To want to start a degree when I'm 6 months pregnant(64 Posts)
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?
What support network do you have? Who will look after the baby? Do you plan to breastfed?
You can do it if you set your mind to it. If you know you can dont listen to anyone else.
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.
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.
You might actually get more support at a traditional uni, rather than the OU...
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?
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.
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.
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...!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
Good luck with everything.
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.)
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
(she was fully breastfed, too)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Of course you can do it. I started three weeks post emergency section and although tough its manageable.
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.
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.
itsblack's idea is a good suggestion - lots FE colleges are amazing, look into those too OP.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 ...
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.
What's your partner like with you, OP? Does he try to control things you do?
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.
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.
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.
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?
No experience of doing it with a baby, but I am doing an OU degree at the moment. I would say October is a good time to start, there are lots of short modules that last just a few months and you can work your way through it faster than the schedule to be finished by your due date. Look for a 10 or 15 credit Level 1 module which fits the subject you are studying, I'm registered for the Open degree and mixing mine up a bit. They have a series of modules called Openings (put Openings in the OU search box, they aren't easy to find by browsing). These are meant for people either just starting out or returning to study from a long absence and are perfect for seeing if you get on with the studying and the subject. I did one last Nov to March and had excellent tutor support. You can put one of them towards your degree.
You could then have a break and resume studying when your baby is a few months old (assuming you stick to whatever rules there are for funding, I know it has all changed since I started mine). I haven't read that other thread though.
Thank you for all your replies everyone! I really appreciate reading them all.
I think I might wait until after the baby's here to start. I don't want to miss out on those precious first few months; so many people, my parents and DP's included have told me you never get that time back and you always wish for more.
I am only 18 so I've got the rest of my life to do a degree.
A couple of people have asked exactly what DP said and if he's controlling. He said he didn't think it was a good idea because all my attention needs to be focused on the baby (as though he really thought I'd be capable of putting an essay before a crying, hungry baby). And that he'll support me, but would prefer me to wait so I don't take too much on all at once, which I can understand as I work in a shop which involves standing up for 8-9 hours a day and I want to work right up until the last date possible so I can spend as much of my mat leave with the baby as possible.
OU will be harder to self motivate as u won't be with other people most of the time. Think u might get more financial help at a traditional uni but I'm not sure. Personally I would take a gap year and then go to uni . Don't be so hard on yourself you are 18 - u have loads of time. Take a year and enjoy your baby. If u r worried u will flake out why not apply now and defer your place to sep 14. Then u know u are def going.
I'm a bit at your partner telling you "you won't manage studying while heavily pregnant" FFS I worked full time when I was pregnant in my gap year! Tell him he's talking rubbish.
Also I really valued the friends I made at uni and would have been really lonely studying at home alone with a baby. You say your relatives will help with childcare so why not go to a normal uni? Doesn't have to be far away.
Sounds like the best decision to me.
What I would do though is start a hobby or similar you can do on mat leave before and after the baby is born so that you have something just for you.
It can be done! I did it myself. I started an OU module whilst pregnant, my baby was born just days before an essay was due in! I did the essay, got it in and passed with a good grade. I then had the exam when my baby was 6 months old, passed that too!
I am now expecting again and starting university in September, baby due in December, i will have the Christmas break at home to recover and then go right back. I'm not planning on deferring or taking a year out.
I also have 8 other children and work part-time...
Although this is different... I'm 21 and finished my HND when my DD was 10 weeks old. It was so hard, i stayed right up until I went in to labour and I had to go back when she was 4 weeks old, and that was after an emergency c section. She had awful colic too so it seemed like she never slept.
If you think you have great support and that you can manage, I don't see why you shouldn't. It'll be really tough at times, but you can do it! I feel really proud looking back! I bet you would too.
I see now you have a pretty full-on job - that changes what I said earlier.. I was encouraging you to start now believing that you weren't doing much now you'd finished Alevels... with a full-time job and pregnant then I would NOT start now but instead wait till the baby is born and through the first few months.
As I said I am self-employed and work from home doing work that has about the same amount of flexibility as OU study (e.g. flexible hours but set deadlines).
I intend to resume a few hours a week after 3months, working up to 2 days a week from 6months when we'll start using a very nearby nursery... I know a lot of people take more time off but I do not want to and with my DH full support (he'll be doing all the weekend childcare when I work at first) I think this will be fine for us providing we both survive the birth healthy.
I'm not saying its impossible but it'll be bloomin hard work.
I know after having my dd I couldn't have taken something like that on. (traumatic section, transfusion, 1 week hospital stay. Poorly dd with horrific reflux that only got identified at 13weeks and didn't really resolve until 8-9 month) and now at 15 months we still have regular hospital appointments for something else. Just keeping a house in order and work is hard enough.
But if you have the support/money/time n get lucky with your baby why not. But uni isn't just about the degree it's all the other stuff you we'd to do to complement it. Internships/placements/volunteering etc n that all takes time
I'm pleased you're leaning towards waiting a year. I've been doing a physics degree with the OU for the past few years (it's not called physics anymore, can't remember what it is called now, but it's changed it's name twice in the last few years). In that time I've had 2 pregnancies and babies & I've really struggled keeping up with work.
Both pregnancies were difficult, with multiple issues & several hospital stays. Luckily I wasn't studying too much when I was pregnant - got pregnant with DC1 while studying, did exam at 23 weeks, a week before first hospital stay in premature labour.
DC1 was premature in the end & had lots of medical issues so I didn't study at all until he was older. Then got pregnant with DC2, was expecting nightmare pregnancy, which it was, so no studying when pregnant. However, I was forced by the OU to study a module beginning in early Feb - DC2 was due mid-Feb but was born early Jan. I tried so hard to do that module, but ended up deferring it for a year.
I hated the way I had to palm my newborn off on anybody who would take her so I could study. I hated the fact I would watch her for any sign of tiredness so I could try & get her to sleep so I could study. I was missing being with her as a newborn & hated myself for it. I was also struggling badly with post-natal depression & was actually admitted to hospital with it. Plus, I had the realisation that even if I made all these sacrifices, due to sleep deprivation, pnd & other factors I wouldn't do as well in the course as I could do. All that effort for just a pass, or even a fail, instead of a 2:1.
You're young, you've got time! I would rather look back on enjoying my baby - lots of cuddles & laughing - rather than forego that for studying. It's a cliche but it's true - they do grow up so fast.
I would also do research on the OU. For my degree course the quality of the course has gotten worse every year, and it really is awful now. I would certainly not recommend the OU for physics/physical science/natural science/whatever they're calling it now.
BionicEmu I've had problems with my pg already. Sorry to drip feed I really don't mean to, just it didnt seem relevant when writing it. Sorry to hear you had issues, it's awful isn't it
I had a suspected ectopic at first and then an awful 2 week wait before second scan where I was just waiting to start bleeding as my hcg levels were way below what they should have been. Thankfully everything's sorted now but I think DP is scared after that. He doesn't want me to 'overwork' myself and I thought I'd be fine but in hindsight after reading other people's experiences, I think waiting until the October after baby is here would be better. After all, I don't know how I'm gonna deal with the birth, etc and I don't know what my baby will be like.
Coldwater you have 9 kids?!!! And you work and study?! Are you superwoman ?!
I'm studying though the OU too.
I've been studying for 4yrs now, plus one year's break when I had DS2. I'm lucky because I'm still on the old fees system whereas you'll be getting the newer fee rate so be sure you are ready before you sign away all that money! The schedule of work with the OU is relentless, even part time. On the course I've just finished, for example, the workload was every single week from Oct-May and then the exam. I got a week off for Xmas and Easter and that's it, and I didn't even use them because I always had to catch up with stuff. It is an utter slog - worth it, but really hard work.
I'm a SAHM with two sons (4 & 2) and a new baby on the way in Oct, just as DS1 starts Reception. I'm applying to have next year off because I know taking on a course as well as a new baby is suicidal. I would really wait until the baby is a bit bigger and you feel that you can commit the time. Your partner will also have to commit to a lot of childcaring so you can study so make sure he's on board with it - my DH has spent many weekends taking the kids elsewhere for me!
Good decision OP, I am sure you will be fine. Good luck!
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