University is hard and being a mother is even harder but does that make being a mom and a student impossible? Shows like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom have been accused of glamorizing teen pregnancy but they also show that the challenges can be overcome. Becoming pregnant while still in school/college does not mean that education has to stop. Yes, it becomes more of a challenge, but determination and inspiration can overcome any obstacle.
A good support system is the key to success of any kind so letting the relevant people, i.e. family, friends and the university know about the pregnancy at an early stage is important. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the number of teenagers giving birth in Ireland has fallen by 35% in the last decade. While this drop is welcomed, an unplanned pregnancy during college is not the end of the world.
Sheila Crowley fell pregnant at 25 while halfway through her higher diploma. She had her daughter, Sadie, at 26. She says that the hardest thing she has ever done is stay in education after having a child and she could not have achieved her degree without the help of her boyfriend and family.
She said, “It’s harder to stay focused, work to long-term goals and at times sleep deprivation makes it almost impossible to remember the smallest thing outside of breathing and nappy changes.
“I was half way through a post grad – higher diploma in arts in primary education. I absolutely would not have finished without the help of my boyfriend’s mother. I can’t fathom how people can do it on their own.”
Gina O Brien is another success story when it comes to third level education mixing with motherhood. Gina was six months pregnant when she did her leaving certificate. This along with morning sickness did not stop her achieving her first choice of New Media and English in the University of Limerick.
After deferring for a year to have her daughter Isabelle at 19, Gina continued on to third level and has recently graduated with a 2.1 degree and has begun a masters degree in UCD.
“My family was great, I could not have done UL or UCD without them. […] when I needed to leave Cork, I knew Izzy was alright and safe! They took care of her whenever they could.”
These determined women show that with the right support system and inspiration from their children a third level education is not just a dream but a reality.
(Text originally published on Studenty_Cork on 20 September 2012 http://cork.studenty.me/2012/09/20/does-pregnancy-mean-the-end-of-education/)