Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Studying while pregnant:

How pregnancy is making secure mature aged student, Bec Foley feel like an insecure first year.
By Bec Foley
Date: May 03 2015
Editor Rating:

Being a mature age student has its advantages.

I’d say we’re generally better at time management, we’ve had our ample share of hangovers (and by god we’re done with them), and we don’t talk in the library (sure, we’re also the only ones who care about people talking in the library. Whatevs).

In the dreaded group project, it’s wise to seek us out. We’ll do the work, often project manage the task, and have a vested interest in doing well (do you know what it takes to give up life, careers, money, lifestyles and go back to being a student? Damn right we want to ace the subject).

We lack self-doubt, inhibition and financial constraints. We also get pregnant. Sometimes by accident. But we’re ultimately happy about that. And it’s usually not an awkward, tricky situation that one might find oneself in as a twenty-something. For this thirty-something, it was the best news ever. But how to add that into the mix of study, life, job and so on and so forth?

For this mature age student (MAS) it meant a ‘shit, we’d better shack up together’ rather quick move from the Blue Mountains to the city. Which meant sharing space with someone for the first time in a long time. Which meant anxiety at judgement over my lack of savings and plethora of shoes.

It meant selling the car and being public transport reliant.

It meant changing jobs, changing industry, starting over, knocking back on shifts and over-night struggling financially. What the what???

Pregnancy is by far the weirdest experience of my life. And I’ve been adventurous. I’ve silently meditated for 16 hours a day for 10 days. I’ve been married and divorced in the space of 6 weeks. I ventured to Istanbul from London on the whim of my heart for a Persian refugee. All NOTHING compared to the freakish, hormonal-assault that is pregnancy.

High as a kite on oxytocin one day, crying watching Pharrell’s Happy video clip the next. All the while gradually growing physically unrecognisable in the mirror.  Wanting to eat a chicken curry pie and a piece of carrot cake in the same mouth-full. Knowing a glass of pinot is at least 18 months away. Oh the humanity!

By the time your mid thirties roll around, generally you have a good grasp on life. You know how to get a car rego’d. You’ve travelled. People ask you for advice. You’re actually on a iPhone plan, not a month to month.

You had become a resilient, powerful, confident, nay, awesome person.

And then you go and get pregnant. And suddenly you’re the guy on the bus tearing up over a sun gazing meme on facebook. You try studying, working 4 – 5 days a week, and keeping up your general life commitments on top of the hormone circus.

I fooled myself into thinking that I could quickly knock out a subject this semester. My last assignment would be due in June, my baby in July. Perfect! Oh, what a novice! There are doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, gestational diabetes clinics, antenatal classes, midwifery consults.

There’s your own mental / emotional / spiritual health. There’s the feeling that you just DON’T CARE about the assignment you’ve been instructed to do.

Trying to wrestle with the interest of a subject at uni is difficult enough. And when you’ve got the hormones of PMS on speed, some pretty challenging choices, and a fundamental shift in the direction of your life, this wrestling is exacerbated. Ever the pragmatist, I try, knowing my usual zest for HD has dwindled to a ‘P’s get degrees’ ethos.

And then comes the begging for an extension. They’re warranted, sure. But it feels pathetic to a MAS. And it means that you’re dragging out your own study –  Oh god – to a time even closer to your baby’s due date.

Sweet jesus. Just as your pregnancy is intensifying, so is the pressure to bust out one more essay. Sure, my head will explode.

I don’t know how this story ends. I DO know I still have two assessments due, and a baby, within the space of six weeks. Sleep at this point is nil. Care factor is zero. Excitement volume is set to “whoa sh*t”.

So please Mr Tutor, go easy on this MAS cos for once, she’s the one who feels like a scared, insecure, first year.

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