You, Me & University

If you would have said to me three years ago that I would have been pregnant with my son during my graduation ceremony, standing next to the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, I would have said you were crazy.

I always knew that I would go to university but I did not for one minute think I’d find my soul mate there. Larry and I didn’t officially meet during the first year of university, although we were on the same course, we hung around with different people. It wasn’t until the very last day of term that we finally started speaking. A big group of us went out for drinks to celebrate the end of the year, and from then we became the best of friends. With a few complications in-between, a holiday to Valencia, and many meals and pub nights later, we began our second year of university as a couple. Taking time off to go on our second holiday together in Berlin and Prague, I knew from then I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.

Surviving the stresses of second year, we stayed strong and committed to both our studies and each other and made it into the third year of university stronger than ever. No relationship is perfect and I will be the first to admit that spending every day with someone in the same classes did not come easy at the best of times. Some would even go as far to say that mixing something as important as university with a relationship with someone who is going through the exact same thing, is something to probably avoid. For us that wasn’t an option. No matter how tough it got we continued to make time for each other fighting for the ultimate balance between our studies and our relationship.

Three months into our final and most important year we were off for Christmas. We were in Westfields buying the last of our Christmas presents and I remember just feeling so sick. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until Christmas Day when I was refusing every single drink put in front of me that I knew that either I was very ill or I was pregnant.

After celebrating Larry’s birthday which falls on Boxing Day, I took a pregnancy test on 27th December. Well that’s a lie. I took two pregnancy tests as I actually couldn’t believe my eyes the first time round. And yes, forget the Timberland boots I brought him that year,  this was the biggest gift I could have ever given him. But sadly we didn’t know it just yet.

It was unplanned and we wasn’t about to deny that. That week consisted of discussion after discussion about what to do. We were in our final year of university. About to graduate after three years of hard work, could I really risk failing my degree? Nope. I was determined to stick at my course and graduate. And that’s exactly what I did.

It was tough. There were days I felt like giving up. But I did it. And I owe it all to Larry. Without his support and patience and for always believing in me, I did it. And so did he.

Once university lectures had finished I returned to work full time and balancing final projects with working full time all the while being pregnant was not the easiest. I went on maternity leave and before I knew it we got our results. I had done it. It was time to graduate.

I was sick with nerves. Although a lot of people knew that I was pregnant from my announcement on Facebook, some lectures and peers were none the wiser so turning up to the ceremony I was so anxious about being judged. Collecting my certificate on stage in front of all of those people was one of the most nerve racking things I had ever done. I almost felt guilty for not letting everyone know I was pregnant before hand but I didn’t want it to affect anything at university. Looking back I don’t really know why I kept it a secret for so long (I’ll do a post about my struggles whilst pregnant at university for anyone going through the same thing later on).

As I finish this post with my Arlo laid beside me in our very first home together, three months into motherhood, I am so glad I stuck with my studies and got to graduate. For anyone else who has recently found out that they are pregnant whilst studying, go with your gut and what feels right for you and you may just end up surprising yourself on what you can accomplish…

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