In my previous post, I described when and how we told our families about our pregnancy. Given our cultural differences, this was a great challenge. Now, I will move on to another difficulty we encountered. When I found out I was pregnant, I had only been in my Master’s degree for about a month. When I started the degree, the professors informed us that it is a very intense course and that we should not have jobs, as we would not be able to cope with both. I’d already been there for roughly four weeks and I could see what they meant. Every day, I was at university from 9-5 and, every Tuesday, I was there from 8am till 10pm! I was worried about how I was going to do this while being pregnant, but I was determined not to quit.
My commute to university was also fairly long, as I had to get a train for an hour and 10 minutes plus a subway for 20 minutes. The more annoying thing was that my train was only hourly. If I missed one train, I’d be left at the station waiting an hour for the next one. At the time, I couldn’t afford to live in London, because Student Finance do not fund transport or living costs for a Master’s degree. They do it only for Bachelor’s. This was a bit of a pain, as it was the cold winter months, and I’d end up freezing outside while waiting for my next train.
In December, I was just going into my second month of pregnancy and I was feeling the side effects of the first trimester, like morning sickness. This was not the most ideal timing because I was currently on a work placement for a radio station in the city. Every train journey in the early hours of the morning made me feel so sick, and every time the train arrived at the last destination (London Bridge) I had to rush to the bathroom. When you have morning sickness, there is no cure for it, even if you try all of the home or natural remedies to stop it it did not work for me.
When I was on placement, I was being sent out on all different jobs, for example, interviews. Most days, my morning sickness went by midday, which I was very thankful about. However, I can always remember there was one day when I felt so ill all day and I couldn’t keep any food down at all! All I wanted was to just go home and curl up on the sofa with a blanket. Unfortunately, I did not have this option, as I needed to get a certain amount of days at my work placement. I can remember being so thankful that on this day I was sent out to Wimbledon to get an interview for one of their radio shows, as I couldn’t bear being stuck in a stuffy office all day feeling ill. All I wanted was to go out and get fresh air.
I had a lot of deadlines in December as well, and I also had a big media law exam coming up in January. We did get a lot of time off over the Christmas holidays. But, because I chose to do my work placement during this period, I was limited on the time I could spend on my assignments. I decided purposely to do my placement then, as I knew that as the weeks and months went on, that I would be getting bigger. Doing my work placement then, I thought, might be more difficult for me. Therefore, I decided to try and get it finished before this. Luckily enough, I had two weeks off of my placement at Christmas time. Therefore, I took this opportunity to cram all of my assignments in, which was quite stressful.
I didn’t tell my university that I was pregnant at first just because I was concerned about how they would react. We had to do a final project in the second semester. We could pick to do either a TV documentary or a radio podcast. I was quite close with my supervisor who was monitoring my final project, so I confided in her about my pregnancy. She told me that there was a student the previous year who had been pregnant while on the course and she managed to do both well at the same time. This gave me a lot more confidence.
I told one of my friends from university that I was expecting a baby. Then, I told a few more but not to many (there were around 80 people in my course). So, I was kind of hoping that once I told a few people, the word would get around. However, surprisingly to me, this didn’t actually happen.
One day towards the end of February to the beginning of March, it snowed a lot in the country, including London. This happened to be on one of our assigned TV show days, and I was meant to be live reporting with one of my friends. However, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do live reporting because of the risk of me slipping over on ice. I had to tell the producer of the show that I was unable to do it that morning. I explained to him the reasons and he understood. I was really disappointed that I was unable to go outside and do the live reporting. But I knew that I didn’t want to risk slipping.
My second and third semesters at university were not as busy as the first, which I was very thankful about. Back in the first semester, I applied for an internship which I was offered at the time. However, I knew that it would be too much for me to juggle with my pregnancy as well, and I didn’t want to stress myself out too much. So, I declined the offer. I managed to finish all of my exams and assignments and I ended up getting a very high overall final score in my degree. I would have liked a distinction, but I was proud of what I achieved, as I had a lot going on at the time. The way I dealt with most of this was managing my time correctly and starting my assignments in advance to make sure that I did not get stressed out as much with time.
One of my major concerns after I finished my degree was whether or not it would be difficult for me to get into the media industry because I have a young child. I had my exit tutorials with one of my lecturers in June, and he cleared this all up for me by reassuring me that it wouldn’t be an issue. He also told me about how the student who was pregnant in the year before managed to get a job working for the BBC. This reassured me so much, and gave me so much more confidence about getting back into the media industry.
To be continued.