So lots of you know I had my little one a month ago on the 17th January. I actually started college in September last year, knowing full well that I was pregnant.
I’d decided early last year that I wanted to go back and study, so when I found out I was expecting Max it felt as though nothing was going to fit together. I felt really lost for a few months because I really didn’t know what I was going to do with my future other than be a mom, then one morning I woke up and thought – why can’t I do both? What’s wrong with studying whilst pregnant? Why can’t I be a new mom who does her college work when the little one sleeps?
I started to look online at other girls and women who had tried to do the same and only found negative comments and stories. I was shocked at how little support there was for young pregnant girls from other women on forums – some of the comments were awful. I honestly don’t get why there is so much hate towards girls wanting to go back to study and try to make a future for themselves – would sitting at home doing nothing be a better option? No, so why are so many people so unsupportive of the idea?
I decided to ignore the advice online and find out exactly what university when pregnant would be like for myself.
Here’s what I found:
1. Tell them before you start the course. I’m pretty sure it’s classed as discrimination if they say that you cant continue. I didn’t tell them when I went for my interview as it was so early but I let them know at my enrolment and they were totally fine with it. It’s best that you tell them as soon as possible due to health and safety, as well as your own comfort. My college always made sure I was safe and had a more supportive chair as I got bigger.
2. Arrange earlier deadlines. All of my dates to hand in my work were actually the week I was due to have the baby so that was no good for me. I decided to hand in my work before we broke up for Christmas, a month earlier than expected. I was allowed to carry on working and could continue to add to my sketchbooks but it was nice knowing that if I did suddenly go into labour, everything was already done and I wouldn’t have a last minute panic handing in my work in between contractions.
3. Tell your friends! Ive made such lovely friends on my course and honestly, telling them I was pregnant was a really good decision. It stops any awkwardness when they’re asking you to go out for drinks or carry something heavy. People are really understanding and helpful. My friend Adam used to carry my books for me in my last month of pregnancy because A3 size sketchbooks are not easy to carry when you have a giant belly in the way!
4. Ignore negativity. No one on my course was nasty about me being pregnant, however I go to a big college and not everyone is as cool about it as them. Ignore anyone who says anything about it. Who cares? You’re doing amazing and their opinion doesn’t matter.
5. Have regular meetings with your tutors. You need to know how you’re doing so you can either catch up or stay on track to get the grades that you want. My tutors marked the work id done each week and let me know what needed to be done to get my final grades. This really helped me to feel more confident about my work and kept me motivated.
6. Stay calm. It’s stressful sometimes and there will be days where you have mini meltdowns because you have a deadline, baby scan, antenatal appointment and (non-alcoholic!) drinks after classes but you will cope. If you’re feeling down just take a break and chill out. You are allowed to have a day off.
I honestly hope this helps anyone who’s looking to go back to uni. I’ll write a post about mom life whilst studying in the next few months but I’m not back at college until next week!
(All pictures are of me and Max)