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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?

YummyYummyYum Wed 26-Jun-13 14:22:48

Good decision OP, I am sure you will be fine. Good luck!

Squitten Wed 26-Jun-13 13:33:27

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 luck!

AnnoyedAtWork Wed 26-Jun-13 13:22:10

Coldwater you have 9 kids?!!! And you work and study?! Are you superwoman ?!

Holly94 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:20:43

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 sad
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.

BionicEmu Wed 26-Jun-13 13:08:43

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.

melliebobs Wed 26-Jun-13 12:44:21

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

badguider Wed 26-Jun-13 12:39:46

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.

LottieLaBouff Wed 26-Jun-13 09:20:20

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! smile I feel really proud looking back! I bet you would too.

coldwater1 Wed 26-Jun-13 09:18:32

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...

maternitart Wed 26-Jun-13 09:13:49

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.

AnnoyedAtWork Wed 26-Jun-13 08:50:24

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.

AnnoyedAtWork Wed 26-Jun-13 08:48:28

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 hmm 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.

Holly94 Wed 26-Jun-13 08:40:46

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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 20:37:49

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!

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!

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.

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.

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