University of Bristol: Student speaks out about miscarriage during degree as she graduates with baby daughter

Charlotte Smart said that although she did not like sharing personal details, she felt it was important to talk about miscarriages to help others going through the same thing.

Today she received her degree in Psychology in Education in the University of Bristol’s Wills Memorial Building.

In the crowd were her parents and baby daughter Maya, who Charlotte described as “an amazing baby who’s been perfect since day dot”.

The 26-year-old grew up in Cornwall and came to University as a mature student aged 21.

She met her partner, fell in love and began trying for a baby.

“The course I was doing was really interesting and I was a bit older so wasn’t into going out, so I mostly just studied,” Charlotte explained.

But her excitement at getting pregnant turned to dismay when Charlotte miscarried, leaving her feeling “horrendous, the worst I’ve ever felt”.

“You’re losing a child. It’s early stages but you’ve got in your head that it’s happening, you’ve got a due date, all of that,” she explained.

“It was right at the beginning of lockdown so I couldn’t go out, see family or friends. Through all that emotional turmoil I was trying to write my dissertation.”

After a few weeks feeling extremely low, Charlotte “got her head down in books”, and found an outlet in studying and writing.

The knowledge of the mind’s workings that she learned from her course also helped her.

“Somehow I managed to fight through,” she explained.

“I’m not one to share personal things, but one thing I really struggled with after the miscarriage was that no one ever speaks about it. I think it’s important to share these things to help others.”

Charlotte fell pregnant again just before she finished her degree in 2020, and this time there was a much happier outcome.

Thirteen-month-old Maya is walking now, and bringing joy to their home.

Charlotte received a 2:1 and, having spent the last year looking after her daughter, will soon begin a new job as a support worker at mental health charity Bath Mind.

“It’s so heart-warming to have Maya here with me,” she said. “I really enjoyed studying at Bristol, despite everything that happened and I’m excited now to be putting my degree to good use.”

University of Bristol graduations have been delayed since March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience at the University of Bristol, said: “Charlotte’s tenacity in completing a degree under such difficult circumstances shows real fortitude in such a sad situation. Today she has gone a step further by sharing her story to help others, a truly generous act.

“We wish Charlotte and Maya the very best of luck with the next steps in their journey.”

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