College Motherhood

How to Handle Pregnancy in College

Elise Jenkins of Ella’s House is the first residential nonprofit in Nashville that serves pregnant and parenting collegiate students.

The refuge offers holistic help to balance education, health, and family — through semesters and trimesters. Jenkins founded Ella’s House in response to the struggles she faced when she chose to obtain her college degree and have her daughter at 21. She went on a mission to create a safe spot in Nashville for women to feel empowered to continue their education while becoming a parent.

As a mom and business owner, Elise provides the following tips for new moms:

1. Find your support:  Look for the people that respect your new way of life and want to be part of your journey. Try to connect with women who are going through the same thing. Recognize that it’s okay for your friend group or support systems to change as your circumstances have changed.  

2. Plan fun things:  Try to incorporate some adventure in your life. Whether this is a cooking class, a new coffee spot, a new hobby, or hiking: make time for new things that bring you joy and give you something exciting to look forward to. 

3. Carve out “me time”: Give yourself time to be alone and relax. It’s okay not to be okay and carving out time to experience your feelings is crucial. 

4. Find your stress relief: Don’t neglect your favorite pastime or hobby. Stick to a healthy sleep schedule and keep eating nourishing foods as best you can! 

5. Exercise your “no”: Don’t feel pressured to commit to social things or be around people who are not making you feel supported. It’s okay to say no and set boundaries. An overcommitted life is a chaotic one. 

6. Get organized: A daily and weekly calendar is your friend. Your life is suddenly a lot more complicated and making lists can give you a sense of control of accomplishment. Everything from doctor’s appointments to fun events, to tests or study groups, can be “checked off”.

Elise says, “I felt very lucky I had such a supportive family and group of friends. I wanted a safe place in Nashville for women to be empowered in their choice to continue their education. Nashville has so many colleges and no infrastructure to support pregnant and parenting women.” For more information, please visit

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