University mums need more support

Did you know that in 2016 more than 700 students at Oxford University had children?

According to The Guardian, 60 per cent of students considered leaving their course and that rose to 65 per cent if they were single parents.

One of the students the newspaper spoke to was Ash Mohanaprakas who discovered she was pregnant when completing her undergraduate degree.

She said she felt ‘constantly lonely’ trying to juggle motherhood with her studies.

Ash said she also struggled financially and felt rejection from the community.

“I crammed a full academic schedule into my daughter’s nursery hours,’ she says. “It was exhausting. I breastfed at 5am while trying to finish essays. My tutors were very kind, but as an institution, Oxford does not expect you to be a mother.”

She could only afford to have childcare for her son for two days a week and the rest of the time she looked after him and studied at night when he was asleep.

Ash completed her studies and wants to show that young women can have a child and complete a degree.

“I want to show women in my position that they can achieve anything they want.”

Another student who spoke to the newspaper was Anna Sarkissian, who returned to Oxford when her daughter was four months old.

She said in an interview she struggled to find somewhere to breastfeed and eventually he was given a small office.

“It took a long time just to find somewhere to nurse and work,” she says. “Eventually my department found me an office, which was great, but you have to push for everything you need to be able to complete your degree.”

Are you a student mother? What has been your experience? Get in touch with us via our contacts page, we’d love to hear your story.

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