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AIBU to plan a pregnancy mid University course?

(93 Posts)
Twistedinknots Sun 10-Jun-18 19:37:24

Hi everyone,

I am almost 35 with a 4 yr old child and have been accepted onto a uni course which starts this September. I've never been to uni before and neither have any women in my family.

I've wanted another baby for a while but while my partner loves children, he isn't keen on the baby stage.
The other day he surprised me by saying maybe we should have another baby. We enjoy being parents and although money and space is tight (at the moment) i'm sure we'd cope well.
We have a happy family life.

I would be 39 on completion of my full time course (integrated masters with sandwich yr) and the age-gap between children would be 9yrs+

If I tried to plan a baby for the end of yr1 i'd be 35 or yr2 36.
I can't decide what would be best, i'm frightened if I cancel my application then I will be unable to achieve another offer, and I know maternal age increases risks.

So my question is this, AIBU to have a baby mid course? I wouldn't be able to return to the course until at they were at least a year old, if not two. Wouldn't I just be messing the university around?

Mytrainwaslate Sun 10-Jun-18 19:42:36

Why is your partner suggesting anchoring you with a baby just as you're about to get educated well? It's a interesting piece of timing.

If you want a baby, and can afford it, then have one. I wouldn't worry about messing the university around, they will be well used to students taking years off for babies.

But your partner's timing is very interesting. Is he a high earner? If he is financially better off, I would be married before putting any plans on hold to have a baby with him.

HonniBee Sun 10-Jun-18 19:47:05

Personally, I would take the University place, and try for a baby. You might not get pregnant as quickly as you hope, and there’s not point putting study/careers on hold while you try. If you do get pregnant cross that bridge when you get there!

Twistedinknots Sun 10-Jun-18 19:59:42

Thanks for your replies smile

Neither my partner or I are high earners. We find our 4yr old totally charming, they grow up so quick. The conversation lead on from that.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 10-Jun-18 20:04:41

DD found she was pregnant mid way through her second year. If we hadn't taken her and DSIL in, and helped with DGS, she wouldn't have completed the course. Even with 3 days nursery a week, she struggled with coursework. Results on Friday, hoping for a 2.1.

You need your DP to understand he'll be doing all the childcare on the days you have lectures. That's not negotiable.

Twistedinknots Sun 10-Jun-18 20:05:10

Oh and I have always been better off financially.

Mytrainwaslate Sun 10-Jun-18 20:05:12

Is your partner a higher earner than you? If so, you want marriage, as another baby will affect your studies/career.

You don't comment on the interesting timing by your partner. Is he threatened by your education?

Mytrainwaslate Sun 10-Jun-18 20:07:40

Sorry, cross posted. But will you remain financially better if you do this course and have a baby? Include pensions etc. Unless you are financially much better off, having a baby without marriage is a risk. If you are much better off, ie. savings, pension, future earnings, then, yeah, stay unmarried. But still get your education.

Argeles Sun 10-Jun-18 20:07:42

Please don’t worry about ‘messing the University around.’ You will not be the first, nor the last student to get pregnant whilst studying.

If the university you would attend is anything like mine, then they will not give a fuck about you, and will not assist you through mitigating circumstances with postponing assignment deadlines or exams. I had to sit an exam at 37 weeks pregnant, and they reluctantly gave me 10 minutes extra time (in case of toilet breaks).

I am currently studying for a Degree (part time), and gave birth recently, as well as being a Mum to a toddler. My DH was desperate for a second child. I wanted one, but wasn’t sure that it was a good idea whilst studying, but nature took its course, and I became pregnant.

I attended uni up until 37.5 weeks, and went back 3 weeks after giving birth. For me, studying whilst pregnant was fine - travelling on the tube wasn’t so great though. Studying and revising with a newborn and a toddler, with hardly any support from family (live far away), whilst suffering from PND has been extremely difficult, and I am barely functioning. Deferring isn’t an option for me.

I’d still advise you to have a baby though if you want one, especially as you said you’ll be able to take time out.

SnowGoArea Sun 10-Jun-18 20:09:09

It can work out quite well, especially if the timing lines up to make it easy to take year out and then slot back in again. Would childcare be OK on your return? Would you be tempted to be a SAHM and abandon the course once you had a little baby in your arms?

I can't remember how statutory maternity pay is calculated but that would be worth looking into.

Twistedinknots Sun 10-Jun-18 20:14:25

Abandoning the course is a secret worry of mine. I know I wouldn't have been able to leave my first baby in the two years but I think I have changed quite a lot over the last few years, i'm more focused now.
THINK is the word that worries me though.

Battleax Sun 10-Jun-18 20:18:25

I wouldn’t. I did it during my second degree. It was incredibly hard and just plain limiting.

Pragmatically, maybe you could both get fertility checks? Specifically ovarian reserve. Maybe even freeze embryos if finances allow?

sleepingdragons Sun 10-Jun-18 20:30:48

I did it. I wouldn't recommend it necessarily but it is doable (will post more when not on the move - hard to type!)

DN4GeekinDerby Sun 10-Jun-18 20:38:36

I would not cancel, as others said you don't know how long it will take, and deferring is likely an option. I ended up having to defer repeatedly due to immigration issues (there was a law change and a lot of confusion between when I was accepted and when I was meant to start on things and was a mess). Unis are used to life and weird stuff causing issues.

I had a kid during my undergraduatey degree, but I continued my degree with my spouse caring for the kids. I still fondly remember working on my dissertation with a wee one curled up sleeping and nursing on my lap.

lavenderlove Sun 10-Jun-18 21:17:30

Hi, I had a baby mid uni course. He was born in the April and I had exams to sit in the May/June so wasn't ideal but I got through them fine. If it's a typical uni course you will generally end your year at the end of may/ beginning of June and then not go back until September. So in a perfect world if you could aim for a July baby that would be perfect! I'm sure you will manage whatever the outcome x

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Sun 10-Jun-18 21:20:22

Lots of our students take a year out for this and manage. It will be hard. But not impossible.

LuMarie Sun 10-Jun-18 21:48:53

May depend on what you are studying and the result you are hoping for.

University can be intense. I, as well as all my friends and classmates, were studying and working insane hours. In my final year I worked every day for six months until my exams were finished, I was up to studying 20 hours per day by the end and even missing nights sleep! Everyone was sleeping around three hours a night.

That was a particularly intense course in a difficult subject and at a challenging university. However that's what we needed to do. In the previous years, out all day at university for classes and then five or six hours in the evening for study, homework and preparing for tests was normal. There is a long summer break, four months, but the rest of the year would have been impossible with children. Winter holidays are for studying and preparing for January exams and/or assignments due after the holidays. Yes they are that cruel!

Most universities give you a deadline number of years to graduate, so you can take at least a year off, maybe two or three. The problem with more than a year off is that you forget all the things you've been studying and learning. Again depends on the subject, but most build upon what you've learned previously, class after class.

Would you be paying fees? They are quite high in some places, that would be a consideration as universities don't return these if you leave. A yearly fee is plenty to freeze eggs or embryos, but of course it's not as simple as bamn do that and it'll work when you choose, I know that. Back up really, or fertility preservation.

Don't worry about messing the university around. They charge you are fortune and students are changing courses all the time.

Are you studying to go back to a career? What about starting a new job with two young children, is that something you want?

I did another degree at about the same age, but I had been through the university system before and was going back to an undergraduate level start when I'd already gone through to the end of postgraduate in another field plus a few years of life, reading good books, following the news and in general thinking gives maturity to intellect, so it was a bit easier in terms of the course content. However I did find that 18 year olds just out of high school were much more comfortable than me fitting into university work demands, because it was just a continuation of school for them and they didn't have any other grown up responsibilities to deal with. I found it overwhelming from day one, there just weren't enough hours in the day and I worried constantly about not doing my best work because I was also running a home that wasn't university/parent managed and being an adult with a life! I did it in the end by working with the american system, which is much more flexible, but I didn't have a baby during that time!

I think honestly you should think about how you feel about having another child. If it's something you really want to do, I'd start trying now. If it's well that would be nice but fine if it doesn't happen, maybe wait a bit as you're still fine with your age even after uni. You can also go to university and study whilst pregnant, the university will be helpful and accommodating, so if you fell pregnant later this year and just made sure you had enough time to get through the first year without popping (and you expect a comfortable pregnancy) you could get a year out of the way and the take a year out. You may not want to go back, but you'll know how you feel!

Good luck!

Twistedinknots Sun 10-Jun-18 21:55:15

Thank you for all your responses, there is a lot to think over and I really value such personal perspectives.

Battleax Sun 10-Jun-18 22:04:23

Can you tell us whether it’s humanities, science, vocational etc?

Twistedinknots Sun 10-Jun-18 22:18:26


Battleax Sun 10-Jun-18 22:19:56

So lots of lab time? As opposed say to eight hours a week for History?

It’s a lot. I have to be honest.

Calmingvibrations Sun 10-Jun-18 22:22:06

Blimey, be careful about waiting until 39 to try for second one. Appreciate everyone is different but my fertility fell off a cliff around that time and I needed Ivf.

TheCatFromOuterSpace Mon 11-Jun-18 07:13:01

My biggest worry would be finances. Would you be giving up a job to do the course? If so can you afford to go without maternity leave?

If so then I would probably go for it. Having a baby mid course might not be ideal but it is doable and better than the other options.

TheSkyAtNight Mon 11-Jun-18 07:49:24

Yanbu. There might be distance learning options - I've been studying for a masters and had my dad. She's now 2.5 and I should finish studying at Christmas. There might be part time and flexible options at your university.

Your story of your partner's change of heart has given me hope - I'm in the osition you were in and would also jump at the chance of a second!

TheSkyAtNight Mon 11-Jun-18 07:49:58

Oops - had my dd! Wretched autocorrect!!

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