When my pregnancy test revealed to me what I had already suspected, I knew that cheap bottle of wine I consumed three weeks prior was not my friend. In my fourth semester of college, my party days were now behind me. My weekends filled with tequila shots and dancing would soon be replaced with a crying baby and dirty diapers. While I prided myself in knowing the benefits of breastfeeding and tummy time, I could not have predicted what motherhood would actually bring me in my college years.
1. You Will Be Judged
You knew people judged you for showing up to class 20 minutes late smelling like a brewery, but it’s cool—everyone can relate. When your conservative professor belittles you in front of your whole class for being pregnant, that’s not cool. But hey, thank that asshole anyway. Being a mom means people are judging you for every choice you make, so it’s time to get some thick skin.
2. You Will Develop a Germ Phobia
Finals are coming up and you cannot afford your 2-month-old to get sick. You learn to take every precaution you can when it comes to hosting group projects at your apartment: You make your group members shed contaminated clothes at the door, you offer them hand sanitizer, and douse them with Lysol.
3. You Will Know Everything About Breastfeeding
Literally. When you walk through the halls and hear a student crying about failing a class, you immediately grab your phone to Google “Does an adult crying cause a lactation let-down?” You’ll start leaking through your shirt before you exit the building, or so Google told me.
4. You Won’t Sleep
This is the part where you can’t remember the last time you had a full night’s sleep comes in clutch. You can’t miss what you never had.
5. Your Baby Will Be Extremely Intelligent
You will try to study with any free time you have. You can’t spare two minutes to sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” so you instead serenade your baby to sleep with “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” and an array of calculus formulas to the tune of “Brahms’ Lullaby.” I justify this by hoping she’ll never actually miss the traditional nursery rhymes, and that she’ll be soothed by knowledge in the years to come. Hopefully my daughter will be able to explain the fiscal ceiling concept to me by the next election.
6. You Don’t Fit in Any Boxes
You’ll read articles directed toward being a working mom vs. being a stay-at-home mom and struggle with defining yourself as either. Attending college classes takes a lot of time, and it does mean that you’re away from your bundle of joy, although you aren’t necessarily working. But you are home a lot with the baby, doing all the things a stay-at-home mom does. You find yourself identifying with aspects of both lifestyles and decide you’ll just call yourself a Not-Working-But-Not-Stay-at-Home-Mom-Who-Goes-to-School-to-Maybe-Be-a-Working-Mom. Yeah, I’ll go with that.
7. You’ll Learn What True Love Is
You used to think you absolutely loved that girl in the restroom at the bar, just like you loved Blair and Chuck on Gossip Girl. When you have a baby, you learn that love is unconditional. The love you have for your baby is strong and a feeling you can’t relate to anything you’ve experienced before. You realize why you’re in college in the first place, and why it’s so important to stay the course and better your life.
Having a baby in college has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced and also the greatest adventure I’ve embarked on. Having my daughter earlier than I had planned has made life interesting, not impossible. I’ve learned so much in these short few months—lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom, the most important lessons that I’ll ever learn.