When I started uni I didn’t think I’d be qualifying with anything more than a degree. Then, a few weeks into my second year I found out I was pregnant! I was absolutely terrified and had no idea how I was going to make it work. I wasn’t in a stable relationship and I didn’t have a plan. But I did know that I wanted to keep my baby, and I also didn’t want to quit uni. I just didn’t know how.
Making it Work
The pregnancy went so fast I still felt so unprepared when my little man arrived. My course director was amazingly supportive and we agreed I could take a break for a few months but keep my place.
I really loved getting to know my little guy but was keen to get back. But when I returned I found I was surrounded by people who had no kids and none of my friends knew how to help, I couldn’t stay in the houseshare I’d been in and had to find my own place. I felt really alone.
I also could barely afford to live with a baby. Trust me these little people are small but really expensive! I saved as much as I could by planned meals carefully and only bought the essentials. I applied for a bursary through the university and was lucky enough to receive it. The bursary has helped me pay for my baby’s expenses and allowed me to focus on my studies and made life much easier. There is actually a lot of support out there if you know where to look. I earned flexibly doing things like online reviews with The OpinionPanel Community.
Finding affordable childcare so that I could attend lectures and get time to study has also been a big worry for me. There is a nursery on-campus, which is amazing and mostly used by staff. This was a really expensive option for me though, and the waiting list for a place was months! I am lucky to have a supportive family, and my mum came down as much as she could to help. I also signed up for a childcare exchange with another local family, which has been a lifesaver. It meant I found other mums to share my ups and downs with and get support. We share our childcare to save money.and it’s more flexible than nurseries.
My university has a student support team that has been helpful in providing guidance and advice on a range of topics, including childcare, financial assistance, and mental health support. I have also connected with other parents in a similar situation, and it’s been comforting to know that I am not alone.
Staying Motivated and Happy
One of the biggest struggles I have faced as a young mum in uni is time management. Juggling coursework, lectures, and childcare can be overwhelming. I try to set a schedule for myself and stick to it as much as possible. I make the most of the time when my baby is sleeping for studying. Luckily a lot of the course content these days is online lectures and recordings, which means I can study at my own pace.
Staying motivated can be a real challenge. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the motivation to study when you’re exhausted. I work on setting achievable goals and rewarding myself when I achieve them. It can be something as simple as treating myself to a cup of coffee or taking a break to watch my favourite show.
I am lucky to have a supportive family and I also try to connect with other young mums. I have joined online groups for young mums and it’s been helpful to connect with other people who understand what I’m going through. I’d recommend Gingerbread – an amazing charity that helped me.
You Can Do It Being a young mum in uni is not an easy journey, but it’s definitely achievable. While there are definitely challenges, I am determined to succeed and show my baby that anything is possible with hard work and perseverance. And to other young mums starting university with a baby, remember that you are not alone, you can achieve your academic goals while being an amazing mum. If I can do it so can you!