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How can I juggle being a parent and studying midwifery?

A commonly asked question! Thinking about studying with a family, whether they are still young or are a bit older can be quite daunting. It may seem impossible to be a parent and a student midwife at the same time, but lots of people do it and here is some help and advice from those that are made the decision to study midwifery at different times of their life.

Only you will know when the time is right for you and your family, some find that studying while their children are younger is the best time, others may prefer to wait until their children are school age, or even left home!

Studying with young children

Some find that applying when their children are young is the best time. You’ve welcomed a new addition to your family, you are on maternity leave and thinking about a change of career seems to fit in with a big life change. Studying when the children are younger relies on flexible childcare; whether that is a nursery, child-minder or from friends and family. Some feel that when their children are smaller there is a chance to study and qualify before the children go to school.

Rachel decided to apply for the course when her daughter was just a year old. ‘I didn’t want to leave it too long and miss my chance. After my own birth experience and knowing that studying was still something I was familiar with, I needed to take action sooner rather than later, before other things got in the way. It was a hard decision because I was loving being at home with my daughter but I also needed to think about our future and what I wanted financially for our family, and for myself as a career in the long term.

Studying with older children

Others would prefer to wait until their youngest child is at school.

Sophie decided to apply once her son started school. ‘I wanted to be a midwife since having my son but I knew that he wouldn’t be small for long and I didn’t want to feel like I had missed out. I thought that once he went to school there would be less pressure on paying for childcare and might be an easier balance between studying and being a mum once he’s at full time school. Luckily my family was very supportive of going back to study and offered to help with school pickups and drop offs if I couldn’t be there.

When the children have left home and returning to study

It may be that you have always wanted to be a midwife and decided to wait or only realised later that midwifery is for you. There is no age limit to studying and once your children have their own independence then this might be the perfect time for you.

Jackie decided that once her own children left home to go to University, she would apply for her own course. ‘Midwifery was always my dream career, I knew that it was something that I wanted to look into, but the time never seemed right for me. Once my children had gone to University, I felt that it was my time. I was a bit apprehensive about going back to studying, although my access course really prepared me. I was also worried that I would be the oldest person on the course. Luckily there are lots of different ages that apply for midwifery ranging from school leavers to grandmothers, I wasn’t actually the oldest at all!. I didn’t want to have any regrets and I’m so pleased that I decided to take the plunge and start studying for my dream job’.

Common worries about studying often include finances, thinking about the cost of childcare, providing for the family and whether you would be able to get a bursary. There are things you can look into in advance; you’ll be able to see how much help you could get for your childcare, the childcare allowance is means tested and is a part of the bursary that is payable to NHS students.

Click here to find out more information on how you can get help with the cost of childcare.

Once you have looked into what financial help you could help, you just need to get excited about the prospect of applying for your course.

Top tips for studying with a family

  • Plan your finances
    Do you research into what sort of financial support you can expect to receive. Using a bursary calculator can help you plan for the time you are studying.
  • Support network
    Talk to your family and friends about studying. Having those that love you, support and encourage you will really help relieve the pressure of studying.
  • Make the most of your time at home
    Try and get the balance between studying and spending time with your family. Being organised with time to study and sticking to these times means you can still enjoy family time.
  • Find a designated study space
    Finding that place at home where you can study, leaving your books out and escape to when its quiet really helps to make the time you get to study, quality time.

Applying to midwifery can be a daunting time, especially when you have to think about your family and whether you can afford to study. We are there to support you and your application all the way.

Article written by Emily Seddon

Emily is a midwife with many years of experience. She is passionate about supporting midwives of the future. As a clinical mentor, student link and being on university interview panels, she knows what it takes to get a place!

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