Student Mother: Advantages, Struggles and Challenges

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Education is recognized as an instrument in every student development and female’s individual rights, the attribute of female student reproduction become a hindrance in achieving their full potential in scholastic behavior (Moghadam et al., 2015). It is drawn on social talks related with parenthood and education when taking care of their child and schooling experiences (Este, 2011). This became the prevalent social phenomenon regarding the issue of parenting student.

The reported and possible reasons of early pregnancy which leads to being a student parent are self-reported and unintended pregnancy, age of sexual debut, number of sexual partners, use of contraception at first and last sex, and non-volitional sex (Allen et al., 2018). The issue about sexual involvement at the University of Turkish conducted unprotected sexual intercourse and unplanned pregnancies survey. The result shows that the age of 18 students might experience sexual intercourse. 15.9% had sexual involvement. 36.4% have stated that they utilized contraceptive method in every sexual intercut. The using of condom strategy is 74.0%. 8.6% of student’s experience intentionally pregnancy and 73% of these are engaged in abortion (Erenel & Golbasi, 2011). Some wise, according to (Stoner et al., 2019) pregnancy of student is a cause and consequence of school dropout. School attendance and academic performance must be considering to prevent the current issue regarding early pregnancy of students. However, the consequence of this responsibility is the adjustment of time and fixing of trials. Specifically, in struggles on education (Bautista, et al., 2015).

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Student Mother

Education is essential for everyone. It has been recognized as an important element in our development. Caring for a child is considered a full-time job and may be very stressful on female college students if pregnancy id unplanned. Being a mother is a highly joyous experience that also comes with many responsibilities. Being a mother is very demanding role and being a student a very demanding role. Schooling is critical to a young woman’s life, because the amount of schooling a woman obtains would affect the future aspect of her life (Brown & Amankwaa, 2017; Hofferth et al., 2011). Hence, there were advantages and disadvantages of continuing schooling while at the same time parenting a child (Erwins, Tyler, Mellinger, 2010). Today, early pregnancy and early parenthood is common. In the Philippines, according to Trade Union Congress of the Philippines as of 2012, there are at least 13.9 million Filipino single parents. Due to this, most the time, the education of the mother has to suffer to give way to the coming of the baby down to the guidance of their child. Single parents have the same amount of responsibilities as a dual parent in their families. Single mothers juggle many responsibilities including financial provision, housekeeping, and parenting (Rani, 2012). According to Institute for Women’s Policy Research (2013), educational achievement for single parent mother’s benefits themselves, and their child/children.

Educational attainment of single mothers relates to many aspects of the life of the child (Attewel & Lavin, 2015). Single mothers who are student face pressure academically as well as from their parental responsibilities (Tehan, 2012). Wright (2010) stated that being a parent and a student is challenging as to having financial problems and scheduling their time. Combining motherhood and studying without compromising the activities of either one dilemma for student mothers, her behavior may contrast with her traditional motherhood role (Visick, 2011).

While discourse regarding the “Good mother” in any society is based on the traditional motherhood role (Goodwin & Huppatz, 2010), its definitions vary by society given the different experiences and challenges cause women to abandon one role for the sake of the other (Spring et al., 2012). Academic activities are intertwined with challenging competition. Therefore, motherhood responsibilities impose a large burden on student’s shoulder. The academic community focuses mainly on success, development, and never-ending competition without providing any support. Although a young single mother’s path from poverty to empowerment via education may be filled with hope, she must address critical barriers to that education due to her low-income status (Oldfield, 2011). Despite the many negative outcomes associated with single parenthood, over the years the number of single mother households in American society continues to grow. The dual role of student and mother places a significant barrier in path of single parents as they are faced with challenge of financial exigencies and multiple time commitments while attempting to persist in postsecondary education. This population is dependent upon available and affordable childcare, dependable transportation, access to health care, available advising and academic transition systems, and a multi-layered system of financial aid and support (Branscomb, 2016; Christe, 2012; Darby-Watson, 2011).

Getting support was another factor influencing the simultaneous management of the roles of mother and student. Obviously, finding compatibility between the identities of mother and student can be challenging. Familial support can empower student mothers and reduce the impact of the student role their maternal and family life, especially on the children (Wainwright & Marandet, 2010). Previous studies have also indicated that family and friends are the most common sources of support for student mothers with family responsibilities of support for student mothers with family responsibilities (Xuereb, 2014). According to Lynch (2012) student mothers were involved in a complex identity conflict and constantly managed their behaviours to comply with the images of a good mother and good student; this situation could lead to severe stress (Books, 2013; Lynch, (2010). Zhang (2011) believed that being a good mother created pressure for mothers.


According to (Yang, 2010) student mother are incite in finishing their study, having a perseverance in every challenges that they conquer for their child, and parents who keep on supporting them. They might experience difficulties but indeed, their child is their strength. Achieving the success is the main goal of student mother in behalf of the challenges and negativity of people judgement (Lyonette et al., 2015).

Beyond the hardships played by the student mother, they are motivated to give the family income by supplying their children’s needs and wants (Majid, 2019). They still continued education despite of the discrimination of the society. (Corfe, Kubeka & Van der Riet, 2019).

Struggles and Challenges

Base on the study of Yakaboski (2010) student mother is an underserved group of students who face systematic challenges and hostile environment. Each woman has a distinctive personal history, student, a mom, a wife, and many other hidden roles in their daily lives (Zhang,2011). DuBransky & Tanisha (2014) claims that there is increasing number of students seeking graduate degrees as they operate and raise young children.

Fundamental common challenge among experiences of student mother is a need to manage and maintaining time management in their studies and parenting roles, which result increase stress and pressure for their obligation as a student and at the same time parent (Taukeni, 2014). However, they also feel positive emotions despite of the stress and pressure they may encounter. But, guilt was strong and continuing emotion (Smith, 2019).

Student mother has a trouble in supervising time in taking care on their baby. It resulted missing attention in fulfilling their duty as a parent or vice versa (Bayubay, Manalang & Lionsong, 2015). They had a busy lives with plenty of responsibility for their scholastic obligation and child necessities. However, Education is indicating for student mother as a partially self-fulfillment, it gives unexpected positive side effect of the path to a better job, enough income and benefits for themselves and their child. (Muncie,2013). Nevertheless, if the responsibility of the mother combined with the duty of a student can result a stressful situation (Pement, 2013).

Parent student carry their studies with important life experiences and skill set, unique needs and preferences despite on their dual and overlapping positions (Matta, 2013). The sacrifices they do was never being easy. Balancing academic and familial responsibilities are the big challenges facing by the student mother. If this social responsibility and academic life demand combined it may cause conflict of roles. (Adolfo, 2013) (Holm & Prosek et al., 2015). An interview conducted to ten (10) single mothers resulted to a data that: mothers are motivated by their children, mothers are managers, mothers have to wait, mothers are willing to take university as individuals, and mothers want the universities to look at their children (Lindsay & Gillum, 2018)

In an attempt to combine education, care of children and other social responsibilities, the student mothers at the center may experience a lot of struggle due to interaction and intra-role conflict (Dankyi, J., Dankyi, L., & Minadzi, V., 2019). Graduate student mothers are at high risk of attrition than almost any American college community, owing to the structural design of high education and cultural motherhood stressed that seem to contradict each other (Lester, 2013).

According to Porter (2018) the conversation about gendered organizations to suggest that working mothers are already engaging in the production of hybrid subjectivities in the workplace that have the potential to remake the ideal worker. It was pointed out by Kent (2018) that advocacy issues for policy changes and guidelines for mentoring programs are discussed. And according to Spencer (2018) that within the doctoral student population, there is very little understanding of the experiences of mothers in Ph.D. programs.

Coping Mechanism

According to Offei-Ansah (2012). In the stage of adolescence, student mother play more family role than non-mature and single students. Coping strategies consolidated by the students to manage these family’s role and academic work. Creation of new social limit; delegation of roles; acting in context; prioritizing activities; postponing responsibilities; pre-planning activities; dovetailing family and academic work. The learning support assistants (LSAs) help not just the pupils with special education needs. Also, the teachers and with the student mother is being positively engaged to school (Haycock & Smith, 2011).

Higher vocational education should also be given to struggling student mothers. According to Smith (2019) that even if you are a student mother you should also experience higher vocational education, emotional stability and time management for you to enhance your skills. Student mother should also manage their roles for being a mother and also a student. They should be able to manage their time in studying and also parenting their children. And also they need to experience a Higher Education or HE (Trepal, Stinchfield & Haiyasoso, 2014).

Pement, N. J. M. (2013) pointed out that student mothers need to have an experience of doctoral who pursues doctorates in higher education. On the other hand, some college mothers who do have the support of their families admit that they are feeling guilty for leaving their children with their parents and for not being to be able to see them and interact with them on a daily basis. They also felt guilty if they are not able to provide for them financially and take care of all the necessities that they may need. Also student mothers pursue doctoral in order for the other student mother to be understood not just by themselves but also by the society (Swarts, 2016).


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