Hannah Greaves

Blogger, Student, Mother, Feminist

I'm Hannah, 21, and a full-time History Undergraduate student and Mum to Arlo, 3. I finished my last A level exam when I was 36 weeks pregnant and took what was effectively a maternity leave/gap year out to spend time raising my son alone, before starting a 3 year History and History and Philosophy of Science Degree at Leeds University. I started blogging to help inspire other young mothers to go into higher education and to try and challenge the stigma surrounding young single mothers; we are often labelled as stupid, irresponsible benefit scroungers who, by making the decision to have a child young have forfeited their aspirations and careers, something I hope to change. The University system in my experience is not easily accommodating for the unpredictability of parenthood, financially they are supportive but in terms of flexibility it is somewhat lacking, and this is somewhat challenging when you have an entire small unpredictable, human entirely dependent upon you

Walking around campus as a student parent is an entirely different experience, I am constantly aware of my status as someone not living the full student experience, its quite easy to take the little things as personally insulting' 'No I can't go to your last minute secret house party, I have to be home at half 5 before nursery closes' The freedom of the other students who possess the ability to leave the house after half past 7.

As a parent, I have become interested in Attachment Theory and try as much as I possibly can to be as Gentle and as Natural a parent as possible. I fully support breastfeeding for as long as the parent and child wish to do so, co-sleeping with your children and most importantly for me, babywearing. I am a volunteer at a Sling Library and have always loved keeping Arlo close and comfortable with me. The journey from A level student to parent was tough, it involved finding a whole new tribe of people, other mums to communicate with, people who are at very different stages in their life to me. Parenting is all about finding your tribe, the community of support and advice and relatability when it comes to the dark days of sleep deprivation and bleeding nipples.

My message is all about the plausibility of being a successful student parent, it just requires a unique determination, organisation and efficiency, and the ability to go without sleep, socialising and freedom for intense periods of time. However, to be brutally honest everything, the struggles of coming from such a bad place when I fell pregnant, the feelings of abandonment when my son's biological father and his family decided they did not want to be a part of our lives, to starting and attempting to socialise, make friends and balance a long commute with the responsibility of running a household on my own and raising a child, but way more to the point, actually enjoying it and thriving! I have learnt over the past 2 years how to enjoy the two very distinct spheres in which I live. That sometimes having an electronic babysitter is okay if essays are due and it's occasionally okay to leave uni early so I can spend an extra 3 hours at home just playing with Arlo and enjoying being a mum!