Should I Get My GED?

Updated on September 07, 2018
Z.N. asks from Troy, TX
21 answers

I am 16 and pregnant. The father wants shared custody but doesn't want to be with me. My parents are not financially stable so I have to get a job and support myself and the baby. I would be missing so much of my child's life if I stay in highschool but I risk judgement and give up my senior year and take a chance on failing my GED test. I am scared of both decisions. I considered home schooling but I don't have Wi-Fi that will allow me to do the classwork fast enough. Should I get my GED and move on with my life or should I stay in highschool and lose part of my child's life, I still have 2 years in highschool left.

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answers from Washington DC on

you're in a difficult spot but there are some backhanded pluses here.

you don't want to tether yourself to any man at 16. staying free of him while he remains in the baby's life is perfect. hopefully he and his family can help out while you pursue your education- including college so that you can support your baby unassisted at some point.

going to school while mothering isn't 'missing out on your child's life.' most babies have working mothers or mothers in school these days. my kids were in daycare from early morning until early evening and yeah, i hated it. but they're fine and it was just what i had to do.

your education is hugely important. doesn't much matter whether you get a GED or stay in school in the long run, but in the short run staying in school is almost certainly in your best interest.

as you point out, you're probably not ready for the GED yet. you still have two years of school and staying IN school is the best way to do it. if you 'give up' your senior year and fail your GED, however, it's not quite the finality you imply. you can always study and take the GED again.

or stay in school.

you can't homeschool yourself (or you can, but without a background in homeschooling and being pregnant it would be super difficult. and not legal.) if your parents aren't willing to homeschool you, that's not an option. if they are you can go to the library to use the computers there.

but i think you should stay in school. the notion that this will make you 'lose' part of your child's life is just drama. look at it this way- what you'll actually do is demonstrate for your child that difficulties and poor decisions aren't life-wreckers. you'll be a living example that perseverance and courage, even when things get tough, are traits you're passing along.

it won't be easy. but quitting school and pretending that parenting doesn't require anything but attendance aren't ultimately 'easy' either.


10 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Sweetie, you are going to have a difficult time getting a job that will support you and your baby without a high diploma or GED. So I think dropping out of school is a non starter. You MUST get your education.

You say you don't want to miss part of your child's life...okay that is a bit dramatic. If you work won't you lose part of your child's life?

Please please please consider adoption. It might be the best thing for you and the baby. I wish you good luck and hugs.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Getting your education - either way (high school or GED) is a BIG part of caring for yourself, your child and your family.
With a diploma you will be able to get better jobs to better support yourself and child.
If you can do some college after that - do it.
You have 50+ years to support yourself and family and work towards retirement.
How do you think you are going to get there without an education?

Lose part of your childs life?
You are young and no doubt you have a very idealized view of what a baby does for the first few years.
Sure there are special moments but at first all they do is cry, eat, poop and sleep and deprive you of a LOT of sleep.
Read up about colic and the witching hour.
Then comes teething - and ear infections.
Sure yeah all very fascinating for a new mom but really missing some of that is not the end of the world.

Then they are mobile - and get into everything.
And just when you have that down you get Terrible Twos and Terrible Threes.
Oh Joy.

You are about to become a mom.
You are going to be judged - we ALL are - no matter what we do no matter when or how we do it.
Get use to it.
Having a chip on your shoulder about it doesn't help or change anything.

Being a mom is the toughest job you'll ever love.
You'll laugh, you'll cry - you will scream into a pillow.
Your child will/should come first - before boyfriends before footballs games and prom and friends and hanging out and doing teen stuff.
You are having a baby and it's an awesome responsibility - and sorry to say your own childhood is effectively over.
This is the consequence of having sex before being prepared to deal with the possible outcome of pregnancy.

If you do not feel up to it, feel it will be a burden, feel you need to finish growing up - you can put your baby up for adoption - and some people who are ready to be parents will do a fine job of raising your child.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Do consider adoption seriously. It does not mean losing a relationship with your child; I have several friends who open-adopted children and their kids have had very good relationships with their birth mothers. The adoption will mean that your child can be raised by parents who are financially and emotionally ready to do so, something which you, the baby's father, and your parents are not in a position to do. In terms of what to do if you decide you want to raise the child, I just don't follow your logic that staying in school will mean you miss MORE of the child's life than if you drop out. If you drop out and work a job to support yourself and Baby, you will miss far more of the child's life than if you were in high school for the next two years, and then college. That's because any job you can get without a high school diploma will be a minimum wage job which pays so little that you will need to work over 50 hours a week to make ends meet. If you finish high school as well as you can and then at least get through technical college, you will be positioned for a better-paying and probably more rewarding job, which will allow you to live a better life with the child. I agree with the other posters that it will be best for you to find a supportive adult whom you can talk with about your situation and figure out your best options. Wishing you lots of luck with the process!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Education is so important and comes first. There are options out there - talk to your guidance counselor, doctor, clergy if you are a member of a church, or a place like Planned Parenthood, which can connect you with resources for healthcare for you and your baby and how to move forward. As a mother without income, you will be able to get financial assistance for healthcare, childcare, food, further education, etc. while you finish school and your school should be able to come up with a flexible schedule that will allow you to take only the essentials and shorten the number of hours you're physically in school. They should be willing to work with you towards the goal of completing your education so that you can support yourself and your baby in the future.

As for the father...shared custody is a nice idea but probably won't work out if he's also young like you. Plan to petition the court for primary custody, parenting time for him, and child support from him. When you apply for assistance from the state (don't be shy about it, it's something we all pay taxes for) they will automatically start proceedings with court to get child support. Depending on how much state assistance you get, any support he pays may go back to the state to reimburse them for the assistance you receive but as you get older and become financially self-sufficient and no longer need benefits, that support will go to you.

I know this is overwhelming but if you can live at home and find childcare while you are in school, you'll be fine in the long run. I had my first child when I was single and 22. I had already graduated college and having that education, along with the support of my family in terms of letting me live with them and helping with childcare while I worked, set us up for success. When he was a year old, I was able to afford part-time daycare and not rely as much on my mother. Three years after my son was born I was able to move into our own apartment. Five years after he was born, I bought a house, got married, and was on my way. It's been 20 years and I've had some ups and downs but we made it because I had an education that allowed me to develop a real career.

Lots of new moms go back to work full time weeks after their babies are born, leaving them for 8-10 hours a day or more. It's hard, but it's what we do to take care of our kids. A school day is much shorter than that.

Right now, there are resources out there that can help cover your basic needs. Stay in school, don't work if you don't have to (seriously, take the state assistance - this is what it's for, and get child support), and focus on the long term. You can do this!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Unfortunately you do not have the option or luxury of being a stay at home mom. You need to support yourself and this baby and the best way to do that is to get your HS diploma, learn a marketable skill and work.

I also think you should consider adoption. I give so much credit to moms that make the heart wrenching decision to put their baby’s needs in front of their own.

Raising a child is hard even when a mother has the financial means and emotional support of a loving father.

Best of luck to you and your baby.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

What is done, is done. You are 16 and pregnant. For you.. at least you are aware that the father has no intentions of being with you long term.

Have you considered adoption? I know it would have to be an extremely difficult decision but it could well be the best decision for all of you, especially your baby.

IF you were my daughter I would have you consider adoption.

I would also encourage you to stay is school. Knowledge is power and the more educated you are, the more marketable you are in the workforce. You have to think of this child first.

You would be away from your child while you are at work, you can be away from your child while you continue your education which will benefit you both more in the long run.

Do you have any family support? Although your parents are not financially stable, do they support you emotionally?

You seriously need to be in some sort of counseling so you have help to make the huge decisions you are faced with at this time. Most towns have social services and/or churches which can help you even if you can't pay financially.

Best wishes to you. I think you will be proud of yourself if you hold your head up high and go finish school. No matter who you are or what your status is, people will judge. It is a part of life. You CAN manage this.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Have you considered placing the baby for adoption? I cannot imagine that would be an easy thing to do, but if you talk to an adoption agency, they will give you the support you need to make the decision that is best for you.

My cousins adopted their son through Catholic Charities. It's a wonderful organization and would work with you and really help you even long after the baby is born.

Having a baby and raising a child is wonderful, but it is also one of the most challenging things you will ever do. Even under the best of circumstances (a loving, committed couple raising the child together), it is still challenging.

If you do ultimately decide to raise the child yourself, getting a GED is a good option. Why not discuss it with your guidance counselor? That way you will have more information and be better able to make the decision that's right for you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Stay in school. You need to think long term not short term. Many mothers work after having a baby, I did with both of my kids, you are not “missing” 2 years of babies life. You are investing in the babies future. With a HS degree you can get better jobs. I suggest you get HS and join the military, full pay, benefits for you and your child.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on


I can't imagine the thoughts you're having trying to decide what to do. I think you've received some good advice. Talking to your guidance counselor, etc. to help give you feedback. If you were not pregnant and graduated high school, what were your plans?

I agree you're facing huge changes. I would also encourage you to think about adoption. My best friend's brother adopted their son and it's been a wonderful experience. They chose an open adoption so his birth parents come and join them for birthdays and plays he participates in etc. So there are couples out there who would not be opposed to your being in your child's life.

You need to think about the long term. Yes you may miss out on some of the day to day, but completing your education will have long term effects on both you and your child. There are a lot of grants out there for single mothers to go to school. My good friend's daughter got pregnant her senior year and went on to get her degree at a local college. They had special arrangements for child care, reduced rate living quarters, etc. She had to keep a good GPA and work part-time for the college, but she completed her education and later married someone who adopted her daughter.

Things can work out well. I wish you the best and hope you will consider all options before making a decision.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

And what will you do after you get your GED to avoid "missing out" on part of the child's life? Will you be able to go to college or trade school? Get a job that pays more than entry level? Will you have to work 2, or even 3 jobs, just to make ends meat? How much of your child's life will you miss then? You need to be concerned with a lot more than the next two years!

It is good the father wants to be involved, many parents now share 50/50 custody because we have finally begun to recognize that fathers are just as important as mothers. With this type of custody arrangement you will still be able to have "free" time to finish school or work on your GED, but in order to know which you should do you need to figure out what the next step after high school will be for you. Best of luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Many moms have a baby and immediately have to go back to work and the baby goes to day care. You still have evenings and weekends and even though it doesn't seem like will have plenty of time with your baby and the break during the day might end up being helpful. I think you should stay in school and get your high school degree. After high school make a plan for a career for yourself. What do you think you would like to do? What is a good job for getting hired? What can give you health insurance and stability? This might be a long term plan and take years to get there but it is worth it. I have had quite a few friends who work full time with kids and slowly took classes through a university in the evenings (online classes and phone classes) to work towards a specific college degree that then helped them have a better job in life. One friend first did a college degree and then did a masters degree through evening classes. One woman I worked for went back to school once her kids were off to college and got a PhD! She was about age 55! Anyway, you are setting a really good example for your child by finishing high school. You will still see him/her at the end of each day. I wish you luck!! You can do it! It will be hard but just be persistent!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you need to consider adoption and you need to finish school.
There are lots of options out there. Talk with your guidance counselor.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Lots of good responses below, but I wanted to add one thing:

As JB mentioned, when you apply for state assistance for your child, a child support proceedings will automatically start. I don't know about TX specifically, but in CA, it means the more physical time the mom has with the child, the more child support the father has to pay. This, in many cases, will cause the father to request for more custodial time in family court, even if they don't care at all about the child -- they'll do this just so they can pay less in child support. Just wanted to give you a head's up so that you can mentally and emotionally prepare yourself for a possible custody battle if TX works similar to CA.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

YES..... !!!!! You need an education to get a good job so you can support yourself and your baby. Stay in school, when you graduate find a way to further your education. You will need a 2 year degree, possibly a 4 year degree to have a future.
Talk to your school counselor and ask who to contact to get help. You will be able to get assistance, food stamps, welfare, medical assistance and day care assistance. I know in Wisconsin if a minor son has a baby his parents are responsible to pay child support until his 18th birthday, then he has to pay child until the child is 18.
Work hard and get good grades and apply for scholarships grants and loans for college.
No matter how much time you are away from your baby in the early years the time you take now will pay off in the future.
Do not let yourself get trapped in the cycle of poverty, young motherhood and more poverty. You can break that cycle but only with hard work and an education.
I know some internet companies have a program for low income families. You have to show proof of income to qualify. Call your local cable/internet companies and ask about the program.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Please consider letting a couple who cannot have children adopt your baby. It would be a loving thing for you to do for the baby. No financial support from your parents or the baby's father, who I suppose is also a teenager will be so very hard on the child.

You may feel that you are being brave by keeping the baby, but it is even more brave to give him or her a better life. Continue to go to school, hold your head high and be honest and tell people not to have unprotected sex - that you made that mistake. And then do the right thing by this baby.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Please, please go talk to your High School Guidance Counselor. There are many options for you to continue your schooling. Do not make the decision to stop attending school until you talk to that person!

Part of being an adult and a good parent is to gather all the information you can about what options you have so that you can make the best informed choice for all involved.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

One way or another, you definitely need a high school education. Talk with a favorite teacher or school social worker or counselor about your options. If online K-12 is your best option maybe you could help pay for the wi-fi with a part time job.

After graduation, if you are at all handy, the trades are BEGGING for skilled workers and pay REALLY well! ~Electricians, plumbing, building, hvac, etc. The economy is booming and people and businesses are building but not enough skilled motivated workers. It's called the skills gap. They may pay for your training. Check out the Mikeroweworks Foundation. You could make a great living if you are willing to get your hands dirty. Eventually you could be training girls in your situation and be a manager or owner of your own business.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

The real question is, what is best for this baby's future? Staying in school and getting your High School diploma is definitely going to be a difficult task but not impossible. Some sacrifices would have to be made on your end if you want to keep the baby and since the father wants shared custody you will be able to take some time for yourself to be able to finish your education. Getting your GED is also a good thing. If you are able to get your GED online or even finish your education online that would give you more time with the baby. The main point that I am trying to get across is that now its not about you or the fathers decision, it is about what is best for the baby. In the end the decision is yours to make, no one can tell you how to live your life but remember that you are responsible not only for your life now but also this new addition.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Definitely get your diploma. You won't go anywhere without one. If you want to support your baby and give your child the best life you can, get your diploma. If you don't have Wi-Fi, you can go to a public library and get free Wi-Fi access. That's what the homeless people do around here when they need to email family and friends or try to apply for jobs. I think it will be easier for you to do your schooling online so you don't miss regular school for appointments. Schools penalize you and your grades if you have many absences, and having the stress of balancing appointments, morning sickness and school may be stressful. Then, you can get your GED and move on from there to a trade school or community college to improve your education and skills for a better job. I'm sure you can find a family member that can watch your child while you do so, or perhaps you can find some inexpensive daycare options, some colleges and employers offer childcare, for example. Best of luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Stay in school. Talk to your school guidance counselor to find the best ways to make that happen.

Go to your local WIC office and sign up for all the benefits that will help you ( Ask them about low-cost childcare options.

Talk to a women's shelter to see if you can get a referral to a low-cost or free lawyer. If your baby is going to be living with you, the father will need to pay you child support even if he has shared custody. Yes, you need to support yourself and your baby(sign up for public assistance while you are in school if needed), but the baby's father is ALSO responsible for helping to support the baby. Take the necessary legal steps to make sure that he does and get a solid joint custody plan in place.

2 moms found this helpful
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