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07th Sep 2015

In Her Shoes: “I Found Out I Was Pregnant In My First Year Of College”

It's been a challenging few years.


“It’s been a challenging few years.”

With college terms kicking off around the country, we caught up with reader Andrea in the third part of our #InHerShoes series to talk about continuing her education and the day that changed her life.


I always wanted to be a nurse.

Back as far as I can remember, I played games about being a nurse, I listened to my mother’s stories from the ward and I believed that I would follow in her footsteps one day.

Having this dream ensured I kept my head down in school and was looking forward to going on to college and following my dreams.

I was 17 when I got accepted into the course. Like thousands of students around the country, I packed up and geared up for what was undoubtedly a new chapter in my life.


My boyfriend was going to the same college as me to study Engineering, and things were pretty great.

Roll on just three short months later though, and I was sitting in his apartment with a positive pregnancy test in my hand and my world as I knew it crashing down right before my very eyes.

I didn’t know what to do.

My dreams of college, my plans to go on a J1 visa the following summer, everything – all suddenly disappeared before my eyes.


The day I had to tell my parents was probably the worst day of my life. Their faces that day in the kitchen is something I’ll never forget, and honestly, I feel like my mother knew the minute she saw me.

Luckily for me, they rallied around me immediately – a fact I will never take for granted.

My boyfriend and I talked through all of our options and decided that we wanted to keep the baby – even though it meant my life was about to take a completely different path.

His family weren’t as happy about the situation though and they didn’t want to see me, or even hear my name throughout my pregnancy.

They told me I’d ruined his life.


And even though I knew they were wrong, that was a guilt I carried around for most of my pregnancy.

It wasn’t a guilt that it was all my fault, but a little part of me wondered if we’d still be together by now if this hadn’t happened to us.

Moving on, I had quite a rough pregnancy, so it was hard to hold down the part-time job I had in our local shop as I often felt faint and dizzy.

Friends came home from colleges around the country at the weekends and in my mind, I felt like they were all whispering about me behind my back.

Those first few weeks after I started showing were awful. I was sure everyone in the village was looking at me, and as the pregnancy progressed, felt enormous as I lumbered down the street to and from the shop.

My boyfriend supported me to a point, but I knew that he’d prefer to be spending his weekends out and about with the lads, than spending them inside with me.


Eventually, we broke up. I was eight months pregnant and again, felt like life had just dealt me another curveball.

Our son was born just a few weeks later, and it’s a day I will never forget.

People say it’s impossible to describe that feeling when you look at your child for the first time, and I can do no better.

There simply are no words. He was absolutely perfect.

The next few months though were hell on earth for me – and that’s putting it mildly, as I’m sure any parent with a newborn in the house can agree.


From feeds to nappies to attempting to shower the odd time, to numerous occasions where I just broke down in tears – to say it was overwhelming is an understatement.

My ex, to be fair to him, was great, and his family soon warmed to me – or rather their new grandson – fairly quickly.

There was support there and I will always be grateful to my friends and family for that.

But, there was still something missing.

About a year after he was born, I started dreaming of college again.


I know – I bet it sounds ridiculous. A single mother, still a teenager and working the odd few hours in the local shop, now looking to go to college.

But I wanted it – I wanted it so badly.

I still dreamed of being a nurse, but couldn’t fathom how I was going to do it with a little baby on my hands.

I couldn’t shake the idea though, and I enrolled in a short, part-time course some 15 months later.

That whet my appetite for a while, but it still wasn’t enough.

Three years later, after much saving, planning, determination and organizing, I was headed for college once more though.


When our son headed off to school on his first day, I was also making plans for my first day once more.

And here I am – two years later now and the going is incredibly tough.

The hours are long, the study is intense but I love every single second of it.

Again, I can’t stress how lucky I am to have the support of my family behind me – without their help, I wouldn’t be on the road to my dreams now.

And though I realize there’s still a very difficult journey ahead, I’m ready for it.

If I need to take a year out, I will. At the end of the day, my son is my priority. He really is the light of my life, and seeing him happy and knowing that I’m on the way to bettering myself in order to better his life is what keeps me going on the long, dark nights.


One day, I hope he’ll be proud of me too and will proudly tell the kids in the playground that his mammy is a nurse, just like I did all those years ago.

I couldn’t imagine life without him now and it’s fair to say, he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

It may not be the life I’d planned so meticulously, but it’s one I wouldn’t give up for anything in the world.