Being a Mum doesn't mean your dreams should be put on hold.
Exactly three years ago on 2nd October 2010 I started a degree with the Open University. At the time, I was a single unemployed Mum with a 14 month old daughter. I had just been made redundant and instead of burying my head in the sand of self pity I decided to think about what I really wanted to do. So, in between applying for jobs as the redundancy deadline loomed, I applied for not one course, but two courses with the Open University. Thirty-two hours of study each week. I wasn't working so believed I could do it. My life snowballed. The same month I started with the OU, I found a job and I met my partner.
Work meant I could no longer devote 32 hours per week to my studies but by this time I was already committed. I was looking after my daughter single handedly and when she finally went to bed I studied. It was absolutely draining and I was exhausted. The months passed in a blur and the tiredness would not let up. Then, I received the bombshell news and it's shrapnel shattered my tiny world forever.
I was pregnant.
Despite having fertility treatment for my first and believing I could never have children, baby number two was determined to be part of my life. So now I was juggling work, university assignments and childcare responsibilities with fortnightly hospital visits that are neccessary with high risk pregnancies.
My baby was born by emergency crash caesarian section during the weeks between one course finishing and the next starting. I was revising at four in the morning in my hospital bed unable to sleep due to the noise and the pressure and I put upon myself to pass.
Luckily I passed both modules and was on to the next two and I was also looking after a two year old and a new born.
Soon, life settled into a comfortable routine and I loved being at home with the children and my studies gave me some adult time to indulge in things I wanted to do. The 4am feed meant I couldn't sleep so I used to sit in the quiet of the lounge and continue my studies uninterupted.
Then, another miracle happened and again I had to face juggling assignments with looking after two children, hospital visits and severe spd caused by the pregnancy. Eventually my body was showing signs of pre eclampsia and the midwife admitted me to hospital. Baby number three was born by caesarian section. Again I was studying from my hospital bed and then had to look after three children aged three and under on my return home. Again, the 4am feeds gave me an opportunity to study. My eldest was at preschool during the morning and the other two napped so this gave me a bit more time to devote to my course.
It was hard work and there were quite a few tears and tantrums. But I did it!! I am so proud that all the hard work paid off and I was awarded a 2.1 honours degree and next month I will be sharing my graduation day with my partner. Today, my certificate arrived. Exactly three years since I started my very first course, sitting in the classroom wondering if I could really achieve my dream. I've done it! Every single minute, every single tear was absolutely worth it.