable to get started with kids
Me myself won’t probably be able to do it any sonner than 25 at least and that’s not old AT ALL
But when I was really young I though of starting around 22 which is crazy to me now

Oooof I love this topic.
I was a teen mom. There were many many things involved in that situation, mainly being that I thought that the guy I had a relationship with when I was 15 was the looooove of my life (spoiler alert: he wasn’t). I had three kids by the time I was 19.
I want to preface this by saying that I adore my kids and wouldn’t change a single thing if that meant that I didn’t have them here with me. But I do wish I had been a bit more mature in my decision making. College has been rough (and a mean absolutely wild). I live in Spain so I guess things work differently here, there’s not much of a “university culture” here. Usually people just study there, kind of get involved, but not as much as I see elsewhere, so I didn’t feel like I missed much of uni life.
But balancing parenting, studying, housework and everything was not easy. I got lucky enough to have my education payed for by the government, so that’s a plus. But I did go through a pretty nasty breakup with the father of my kids (I’m thankful he’s not around anymore now though), and had to rely on my parents for a while, mainly to look after the kids while I worked hard to make money for my family.
Today I have a wonderful girlfriend who loves these kids as if she was their biological mom, and we have another little girl together. I finished college and I’m a month away from finishing my master’s degree in law.
It is absolutely doable, but brace yourself for the ride :joy:

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I think something to consider is your support system. Jumping into having kids when you don’t have a supportive, committed spouse (I say spouse because it’s less likely they’ll book out on you,) family that can help you out with childcare when the studying gets tough, or the finances to make it all work will be difficult, and compromise your completion of your degree. Doing it single would be so, so hard.

If it’s the right time in your life, and you’re settled and committed to growing a family at your age and stage, then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be an option. College can also be done online, at nights, and quickly as not to be the full-time thing in your life.

There’s no hard and quick answer on this one.

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[name_m]Just[/name_m] wanted to say that I love your family’s story. :rainbow_flag: :heart: And congratulations on your Master’s!

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Awww thank you so much. I’m so proud of being part of this lovely community :rainbow_flag:

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