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?

Firsttimemummy33 Tue 25-Jun-13 19:16:35

I've got a six month old and don't even have the time to read a newspaper most days! I would just relax and enjoy the early months with your baby with no pressure and think about doing the degree a little bit later on.

RikeBider Tue 25-Jun-13 19:19:42

I was doing an OU degree again by the time mine was 6 weeks old and tbh it did stop me just enjoying my newborn - it meant you can't just sleep when the baby sleeps as you need any snatched nap time to work, you can't just sit for hours watching TV and breastfeeding. It's much more pleasant to enjoy the newborn bit and study later.

I don't want to put you off, I'm sure that the right person can do it, but I started a degree and then discovered I was pregnant. I gave birth a week before my end of year exams, and truth be told I could not get my head around the paper at all. I sat and stared at it for an hour and walked out. I knew my stuff and a few months before/ after I could have done it with my eyes closed, but just not right then. I really can't see the harm in waiting another year, or if you can do a module and then have a break if you need it then great. Just be careful of over-stretching yourself. A newborn, especially the first, is a life changing experience. Your priorities may change and you may even find that you change your mind about what course you want to do. I wouldn't rush into the decision. I hope you make the right decision for YOU. Good luck!

MildDrPepperAddiction Tue 25-Jun-13 19:32:57

Of course you can do it. I started three weeks post emergency section and although tough its manageable.

Good luck!

maternitart Tue 25-Jun-13 19:37:29

You probably COULD do it, but I think challenges of feeding/sleeping aside, I would have resented anything that took me away from my PFB in the first three or four months. You won't get that time back.

BackforGood Tue 25-Jun-13 19:39:33

All newborns are different (in the amount they are 'demanding') and all new parents have different levels of resiliance.
Personally, I was completely knocked for six when I had dc1. I'd always been a really busy person, but this little angry monster just knocked me sideways. A month in, it was an achievement if I got myself dressed before tea time. I know of other parents who do seem to take it in their stride and be out and about very soon.

I was doing a Masters when I had dc2 - I had to rework the final module when she was tiny, and I found just couldn't focus at all - totally unable to shut myself away and leave dh to deal with her when I could hear her cry, and when he took them out, I just fell asleep!

So, if my experiences are anything to go by, I'd agree with your dp - start fresh in 2014.

olidusUrsus Tue 25-Jun-13 19:39:59

itsblack's idea is a good suggestion - lots FE colleges are amazing, look into those too OP.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 25-Jun-13 19:42:41

Hi OP, I started with the OU at three months pregnant and have continued since. A few thoughts.

Firstly, my pregnancy and birth were straightforward and dd became good at going to bed at seven from about eight weeks (with continuing night wakings to well over a year and 5-6am starts as normal though). You can't predict your experience and it could be much, much harder and all-consuming.

My timing was ok because i could get all the cousework done before the birth, then just had an exam to do at three months. I took six weeks off after the birth, then spent six weeks preparing for the exam. That was possible, though timing everything, with bfing (I expressed, so just as often but more predictable and taking less time), even with DP doing his share and GPs doing some, was tight and a bit stressful. I was glad of the 'summer hols' afterwards, starting teh next year when dd was six months.

This second year has been quite doable with good organisation. I stopped bfing at seven months, so my time was freer then. A series of minor baby illnesses had a quite an impact though - keeping me up at night, so too tired the next evening to work, sometimes wiping out whole weeks.

So much depends on how much 'baby free time' others can make available to you. You cannot look after a young baby and work at the same time. Even if you start work the moment they drop off for a nap, it takes a bit of time to get into what you're doing and, as soon as you really get going, they wake up. Using nap time gets easier later, when they settle into a more predictable pattern.

I'd strongly advise taking at least six weeks off after the birth, so you need to get ahead beforehand. Being able to immerse yourself in the new-baby experience is really important and you'll be exhausted.

I think you'd be fine starting at three months or, better, at six. Working through to six months with only a short break will be hard and will put a lot of pressure on everyone around you. So, while it's not necessary to wait until nine months, the timing of your pg and the academic year is such that I do think you'll find that so much easier than starting this year.

Quite a gap year experience, surely! I can't see why delaying would prevent you from doing it. You'll probably feel very ready by nine months.

The other thing is that, if you have to withdraw from the course part way through (with OU can do it at a third and two thirds of the way through) you get some money back but your work counts for nothing, you'd have to take the same course again for the credit. You can't know how things will go, medically, or what sort of baby you'll get, sleep and demandingness-wise, so that is a possibility to plan and budget for.

Glup Tue 25-Jun-13 19:43:58

I would say 'Go for it'!

I finished my masters degree whilst pregnant and found that it was a great incentive for working really hard. Whilst I was completing my undergrad degree, I also found that the only people I knew to get first class degrees were the young mums. This may have been coincidence, but i suspect not. It just meant more to them and they were more organised than the rest of us.

MerryOnMerlot Tue 25-Jun-13 19:53:39

I feel like if I don't start it this year, I never will.

I think you're right tbh. Tell DP that other people have done it - you're pregnant, not ill!

If you don't do it now you never will, but you'll always regret it.

I think it's interesting that those commenting on here who have done it are all saying "go for it".

themaltesecat Tue 25-Jun-13 19:54:44

Do it!

peteypiranha Tue 25-Jun-13 19:57:17

I agree with merry of all the people on my course the ones who took time out just because they were pregnant none of them went back and all are just sahms. Whereas the 4 who did carry on all got at least a 2.1 and are all in employment now.

McNewPants2013 Tue 25-Jun-13 20:01:43

Me personally wouldn't do it. You are 18 and have plenty of time to do a degree but only one chance to spend with your baby.

Theoretically it can be done and many of women do, but I wouldn't have missed those precious few months for the world.

parttimer79 Tue 25-Jun-13 20:08:46

I think with OU it will be easier than a conventional degree but even so it is hard to know how you will feel/what sort of baby you will get and how supportive people will prove to be.
All power to you wanting to continue with your education, only you know if this is now or never time.
From my perspective I didn't get my first degree until I was 25 and am now in the midst of a PhD so it is possible to start a little later in life.

I am also very pregnant now and will be taking 9 months off after the birth as I have a limited funding period and don't want to waste time attempting to analyse and write coherently when I am utterly sleep deprived and baby brained.

MrsHoarder Tue 25-Jun-13 20:13:23

I wouldn't. I started a masters (just) pregnant and my grades suffered. Leave it for this academic year, so background reading for the next couple if months and enjoy your time with your DC.

But keep the funding ready and apply as early as possible for a2014 start.

RikeBider Tue 25-Jun-13 20:15:51

Not everyone is saying go for it Merry!

It's not being pregnant that's a problem, it's having a newborn and being able to take little or no time off. That's really hard if you don't have to.

therumoursaretrue Tue 25-Jun-13 20:17:43

I went back to finish the final year of my degree when DS was newborn. He was born in the summer so was almost 5 weeks old when I started back. My course is a professional qualification so at the most challenging point I was out of the house 10 hours a day on a placement, then home to do 3-4 hours preparation/assignments plus dealing with DS (housework didn't get a look in!)

It is possible, but you do have to be determined and try to be as organised as you can. You will need your DP's support though, so do try to get him on side!

threefeethighandrising Tue 25-Jun-13 20:37:49

I had a university place when I found out I was pregnant (degree started October, baby due end December).

I deferred for a year, and then another as I felt DS was too young. So it was two years before I started my degree, I'm really glad I waited. I got a first overall for both years I've completed so far, there's no way I could have done that if I'd not deferred.

I tried to do some freelance work when DS was 5 months. I found it impossible. There's no way I could have studied for a degree.

" You are 18 and have plenty of time to do a degree but only one chance to spend with your baby."

I agree with this wholeheartedly.

"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." If you put back your degree by a couple of years, you'll still have all the chance in the world to do this. Two years is nothing in the sceme of things of you consider you may well be working until you're nearly 70!

threefeethighandrising Tue 25-Jun-13 20:39:45

About OU, there was another thread on here not so long ago about OU saying they're a bit messed up at the moment because of changes they're having to comply with, I think they were saying now's not a great time to start OU courses.

I'll see if I can find the thread ...

threefeethighandrising Tue 25-Jun-13 20:47:44

Here it is Is it worth doing a course through Open University? Have you done one? How did you find it?

Check out CajaDeLaMemoria's post in particular.

Of course that's just from one person on the internet! And I guess your course may not be affected. But if you do go the OU route, probably worth asking about how the current changes may affect your course, and considering whether it might be worth waiting till the changes are bedded in anyway.

ImperialBlether Tue 25-Jun-13 20:53:00

What's your partner like with you, OP? Does he try to control things you do?

badguider Tue 25-Jun-13 20:55:46

I've done a few level 2 courses with OU in areas I wanted to develop for my job which I found to be pleasantly challenging but not to require quite as many hours as they claimed they would (but I already had a degree).

I think it depends what degree you're looking at and what the route is to that. Can you do any shorter courses between now and January which would give you credits towards the degree, then take four to six months off and resume again?

Even if the first short course doesn't 'count' towards your final degree I would do one now to get into practice. Studying at home while 'heavily pregnant' isn't hard, I work from home and am pregnant and it's great, I can take a nap after lunch if I need to and work on later to finish up.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 25-Jun-13 21:20:09

Oh yes, my level 1 course didn't have an exam. (I did two courses at once that year). It could also be done in two halves, or one half matched with another short course.

If you could do one one of those 30 point courses and get all the assignments done before the birth, which is more than possible if you're not working full-time too, you'll be fine. You'd then have a month off before starting the other short course in Feb. You could probably delay committing to that one until after the birth, in case there are complications.

If 30-point level one courses are available in your subject, with no exams, I would definitely do that. That changes my view of how possible this is, quite a lot.

Also, the first couple of weeks worth of material on my course and I imagine most OU ones, were about brushing up study skills, for people who haven't studied for years or ever done A-levels. I think I covered two weeks work in an afternoon. You will too, coming straight from A-levels, so there's a ready-made head-start for you.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 25-Jun-13 21:25:25

Just read part of the thread linked to above. All I can say is my experience, on three courses now, has been good, tutors really helpful, everythign fine.

WidowWadman Tue 25-Jun-13 21:31:29

McNewpants how many "precious moments" is she likely to miss doing a OU course, which is mostly distance learning, thus can be done whilst the baby is firmly attached to the student?

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