What to expect when expecting baby, degree

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BYU student Vanessa Bronovski works hard at balancing both school and her pregnancy. (Maddi Driggs)
BYU student Vanessa Bronovski works hard to balance both school and her pregnancy. (Maddi Dayton)

Being pregnant while in school can be exhausting, but BYU students are prepared to face this life change head on.

American studies major Anna Kendall said it is difficult to balance school and a pregnancy because there are many factors expecting mothers have to think about as they are in school and transitioning into parenthood.

“It’s definitely hard because there’s a lack of motivation that comes with school,” Kendall said. “There’s another part of your life starting and at the same time, you’re trying to stay up to speed with school. As cliche as it sounds there’s a part of you that’s like ‘what’s the point?'”

Kendall said even though it is hard, she works to stay motivated and focused on the end goal of her pregnancy.

“Trying to see the pregnancy and birth not as a distraction but as a goal (is motivating). I have something to be working towards. I do want to finish school because I want my kids to say ‘my mom finished school and she values education,'” Kendall said.

Family life student Vanessa Bronovski said she dedicates her mornings and afternoons to getting everything done because she wants to let her body rest for the remainder of the day.

“This is the time when I focus more on myself and my family. I take short naps when I get home from school, and I try to eat all the nutrients that were not possible for me to consume while in school,” Bronovski said.

Eating healthy as a college student is already difficult, but getting the necessary nutrients while being pregnant and in school adds another layer of struggles, according to Kendall.

“In my first trimester I was really sick, and that’s usually the time where a lot of people don’t know about the pregnancy yet, so that was really hard,” Kendall said. “I had to pack a ton of different snacks because I didn’t know what I was going to want later on in the day. I have to really focus on meal planning in order to eat the right food or else I’ll just eat donuts all day because that’s what I really want.”

BYU English major Christy Eck said being in school during her pregnancy is not the most difficult part. Instead, she said she is worried about having a baby while in school and balancing life after the baby is born.

My main concern then will be not letting school get in the way of being a mother while still managing to pass my classes and hopefully get something out of them,” Eck said. 

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important parts of being pregnant and in school. Eck said this is her first semester not working while in school and it has allowed her to get more sleep.

“I have been much more religious about my sleep. It’s probably important for the health of the baby, and it’s definitely important for me to be a civil human being,” Eck said. I haven’t really gotten ahead on my work so far, but I have been getting a normal, human amount of sleep for almost the first time in my life. That alone has been worth it.” 

Kendall said she has had to change her priorities to help her get more sleep, and sometimes that means an assignment doesn’t get completed all the way.

“I know it’s important to get sleep for myself and the baby,” Kendall said. “I used to be able to stay up at night if I had a big assignment due, but I physically can’t do that anymore. I know if I do that I’ll be so sick afterward. I’m just trying to be good with planning ahead and getting homework done.”

Bronovski’s husband, Henrique Bronovski, studies information systems at BYU. He said he supports his wife in any way he can because he knows she has many life goals and he wants to make sure she fulfills those goals.

“The biggest support that I give to her is the motivation to keep going,” Henrique Bronovski said. “I know that she has many goals in her life, two of them are to be a mom and to graduate from BYU. Therefore, I know that this moment is very important for her; I show her my eternal love and unconditional support every day because I know she is capable if doing anything.”

Bronovski said she is grateful to her professors for understanding her situation. She said they help her balance her life as a student and a soon-to-be mom.

“However, I know that one way or another everything is going to work out. I am grateful for my teachers because they are concerned about me and my situation, and they have provided me so many different options so I can balance well my pregnancy and my exams,” Bronovski said.

Balancing school and pregnancy can be a stressful journey, but Bronovski is confident in her abilities and looks forward to this next step in her life.

“My plans are to not get stressed and to enjoy every moment of this journey. I am due during finals week, exactly on April 25. I shouldn’t be stressed and I know I need to make sure that I do great on my finals,” Bronovski said.

Bronovski said she understands her priorities right now, and even though she might feel sick or tired during her pregnancy, she is still trying to stay motivated.

“I know that I need to balance my time. Both pregnancy and school are important for me, they are extremely important goals. That is why I divide my day so I can give the priority and attention that each one needs,” Bronovski said.