We’re in the season of chapters closing and new adventures on the horizon as schools wrap up another year and graduates walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. It brings back memories of my own college graduation and how I spent my final year of college balancing school and my first pregnancy.
My husband and I had just moved to a new city the year before, and I transferred to a nearby university at the start of my junior year because of the move. Soon after my senior year began, I discovered I was pregnant. Our excitement was soon tempered with worry when I began bleeding just a couple weeks later. I was able to get in quickly with my doctor and was relieved to find out that the baby was okay but I would need to rest until the bleeding stopped. That meant I would miss a couple sessions of one of the most important classes in my major, and there weren’t any remote learning options for this class. When I called my professor to tell him I would miss class, he quickly assured me that my absences wouldn’t negatively affect my grade and that he would help me stay caught up while I was on modified bedrest.
Soon after I was cleared to return to school and normal activity, morning sickness – in reality, all-day sickness – arrived. This was probably the most challenging aspect of pregnancy to try to manage during school since my need to run to the bathroom often presented itself in the middle of class. Thankfully, most of my classrooms were close to bathrooms, and I had a schedule that gave me breaks in between classes. I did find that carrying snacks such as crackers, carrot sticks, and apple slices to nibble on throughout my day did help a bit.
By the time I was in my second trimester, the morning sickness had subsided. Throughout the rest of the school year, though, I dealt with insomnia and middle-of-the-night food cravings. I decided to take advantage of my inability to sleep and had many 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. study sessions while eating a pudding cup.
During the latter part of my pregnancy, I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. While wearing a brace did help a little, I struggled with all of the time I needed to be at a computer typing – both for school and for my parttime job. In the end, I did have to cut back on my hours at work. My doctor had told me that sometimes carpal tunnel pain doesn’t end with pregnancy, but thankfully the symptoms went away after my daughter was born.
I walked across the stage to receive my diploma almost exactly a month before I gave birth. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to my college years, yet I knew my education wasn’t over. The knowledge I was about to gain when my daughter arrived was something I couldn’t even imagine.
My professors in the classroom soon were replaced with a small but supportive group of friends and family members who were already parents. Some were in the midst of their breastfeeding journeys and shared such wonderful and practical advice. One friend even gifted me The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and invited me to a meeting of the local La Leche League Group.
While I no longer live near that friend or Group, I’m so grateful to remain connected to LLL through social media and, occasionally, an online meeting. Parenting is filled with endings and new beginnings, and LLL has remained a constant throughout it all.
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Supporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always
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