Daytime naps, nauseous seminars, and dropping out: What it’s like being pregnant as a Trent fresher
I thought ‘oh crap, what am I supposed to do now?’
Lauryn, a first year student at Nottingham Trent University, knew something wasn’t right when she started feeling sick, missing her period and going off certain foods she usually loved. After taking two pregnancy tests, she discovered she was pregnant.
After first thoughts of "Oh crap, what am I supposed to do now? How is the baby’s father going to react? What will my parents say?”, Lauryn realised she still had to get on with her Business Management and Economics degree.
We interviewed Lauryn to find out exactly what it’s like being pregnant at university .
I would sleep the whole day and night if I could
As a uni student, napping during the day is par for the course, so it wasn't too much of an adjustment for Lauryn, "but pregnancy tiredness is a different type of tiredness," she says. "It really takes up all of your energy. I just wanted to stay comfortable in my bed all day and I would sleep the whole day and night if I could.”
Her morning sickness was severe and this meant she missed 9am lectures and seminars. The ones she did attend she struggled to focus at because she kept thinking about her nausea.
It was easy to eat the right diet for my baby and to fit hospital appointments around my uni timetable
Although she went off certain foods (including Nandos which she was gutted about), living in student accomodation in the city was a great benefit to Lauryn because she was surrounded by supermarkets that allowed her to easily buy the right food to eat for the baby.
When she had time off of work and a big gap between her lectures and seminars, Lauryn would make her early pregnancy appointments at the hospital – they were only a five minute walk away, so she said it was relatively easy to fit them in around her class schedule.
My uni friends were judgemental and kept telling me to have an abortion
The reaction of Lauryn’s family and friends from back home to the news of her pregnancy were positive, and Lauryn described them as “supportive and understanding”. It was actually some of Lauryn's uni friends who gave her less support. "Some of them kept telling me I should have an abortion", she said, and admits she's had to distance herself from them because they weren't on the same page as her.
The greatest lesson she learned from this experience was that "during the most significant times of your life, how the people around you act says a lot.”
If I could go back in time I would have spoken to the university about my pregnancy
Lauryn didn’t tell the university about her pregnancy. “At the time I didn’t look into child care provision at the uni because I was set on coming back home to live with my mum,” she says, but admits she wished she’d told the university.
I do miss living the typical student city life
Giving up the uni nightlife wasn't too hard, but there are some spots in Notts it's difficult to get over. "Surprisingly I don't miss consuming alcohol and not drinking has done wonders for my health," she says. "But I do miss the clubs – Pryzm and Ink – and flat parties and student events. However, this doesn't compare to the happiness this baby has already brought me."
I wasn’t upset to drop out of university
It was early February of first year when Lauryn discovered she was pregnant, and by the end of April she had left university and moved out of Nottingham completely.
She wasn't too upset to leave uni, as she missed home and needed support from her parents and friends. "My pregnancy hasn’t impacted my career plans, the only difference is now there will be a two or three year delay before this happens," she says. "Once my daughter is at nursery I plan to study a new course at a uni closer to my home where I can easily commute to.”
Balancing uni work with raising a child will be a challenge
The greatest struggle Lauryn anticipates will be when she decides to resume studying at university; she knows that balancing uni work with raising a child will be challenging, and she's worried about the struggle of finding someone to babysit her daughter when she resumes both work and university.
Despite this fear, at present Lauryn has still impressively managed to keep up working 2 jobs: waitressing at a wedding venue and waitressing / bar work at a restaurant. "It has been challenging – especially in my third trimester – because of the strain it puts on my body. But I'm doing this to be in a good financial situation in preparation for the baby; babies aren't cheap – the prices of nappies alone are ridiculous!"