The best time to get involved in planned parenthood is the time of your life when you least expect or want to be a parent. Why? Because by failing to plan not to have children, you open yourself up to the possibility, whether you’re ready or not.
Of course, there are many women who successfully balance school and kids, and even a full-time job. But when it comes to college, the less obligations on your time and money, the greater your likelihood of success, and the lower your stress levels.
So here’s why birth control is a college woman’s best friend, why abstinence doesn’t count, why withdrawal is ridiculous, and why condoms aren’t enough.
Abstinence Doesn’t Work
Whether for religious or other moral reasons, many women choose abstinence as their birth control method. However, with hormones running high and limitless opportunities for intimate encounters on campus, women should do more than abstain to protect themselves.
Sad to say, the high rates of rape and sexual harassment cases on campus also increase the possibility of not just unwanted and unplanned for partners, but their children as well.
Relying on Your Partner is Dangerous
Many sexually active females take another route: relying on birth control methods which require male compliance, like withdrawal or condoms.
The failure rate for couples using the withdrawal method is a whopping 27 percent each year.
A much better option, condoms are an integral part of sexual health, especially when it comes to treating the threat of STIs. However, this isn’t a guaranteed method of birth control either.
Why? As women increasingly delay motherhood or decide they don’t want children at all, some men resort to poking holes in condoms in a deliberate attempt to impregnate their partners. Some men are also stealthing ie removing the condom during intercourse without their partner’s consent.
You may or may not find yourself with such a partner. But are you willing to roll the dice?
The Cost Pays Off
Despite all the benefits of taking birth control into our own hands, female-led methods can be more expensive. With this in mind, one friend in college cited the cost of contraceptives as justification for using the withdrawal method, which she admitted didn’t always quite go as planned.
“Do you know how much the pill costs every month?” she asked me.
“Have you seen the price of diapers lately?” I returned.
Birth control does add an additional expense to the college woman’s budget, but it’s a much easier thing to budget for than the cost of raising a child, or having an abortion. Other birth control methods include patches, injections, and the IUD.
As the old adage goes:
Prevention is better than cure.
Women are Better Off Waiting to have Kids
While there are some anecdotal cases to the contrary, most women are better off waiting until later in life to have kids.
This doesn’t mean waiting until you’re brushing 40 to start trying for your first child. However, it does mean waiting until you have at least finished college, landed a good job, and stabilized your finances.
Studies show that women who wait until later in life to start a family, earn significantly more money than women of the same age, and with the same level of education, but who had a child (or children) earlier in life.
According to Business Insider:
For women between ages 40-45 with professional degrees and full-time jobs, those who gave birth to their first child at age 35 made more than $50,000 more per year than women who had their first child at 20, on average. Even waiting to start a family just five more years, at 35 instead of 30, made a difference of $16,000 per year, on average.
In addition to this, when it comes to balancing a career and children, in many countries, women find themselves having to choose between one or the other. Or at the very least, they may have to put a strong pursuit of their careers on hold for years at a time to enjoy a more hands-on approach to raising their children.
For these mothers, waiting until they’ve already built up enough credibility, experience, and qualifications in their field will serve them well. These mothers usually have more clout at work, which allows them to schedule time off and make use of their vacation time, without it having a serious and negative impact on their career.
Of course, starting a family – or not – is a personal choice that each individual and couple must make for themselves. However, make an actual decision about whether or not you’re ready to be a parent. Rolling the dice and crossing your fingers could have you buying diapers much sooner than you originally planned.
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.