CHALLENGES FACED BY STUDENT MOTHERS
Being a mother is hard but being a student mother is even harder than one can imagine. Student mothers go through many challenges but have to accept the fate.
Winnie Twemanye, a student of Journalism and Communication in her final year at Makerere University, conceived and gave birth to her son while in third year. Her life turned upside down especially when her parents disowned her and she grappled with balancing the school work load with this new responsibility. Nonetheless, she emphasizes that she does not regret her son and is, in fact, a proud mother.
Hellen Biira’s experience was different from Twemanye’s in that her mother was supportive. Yet, Biira also says it was challenging balancing parental responsibilities and education.
A year four student of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University, Biira also conceived at school during her first year. She discovered a new world of stress as she explains in the video below:
Stressing as it gets, the student mothers i spoke to all emphasized that getting pregnant is not the end of the world and abortion is not always the right decision.
Winfred Kwagala, another student mother commonly known as Maama Aaron, at department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University, says student mothers can retain focused, as being a student mother is normal and is not the end of life.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
Even when these young mothers are ready to face up to their challenge and hustle on with school and motherhood, how they continue with school depends on the rules and regulations that govern their respective institutions of learning.
For example, at Makerere University, the Deputy Dean, Mr. Stephen Kateega, explains that student mothers can attend class but have to vacate the halls of residence explains. “When a student comes to me complaining that she is facing difficulties because of pregnancy, I just pull out a copy of the rules and regulations of the university and see what it instructs,” says Kateega, referring to Makerere University Students Regulations, which are availed online all students to access.
Makerere University Students Regulations, 2015 Section 13(5(a)nd (b) stipulates;
“(a) In order cater for the safety of the unborn baby and its pregnant mother, a student who gets pregnant shall not be allowed to stay in Halls of Residence
(b) She must report to the Warden, move out of the Hall but may opt to come back into residence at least four months after delivery provided she does so without the baby.”
In some private Universities, student mothers go through changes starting from fellow students that is they report them to the authorities, make them feel out by laughing at them of place which makes them disillusioned as Nabulesa explains.
Deborah Nabulesa a student of Bugema University was forced to get a dead year because the students had reported her to the dean of Students that she had conceived.
THE HEALTH OF PREGNANT MOTHERS
In struggle to balance studies with parental responsibilities stress is inevitable and this comes with dangers to both the mother and the unborn child. Dr. Ronald Kavuma, said that stress can affect the moods of the mother, the impulse rates, the weight and others as explained in the audio below.
There are some survival tips that a mother can use to keep health like doing exercises especially walking to class, watching their diet and doing medical checkups .
Some students have resorted to abortion, however, this does not only put their lives in danger but also the law does not allow it that is Article 22(2) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda grants a right to protection of life.
“No person has a right to terminate the life of unborn child except as may be authorized by law.”