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To want to start a degree when I'm 6 months pregnant

(64 Posts)
Holly94 Tue 25-Jun-13 18:19:55

I'm 18 and just finished my A-levels. I'm 8 weeks pregnant. I wanted to go to uni but obviously things have changed now, so I was looking at starting an open uni course in October, when I'll be around 6 months pregnant. DP is adamant that I won't manage it when 'heavily pregnant' and told me I have to put our baby first. He said that I need to wait till the October afterwards when the baby will be about 9 months old, because he thinks I won't manage uni work with a newborn baby.

I feel like if I don't start it this year, I never will. AIBU not to wait?

foreverondiet Tue 25-Jun-13 18:26:56

What support network do you have? Who will look after the baby? Do you plan to breastfed?

peteypiranha Tue 25-Jun-13 18:27:23

You can do it if you set your mind to it. If you know you can dont listen to anyone else.

Holly94 Tue 25-Jun-13 18:28:28

My parents, his parents and both sets of grandparents. Both grandparents have said they'll be willing to help with childcare, which I really appreciate.
I do plan to breastfeed, but as the course doesn't involve going out to lectures as a 'traditional' uni course does, I thought I could fit the work round the baby IYSWIM.

Holly94 Tue 25-Jun-13 18:29:24

I want to do it for my baby's future, so that when he/she is older I can have a chance of a career.

Bobyan Tue 25-Jun-13 18:29:41

You might actually get more support at a traditional uni, rather than the OU...

olidusUrsus Tue 25-Jun-13 18:31:22

If it were me and we're talking a full time degree, I'd probably be doing something similar to your DP's idea. I wouldn't want the pressure of deadlines and coursework looming over while I had a new baby - that pressure is demanding enough without a newborn! Waiting 12-9 months isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things.

However, if you would like to do it and have set yourself that goal then of course you can achieve it with the right support around you. If you're doing part time I'd be like you and jump straight in.

Remember some OU courses run February starts as well as September starts, so you might not need to wait a whole year if you do decide to join up post-birth rather than pre-birth.

Are you going to be full or part time?

Bumbolina Tue 25-Jun-13 18:32:08

Having just completed my last degree module, I would agree 100% with your partner. I started when my dd was 1 year old after a gap, and it was exhausting. I could not have done it with a newborn baby.

olidusUrsus Tue 25-Jun-13 18:32:15

Double check the lecture thing, OU sometimes run clinics and workshops at other unis which require travel & overnight stays away. Not sure if it'll be applicable to your course or if indeed they are compulsory to attend.

Phineyj Tue 25-Jun-13 18:35:18

If you're going to do OU, it's not really much of a risk as you do it one module at a time, so if the first one is a struggle you can defer the rest until you feel able. I have done several modules with them while working full time and it was fine -- I think I could probably have managed one while DD was a little baby given your potential levels of childcare (although offers of childcare don't always turn into reality/some people find they don't want to be separated from their baby/motherhood does fry your short term memory and concentration skills for a while, even if you do get a reasonable amount of sleep).

It does depend if you are a quick worker as you need to maximise the study time you have available. It would also be better to study somewhere the baby isn't, to avoid distraction.

If I were you I would phone the OU and find out if they can put you in touch with other young mums who are on their courses. The practical details of how they manage might reassure your DP.

I think you are right to go for it now, as it will be easy once the baby arrives to say 'oh I'll do it next year' and you will find the money strangely vanishes...!

Holly94 Tue 25-Jun-13 18:36:02

Olidus, I see what you're saying. I was going to do part-time. I don't think I could start Feb because that would be right around my due date. I was just worried I wouldn't ever end up starting if you know what I mean. Just worried about not being able to do the best I can for my baby.

Dahlen Tue 25-Jun-13 18:39:35

When you say your DP is adamant that you won't cope and you must put the baby first, what exactly did he say?

I went back to work, full-time, 6 weeks after giving birth. It was tiring but fine. Having a baby does not necessarily mean you will be incapable of doing anything until the baby is at least 9 months old.

However, it's very easy to underestimate how all-consuming and exhausting it is having a baby. If yours is a particularly bad sleeper or suffers from colic, it will be even worse. It would be horrible to have to give up on your degree because you can't cope. It may well be better to wait until you've skewed the odds in your favour of not setting yourself up to fail IYSWIM.

My main concern is your DP's attitude to this though. Putting the baby first? Why does that translate as you sacrificing your ambitions. I presume he is the breadwinner so isn't in a position to give up working to share the load, but is he planning on giving up all his hobbies, interests and friendships in the best interests of your baby - because surely it would be selfish of him to pursue those when he could be at home giving his undivided attention to baby. I suspect not.

If you are a partnership you find a way of adapting to life with a baby while still attending to your needs as individuals by supporting each other.

peteypiranha Tue 25-Jun-13 18:39:49

I did mine with a newborn. If your like me someone saying you cant means your going to do it but even better. I would definitely do it if I were you and your young so wont get that tired.

olidusUrsus Tue 25-Jun-13 18:40:36

In that case, personally I would want to start in October and see how it went. Your due date is right at the end of the Christmas break so you'd (hopefully) already have a module or two under your belt by the time the baby arrived. Then, if you needed to, you could easily take a break and the motivation to carry on with the next set of modules would be there because you already had your foot in the door.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

MerryOnMerlot Tue 25-Jun-13 18:43:37

DO IT!

I started a full-time uni degree when I was pregnant with DC1. When everyone else was in getting their timetables for semester 2 I was at the maternity hospital with a damp face cloth over my face feeling like I'd been run over by a bus after having DS after a 28 hour labour.

I took 4 weeks off then went back, as I'd started to think along the lines of deferring then starting again the following year, which I knew I wouldn't do!

It's not like a FT job as you don't generally have to attend uni FT, especially if it's OU. I got 1 coursework extension (far less than most of the young school leaver students!) and dispensation from 1 lecturer not to attend lectures as long as I attended tutorials.

4 years later I graduated with 1st class honours.

It was hard, but the best 4 years of my life.

RikeBider Tue 25-Jun-13 18:46:34

Personally I would wait a year and apply to a traditional uni for when the baby is 9 months. There's little difference in fees anymore and there will probably be heavily subsidised childcare available to you.

olidusUrsus Tue 25-Jun-13 18:50:29

apply to a traditional uni for when the baby is 9 months

this is going to be hard for OP if she isn't near a university or doesn't like the 'local' one and has to travel though. Also, yes a traditional will have childcare and they will be flexible but they can never be as flexible as OU. Education is knackering enough, education + baby, doubly so, but education, baby + a commute? Nightmare.

QueenOfToast Tue 25-Jun-13 18:55:05

I totally understand why you want to have something to do in this time between your A'Levels and the arrival of your baby and I think that as long as you're just going to be starting a single, Level 1 OU course in October then you should be fine (even popping out a baby halfway during the first module!)

The OU modules run from either October to June OR February to October so you need to make sure that the module you want to start with has an October 2013 starting date.

I have found the OU to be really flexible and as helpful as they can but, please be aware of the financial implications. If you start a module in October, then decide in February that you can't complete it with a new baby in tow, you probably won't get any money refunded as you will have done more than 50% of the course.

Once you've got the first module under your belt (and the first few months of parenting) you will be absolutely fine to complete your degree while looking after a baby/toddler and you could easily be finished by the time your baby starts school smile

Good luck with everything.

foreverondiet Tue 25-Jun-13 18:57:21

Not sure - in my experience of breastfeeding I have spend most of the first 3-4 months feeding - often for nearly an hour at a time every 3 hours (ie only hour gap between feeds) and up in the night - a couple of times perhaps for 45 mins each time - not sure I could have coped with any studying - however with bottle feeding its different as you can share night feeds and someone else can usefully look after the baby in the day. I'm v pro breastfeeding and do not want to start any sort of bf ing bun fight but I only think this is possible if bottle feeding (or if breast feeding and the baby turns out to be a good sleeper and a very fast feeder.)

WidowWadman Tue 25-Jun-13 19:02:13

I've sat (and passed) 5 3hour exams for a professional qualification when my oldest was 5 months old. Revising helped me keep my sanity

WidowWadman Tue 25-Jun-13 19:02:41

(she was fully breastfed, too)

itsblackoveryonderhill Tue 25-Jun-13 19:07:44

OP have you thought about doing a taught degree through your local FE college? Their fees are generally cheaper than a traditional uni and they often have their lectures over one or 2 days. They often have a student creche also. I'm a lecturer in this type of institution and we probably have more parents / mature students etc. than a traditional uni. The class sizes are generally smaller so you get alot of support for your money.

You even have time to see whether you could get onto a course for september, then start your semester 2 slightly later, but you would have to catch up. You may also be able to do year 1 semester 1 before the baby is born, then have a year maternity leave as it were then go back in Feb 2015, for year 1 semester 2. The courses will probably be advertised as foundation degrees or HND, then a top up year.

My husband is doing an OU degree and the submission dates for work are really strict whereas, at my college we can be flexible dependent in the individual circumstances.

peteypiranha Tue 25-Jun-13 19:08:31

You can still do it if breastfeeding in the day just use the sling, stick baby on boob and type up work on your laptop.

Dackyduddles Tue 25-Jun-13 19:09:05

You will always do the best for baby. You really won't be able to do otherwise (I'm making some big assumptions but you sound capable for example) I would agree to getting to a year old. It is going to be the longest and fastest year of your life. It really won't be long before you can carry on with that dream.

ShoeWhore England Tue 25-Jun-13 19:10:59

OP I don't want to sound discouraging but I think so much depends on what kind of baby you have - and of course you haven't met him/her yet! I think I could have managed this with dc3 but the other two were fairly difficult as newborns and there is no way I could have fitted in study.

You do however have youth on your side :-) and I shouldn't underestimate that grin

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