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Your thoughts - Baby due in late August. Midwifery course in Sept. Do I go ahead with course?

(21 Posts)
SweetFudge Wed 08-Jun-05 14:44:56

I've been reading the student parents' threads in the hope that it will help me decide what to do:

I'm going to have our first child in late August and am due to start a midwifery course in September. I was due to start the course last September but was deferred to this year as the University said there were not enough midwife mentors available for last year's intake.

I asked for a deferral to September 2006 as soon as I found out I was pregnant last Christmas. I was refused one on the grounds that the University has a blanket policy on deferrals i.e. one per student over the entire course.

I am absolutely gutted not to get one since I know waiting lists are long and someone else could have my place this year and afford me some time with our baby.

I very much want to become a midwife yet it is devastating to think that I would have to leave our baby to the care of a childminder almost as soon as he is born. DH works fulltime, we need his salary and our families don't live nearby.

It is the first six months after baby's birth that particularly worries me if I do the course.

DH and I had planned to use a childminder for daytime and we would share feeding times at nights. We have friends who are SAHM with newborns and see how shattered they are so my main concern is doing a full time course, shift work and looking after a newborn at nights.

Can you help with your experiences of being a student parent and what it was like for you particularly with a newborn?

I know Starlover is in a dilemma as well about whether to do her course or not so if I can hear from her, it would be helpful.

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 14:50:45

Hi SweetFudge. I found out I was pregnant in the same week as I was offered a scholarhsip to do my MA. I went ahead and had dd half way through the course. I battled on, but in the end it was hopeless and I couldnt keep up with the work and looking after her, I was just too tired to do my coursework in the evenings. I did finish the course part time, but it took me an extra 2 years. I also found that my brain had turned to mush and found it impossible to concentrate for any length of time, or to respond quickly in seminars.

I know loads of people cope fine, but in all honesty I couldnt.

Good luck with your decision, it is a tough choice

SweetFudge Wed 08-Jun-05 14:57:08

Thanks so much for your encouragement, Pinkmama.

moondog Wed 08-Jun-05 15:01:27

Sweetfudge,i think it is too much to take on. You will feel sad about thinking about other newborns when yours is with someone else. It's really easy to underestimate how much time and energy a new baby needs,so be kind to yourself.

I couldn't even finish a dtp course that I was half way through when I had my first,and it was only 2 hours a week in a building about 100m from my house!

Enjoy your baby first,plenty of time to think about other people's in the future

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 15:04:42

Oh sorry SF, but it was tough, and I was just been honest, didnt want to put you off, but Moondog is right, its hard not to just want to spend time with your baby, not putting yourself thorugh such a challenge. You might be younger and more energetic than I was, and I did have a nightmare, colicky baby which didnt help at all.

starlover Wed 08-Jun-05 15:11:02

hi sweetfudge... it's one of those IMPOSSIBLE decisions isn;t it?

I also asked if i could defer again, but was refused. What Uni is it? I'm going to be at Surrey (if I go)...

I think I am going to ring them in a minute, and see if there is someone I can go along and speak to about it...
I don't think it woul dbe such a hard decision if the course wasn't SO full-time...

I think you should fight about the deferral though... if they MADE you defer last year because there weren't enough mentors then that's THEIR problem...

beansmum Wed 08-Jun-05 15:11:21

I came back to uni when ds was 4 months and that was HARD, there is no way I could have returned any sooner and as it is I've been totally exhausted to the point of making myself ill. Apart from the stress and tiredness it has been tough leaving ds with nursery and I know I just couldn't have done it any sooner.

Sorry not to have some encouragement for you, everyone is different and maybe it would work for you, but I don't think it's a good idea.

Couldn't you go back to midwifery in a year or so?

SweetFudge Wed 08-Jun-05 15:12:05

Pinkmama, wasn't being sarcastic! Lordy. I really meant thanks. Please believe that I mean it.

I have been worried that I would be a BAD MOTHER to even contemplate leaving our newborn to do a course.

I mean that is why I have asked for other student parents experiences. Most of my female friends are single and childless so they can't really help me with this. The SAHMs that DH and I know can't really help either because they did decide to give up work when their children were born.

So, your experiences will inform what decision I take and are much appreciated!

SweetFudge Wed 08-Jun-05 15:35:49

Starlover, Mine is Middlesex. I did fight for a deferral to the point where I consulted a solicitor on the legality of their refusal of a deferral. It is legal and since I can't registered as a student till September, the University can apply their rather unfair policy. If I had been a student and asked for a maternity deferral, they would have been on shakier legal ground in refusing me - sex discrimination laws. As DH had pointed out, if I had been less honest and only requested a deferral after I registered, they might have had to grant me one.
Will you keep me up to date about your deferral situation?

Beansmum, what were your childcare arrangements? Was it nursery during the day? Did you have help at home while you were doing homework?

My biggest worry is night feeding though DH will share the feeds. We'd looked after my aunt's 2 month old baby last July for 3 months last summer when my aunt had to work overseas so have had a taste of what night feeds might be like.

I could reapply in a couple of years. It is the tough competition for places which makes me hesitate. Middlesex had 30 places going with 750 over applicants we were told.

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 16:17:17

Its ok SF, I didnt take it badly honest! Just worried I had been too negative! Whatever you decide will not make you a bad mother. I can really see the dilemma if its that tough to get on the course. When I had my choice to make it was incredibly hard to get a scholarship. They offered 2 per year. Without it I couldnt have done the course, and tbh not sure I would have ever gone back and done it. They sound like they are being unreasonable in not deferring you, am I right htat it was their decision to defer you last year, in which case its not you deferring your place twice. If they are not a very flexible place, then it would concern me as to how sympathetic they may be towards you if you were on the course and hit any problems with the baby.

vickiyumyum Wed 08-Jun-05 17:01:09

i went back to uni when ds2 was 8months old, this was only part time though 2 days a week, and started my midwifery degree a year later. my friend who is doing her midwifery at another uni started her course when her baby was 6 weeks old, she said that she found it tough and that she was emotionally and physically drained for the first few months and tbh it doesn't really get any better. but almost 2 years later she is still going and the end is in sight, she says that it has been worthwhile and she wouldn't have changed it.
i am a second year too, and although my kids are older, i still find it tough, me and the other girls who have children on the course, often have a little whinge between ourselves how there are no allownaces made for those with children, but we just get on with it. it is difficult working shifts on placements and you need an understanding childcare provider and partner.
organisation is the key to success (or so i'm told, haven't mastered that yet!)
be prepared for a hard slog, and to come across some very un-understanding people, criticism from anyone who hasn't got children for wanting allowances to be made.
*it will be worth it though*, its a great career and i wiosh i'd started it sooner! i have my down days, but there is normally something or someone that makes it all ok again and gives you that incentive to carry on, for me its when i see how proud my dh is of me!

lunavix Wed 08-Jun-05 17:03:55

I'd really fight on the fact they made you defer.

snafu Wed 08-Jun-05 17:12:20

I don't think for a second it would make you a bad mother, but I think it would be really, really tough. Do-able, probably, but perhaps unecessarily difficult and draining both physically and emotionally. I also start midwifery in Sept, ds is two and I'm still vacillating somewhat re: childcare, sleepless nights, shift-work etc. I'm going to take the place but I'd be lying if I said I'd never had a second thought about it. It's drummed into you (with good reason) that this is a tough course and I honestly don't think I could have done it with a newborn, especially the first few months when you're finding your feet.

Sooo, my gut reaction would be to reapply in a couple of years. I know the competition is fierce (god, do I know it ) but you've obviously got what they were looking for personality- and qualifications-wise and that's not going to change. It would be so rotten for you to end up having to leave the course once you'd started.

God, sorry this seems so negative. I just think that you've probably got ages ahead of you (did you know the average age of a qualifying midwife is 41?!) and that this is one hell of a lot to carry on your shoulders at once. Loads of luck with whatever you choose and please keep us posted!

SweetFudge Wed 08-Jun-05 17:24:47

Vicki, that's really good to know about your own experience. Thank you for telling me about your friend too. I think I was going senseless with guilt that I might be the one mother thinking of doing a course almost as soon as her child was born. Do you know if your friend had any help with night feedings e. from a partner and what she did about daytime care for her 6 week old?

Snafu, that's surprising about the average qualifying age being 41 and encouraging to know as well actually. Where are you starting your midwifery is Sept?

snafu Wed 08-Jun-05 17:49:55

Ah, sorry, just realised it's qualified not qualifying which would explain why it seemed so surprising! But...this link might reassure you that all would not necessarily be lost if you did leave it a couple of years - and it's a very useful website too if you've not used it before. HTH!

vickiyumyum Wed 08-Jun-05 18:24:34

she used a very good childminder to look after her 6 week old, most will take them from 4 weeks so should'nt be aproblem depending on the quality and quantity of childminders in your area. i used a nursery initally (most of these also take from 4 weeks)but didn't fit in with the hours when i was on placement.
i know that it is a juggling session between childcare, e.g childminder, partner, mother, motherinlaw, friends.but it has all worked out ok.
with regards to night feeds she said that it was difficult at first, because at 5 weeks her milk supply was just becoming established and so going off to uni, did upset things slightly, but was soon back on track. she was lucky because when her dd was about 8 weeks she had an abundance of breast milk and used to express it and freeze it so that they could take it in turns getting up in the night, one feed from the breast the next from the bottle.
she said this lated fr about 3 months and then her dd stopped waking in the night and she could just ffed her at about 6p.m 8.30p.m and 11.45, go to sleep at about 12 and then wake for a feed at 6.30, not much sleep but enough for most breatfeeding mums and probably more than a lot of breast feeding mums would get.
so if you can get over those initial couple of months it gets a lot easier.
i would also speak to the uni and ask what the programme is for the first couple of months, we were at uni for a month and then our placements were witht eh community midwife which was virtually 9-5 maybe 6p.m and maybe a saturday or sunday., but only rarely.

mears Wed 08-Jun-05 19:05:30

sweetfudge - Have you personally spoken to the most senior person you can regarding your midwifery course referral? The very fact they deferred you first time in not your fault and should not be held against you.

As a midwife, I think starting midwifery with a newborn is a very great challenge and it would not be one I would relish. The course is very demanding and so is the shift work. You cannot rely on working weekdays. You need to be able to do all shifts whether they are morning, evening, nights and weekends. You will have assignments to submit in amongst it all. Perhaps the UNI would rethink knowing thatyou would be starting with a newborn. They will not want students leaving mid- course - it would be in their interest to defer you.

If they will not budge then you could give it a go. We have had a few students who have had to stop midway and then pick up where they left off.

Midwifery will always be there - your time with your baby you will never get back. Knowing the profession as I do, I think you have to be prepared for a tough time if you do start your course in Sept. Sorry t o be negative. Really think you need to speak to someone again about deferment. What about someone at student services even?

countrylass Wed 08-Jun-05 21:28:12

Hi sweetfudge

I would say its too much to take on - I'm doing a degree (not midwifery) but its full time and for the first year I did it my son was only at nursery 2 hours a day (he's now at school though which makes life easier). I don't mean to sound negative because in many ways my course has been the best thing I've ever done; I really feel like I'm fulfilling my potential, have met new people etc, and also feel satisifed that at the end of it I'll be far better qualified to do what I want to do in the future. BUT! it has meant less time with my son, lots of childcare arrangements and working out betweeen college and my partner's shift patterns and practically every night in front of the computer which is hard going when you've been on the go all day. The point is that with a newborn this would surely be much harder and what might happen is that everything gets short-changed. If you get too tired it means that you won't be able to give your course your best and you might feel that you can't give your newborn your best either. However, in saying all that you might be a far more resilient person that I am; I know a mum also doing a full time degree with 2 children aged 2 and 5, and who also works every evening and weekends! I also have a friend doing her degree part time with 4 children under the age of 9 and a job to boot! Whatever you decide, good luck, I'm sure it will work out fine.

SweetFudge Thu 09-Jun-05 11:25:28

Thanks v. much for all your input, everyone and also, your support. It really has given me a lot to think about and to re-discuss with DH.

Mears, I spoke to the senior midwife/admissions tutor a number of times and I was referred to her both by student services and the administrator for the course.

She was pretty adamant that I either did the course now or not at all. Reasoning with her brought nothing but frustration and plenty of anger at the illogicality of applying a "one deferral only" rule when I hadn't requested a deferral originally. Coupled with the fact that there is a long waiting list each year, I just felt like I was trying to reason with a brick wall.

mears Thu 09-Jun-05 13:44:15

Sweetfudge - I would go above her and speak to whoever her boss it. The Dean of the Uni if you have to.

PeachyClair Thu 30-Jun-05 13:22:10


I did an OU course when I was expecting DS1 and made myself VERY ill, even taking exams with pre-eclampsia as it wasn't considered a good excuse not to by my tutor. I did get a good pass though. A year later I went back to do another year and just couldn't, brain was too befuddled, too tired (I also had a newborn by then, we didnt hang around!!).

I tried again last year (now with three under six, LMAO!) and with no newborn, it worked a treat. I did well, and am off to Uni this Sept.

Can you apply to another school for next year?

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