If you’re expecting a baby, you may be trying to decide what’s best for you and whether or not you’re ready to have a baby. This is a huge decision to make, and one you shouldn’t do on your own. It’s best to seek professional advice, or talk it over with some trusted friends or family members.
It’s important to know that having a baby, even if you’re young, doesn’t mean that life as you know it is over. Many young parents still manage to complete studies, find work, have fun and live fulfilling lives. While life with a baby is very different, you can still achieve your goals and be successful.
Here are a few examples of how you can live life to the full when you have a baby.
Studying as a young parent
Whether you’re in high school, university or TAFE, finding out you’re pregnant midway through your studies can change things. You may need to take some time off to have your baby and get through the first few months as a young mother. But the great news is, you can always return to studies – even with a baby.
Many higher education providers give you the option to take on lighter study loads, so you can complete a few units at a time while also having room in your life to raise your child. Some even provide childcare options for students. It’s not uncommon for people to return to study part-time or full-time later in life to get the qualifications and experience they want, so studying as a young parent isn’t as crazy as it may seem.
If you need support in finding a study option that suits you, check out the Digital Work and Study Service headspace offers.
Working as a young parent
Young parents may feel concerned about being able to work and make money while taking care of a baby. Though working and parenting can be a challenge, it’s definitely not impossible!
Working is a great way to stay stimulated, have a purpose, and earn an income. Plus working when you have a child often gives young parents time to develop themselves professionally. Being a parent can even boost your career goals because you’ll want to do well and set a great example for your child. You can find workplaces that offer part-time or flexible work arrangements these days, so you can still work while raising a child.
If you need support in finding employment as a young parent, check out the Digital Work and Study Service headspace can offer.
Socialising as a young parent
If you think the days of seeing friends are over, think again. Just because you have a baby, it doesn’t mean you can’t go out and socialise. Relationships are really important to keep you connected and feeling good. You can, and should, make time to see your friends and connect with your community. In fact, being a young parent provides a great opportunity to make new friends by joining a parent's support group. You can do a quick Google search to find a group in your area and connect with other young parents going through the same things you are.
Having fun as a young parent
Parents need to have hobbies too. While raising a child is a lot of work, it’s important to remember what’s important to you, as well as what you find enjoyable, and try to fit in time for this. It might mean reading some of your favourite books, brushing up on your cooking skills or chatting to friends while the baby is napping, or meeting up with friends and taking your baby for walks in nature. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some tips for finding activities you enjoy.
Getting support as a young parent
One of the most important things you’ll realise as a young parent is that you can’t do it on your own. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network can ensure there are people at hand to help you with things like caring for the baby, providing advice when you’re not sure what to do, and encouraging you to reach your personal goals and ambitions.
For many people, this support network can include partners, parents, siblings and friends. Your baby’s other parent may also be a big support, or you can turn to teachers, elders or mentors. If you have concerns about being a young parent, or would like to talk about how to continue living life to the full with a baby, visit your local headspace centre to talk with an experienced counsellor.