Breast Milk, Peppa Pig & Rising to the Occasion: Student Parenting

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I’m one of those girls your friend’s friend knows; one of the surprisingly large number of people who don’t realise they’re pregnant for some time (in my case, about 8 months).

Like most students, I’ve made some flawless decisions during my time at University. Indisputably, the biggest of which was failing to notice I’d caught a quite serious case of pregnancy, until well into my third trimester. My second flawless decision was to move back home to Newcastle to raise this immaculate conception and commute here every week to finish my degree. It’s going so well that I thought I’d write this to show off.

You might think that transitioning from university student to parent would be quite daunting. You’re not wrong. There are however, some real parallels that can help bridge that gap; taking my son onto campus is comfortingly comparable to dragging lightweight friends’ home from Fruity in my first year. Both the toddler and the lightweight will slur their words and babble incoherent nonsense loudly, despite your best efforts to ‘shh’ them. Both may try and run away unexpectedly in the direction of something more fun. There’s a fair chance that either will throw up and/or shit themselves and, if they do, anyone in the vicinity will make sure you know that it’s your responsibility to sort out. I’d like to take this moment to sincerely thank all my old flatmates for making me the parent I am today.
Here are some other things I have learnt during my illustrious career as a ‘Uni-mum’:

  • Always take your baby with you to meetings with personal tutors, lecturers etc… nothing dispels tension like a toddler farting loudly and then shouting “OH NOOO” afterwards.
  • Buy your child novelty t shirts that say things like “when I grow up I want to go to the University of Leeds” so you can subtly remind strangers that you’re somewhat educated and not just a messy young mum with toothpaste on her forehead.
  • Always, and I mean always, check that you shut all the tabs on your laptop before you open it in the library. To the people of Brotherton Level 4 who I terrified with the Peppa Pig theme song during exam time, I’m sorry.
  • Never try to express milk in the toilets of the Stone Roses. There is nothing sadder than breastmilk leaking onto a velvet crop top.
  • Being a mum and a full-time student is an odd thing. It takes a lot of rising to the occasion and very little shame. When I came down for the Leeds Ball but forgot my ID, I went to the student union with my sons’ birth certificate (which had temporarily taken up residence at Brudenell Road, under his godmother’s desk). They accepted it as verifiable proof of age and confirmed my status as an undeniable genius. Motherhood has helped me blossom into a mature adult, I know.

Basically, what I’m saying is that if you’re a messy, unorganised student with no dignity, you’ll most likely make an excellent parent. Please someone, anyone, come and join me on my parental high horse and have a child, so I can befriend you and stop talking to the homemade-hummus-making-mums at my baby group. Please?

Lottie Ledger

Image credit: Lottie Ledger