Surviving Life as a Student Mum: My Story

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Student life is never easy; clubbing till 6 in the morning, ready meals every day, leaving deadlines to the last minute… oh how did we cope!? lol

No but seriously, as a student, we all faced our academic obstacles and no matter how big or small they were, we were seriously challenged mentally and physically- so imagine how hard it was as a student mum!

Lets rewind to 2018… Picture this, I was a student completing the oh so strenuous 2nd year of my Music degree. I was exceptionally tired, as lets face it, who in their right mind would effortlessly wake up for a lecture at 9 in the morning after student late-night shenanigans!? Secondly, It was half way through spring term and guess what, I had deadlines galore!

Now, as I mentioned before, being a student can be ridiculously testing, taxing, demanding… you name it, it was TOUGH. Students are pushed to their utmost limits, especially in university. At this point in my life there was nothing I wanted more than to turn back time “to the good old days” (haha). I’d drop everything just to return to the years of simplicity when homework was the only drawback, it was easy then… right!?

So lets get back to imagining that scenario…

I was in a flourishing relationship with my partner, I worked part time at a flexible job and the end of my 2nd year was in sight.

Well… it was until the day I found out I was PREGNANT with Maya!

If you have also been in this situation, I am sure you know what it feels like to have your mind literally clouded by pregnancy. I’m not only talking ‘pregnancy brain’ but the entire indeterminacy of future prospects. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue my degree… heck, I didn’t even know if I would be able to continue that year!

However, One whole busy year and a bit later, I did it! And now, I am writing this blog post today, as a newly graduated music student. (My graduation is in fact at the end of the year, but who’s checking!? lol )

I am not going to sugar-coat this one bit. I’ll tell you now, my pregnancy was not easy. I’ve spent hours at night, reading countless blog posts and watching many the youtube video of women singing the praises of their pregnancy experience! They go on talking about how easy it’s been; must be nice having no heartburn, no weight gain, miniature baby bumps and still feeling/looking like themselves!

My pregnancy wasn’t anything like that and it sure did make studying difficult.

However, I am not going to turn my first blog post into a sob story. What I am going to do is tell you what I found most challenging, how I overcame it and how I survived this rocky road as a pregnant student and a student mum !

Time management

I am not going to lie, even before I became a mother, time management was not my strong point. No matter how much I wanted to be on time, I was still late! And of course, it got worse.

Morning sickness was the biggest contributor to this and sadly, there was not much I could do about it. There are numerous morning sickness remedies that may help temporarily however, the entire ordeal is incredibly unpredictable. There is nothing, zilch, NADA nice about wanting to regurgitate the entire your contents of your stomach because you caught a whiff of something -which didn’t necessarily smell bad to the average human at all.

My approach was to wake up early enough- that way, if I needed to be sick, it would be at home and not all over my fellow classmates! Just remember, It doesn’t last forever!

Now, once my daughter was born I was extremely lucky to get plenty of help from friends and family however as an EBF (Exclusively breastfeeding) mother, if my clingy baby was hungry, I was NOT going anywhere! This did get better as time went on, I was able to increase my pumping supply, even found myself pumping at uni- Impressive huh? 😉 It just became important that I fed Maya just before I left for uni as she usually fell asleep after drinking.

When it came to completing assignments- when she slept, I worked, simple as that.

Student finance

Student finance was my biggest saviour during my pregnancy and I will stand by this 100%… I was a student, who needed finance!

I know it may not seem like the best thing to rely on, (more money to pay back in the future… yay?) but it was by far the best option I had.

Many of you might be thinking “but Shayla, didn’t you say you had a job!?”… But let me tell you this, even with my job, there was nooo way 16 hours of retail work could get myself and my daughter everything we needed- and that is exactly why I took full advantage of what was available to me at the time.

So thank you, Student Finance for saving my life!

Does it ever get easier?

Of course it does…

kind of

In all honesty, you may find some things get easier whilst others become more difficult. In my case, after birth, my energy began to restore over time which was great! I had more energy to practice my violin, go to university and do my work. Unfortunately, babies do grow up (way too fast if you ask me ): ).

Nap times get shorter and less frequent and they start to move! This is why it was necessary for me to defer my assessments as most of my time during the day was spent keeping Maya entertained and chasing her around the house.

While this blog post may sound like a list of how hard life is as a student mum, I assure you, it does get better and when you’re not studying, you are spending some of the best moments of your life with your bundle of joy. This is the HARDEST part- if you can deal with this, you can surely deal with anything.

If I could, I would ramble on for pages and pages about this- but for now, as I wanted to keep this relatively short and sweet, I will end the blog post here. I hope this post gave a clearer insight into being a student parent.

If you’re studying and either pregnant or a mother, just know it does get better!

Feel free to let me know about your experiences and Good luck!

-Shayla x

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