Friday, December 20, 2013

Becoming a Single Mother

One of the best decisions I ever made was to change my status from being a married mother to a single mother. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but read a little more and you’ll see why.

I was in the second semester of my freshman year of college when I first found out that I was pregnant, and it was a complete shock. I was 19 years old and absolutely did not want to have a child at the time, but I was already engaged to be married and everyone else was so happy. I considered abortion, but when I mentioned it to those closest to me I was criticized and told that I was being selfish and uncaring. So despite my feelings at the time, I decided to go along with the pregnancy. I was also in a long-distance relationship, but we got married a week or two after I completed finals and moved in together.

The few months of marriage were decent, and I gave birth to my child towards the end of the year. The semester I gave birth was crazy to say the very least. I was under the impression that school becomes impossible when you have a child, so I took 19 hours of hard science courses during the fall semester even though I was due to give birth a few weeks before finals. I thought it would be a good idea to get them all out of the way before the baby came, but I must have been completely out of my mind! Most of that semester is a complete blur, but I do remember the day I went into labor. I woke up, went to class, felt miserable, and decided to come back home later that morning. I figured I would take a few days off, so I dropped my organic chemistry class when I got home so that I wouldn’t have to worry about failing it. The feelings got worse progressively throughout the day, and I eventually went to the hospital later that evening and gave birth about an hour later. I took the next week off of classes, but then I had to go back because finals were approaching. A lot of people thought I was crazy, but I somehow managed to pull it all off. For the most part, the first few months of being a mother weren’t all that bad. Newborns tend to spend most of their time sleeping, so there was plenty of quiet time to study.

What most people don’t know is that my marriage was turning into an extremely abusive one. This was never the case when we were dating, but after marriage it turned completely sour. It started off with name-calling and possessiveness, but then it became physical. The first time was a push, and then it became so bad that even my nose was broken at one point. The jealousy issues also negatively affected my professional relationships, and I would receive calls from colleagues saying that my now ex-husband had threatened them. Most people would ask why I didn’t leave right away, but I was a full-time student with no job, and I was completely dependent on my husband at the time. I was told by the local police that my best bet would be to move into a shelter, but I just could not push myself to take that route. When it finally became too much to handle, I made the choice to resign from school and move in with my parents who lived out of state. This was one of the hardest decisions that I ever had to make, but it had to be done.

I stayed with my parents for a few months, but I was determined to come back to school. I registered for the summer semester, and left my child with my parents out of state while I got back on my feet. I also received a restraining order against my spouse. I brought my child back with me for the fall semester, and pretty much for the remainder of my college career I had to deal with being stalked by my ex-spouse along with other drama. I think the only time I felt peace were those moments that he went to jail. Crazy huh?

I was lucky enough that one of my jobs was a student worker position at a legal office, so I was able to get a good start on my divorce. I also received sole custody of my child with no visitation granted to my former spouse. Two weeks before I graduated from college, I received the signed divorce decree from the judge and I was so happy! This was also when I officially became a single mother.

Even before becoming a single parent, I had to work to balance my time between school, work, and motherhood. It was not easy working multiple jobs, going to class, finding time to spend with my child, and studying, but it was definitely worth it to be removed from the previous situation I was in. Now my child just turned seven, and I’m used to being able to juggle everything. It has its ups and downs like anything in life, but I would not change it for the world.   

In terms of entering medical school, I am absolutely blessed to have built an amazing support system that will be instrumental to my success in medical school. I was extremely lucky to be accepted into a medical school that is in a state where I will have family and friends close by. I also have a wonderful man in my life who has offered to make the move with me and help out with parenting and the other things that I won’t have time for. I still have months to go before I enter into medical school, but I am definitely hopeful for the future.

I guess I’ll stop there for now, but I’ll make sure to keep everyone updated on my progress along the way. And of course all of this is a condensed version of what I went through, but if there’s anything you want to know don’t be afraid to ask.


16 comments:

  1. D ward, you are wonderwoman. I am very sad that those things happened to between you and your spouse. Thank you for sharing your story. -Carrine

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    1. Thanks, Carrine! No sadness here though! Getting myself out of that situation was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. It was hard going through it but I came out stronger, wiser, and with a better outlook on life.

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  2. Congrats on your success, I look forward to observing your journey!

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  3. I am a black single mama too. Trying to become a doctor as well. Your story has given me life and the motivation I needed.

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    1. Glad I could help motivate you :-) Hang in there!

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  4. I am very excited to find this Blog. I am a single parent to an 11 year old, with a BS and MS degree looking to apply to medical school in next application cycle. I can definitely relate to the struggle with finding time for everything but it is nice to see someone in my situtaion who has done it. I definitely feel the call to medicine and look forward to seeing your continued success and my own as well

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    1. Glad you found me :-) Best of luck to you in the upcoming application cycle! Sending positive vibes your way, but I have a feeling you'll be successful :-) Feel free to get in touch if you need help with anything!

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  5. I just emailed you from my PCOM email but it before I read this post, we have so much more in common than I thought. I hope when I get to PCOM we can meet and chat for a bit. This post was so much motivation, thank you!

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    1. Just responded to your email, and I would love to meet up when you get here. Feel free to get in touch anytime :-)

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  6. This is such an incredible story. I am a single mom of 1 and my dream is to become a trauma surgeon. Thank you for showing me that it can be done. I've been doubting myself since my mother's passing right after my child's birth but you have inspired me to keep going. Thank you so much.

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    1. Dream it, put in work, and it will happen! So happy I could help inspire you :-) Please keep going and don't give up! Best of luck to you on your journey. Let's continue to show everyone how powerful us single moms are

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  7. I am a single mother and nearly finishing my medical degree in the UK, your story is so similar to mine except I find myself in the middle of an emotionally abusive long distance relationship unable to let go.... maybe someday, my parents have been absolutely amazing and helping out immensely by caring for my son whilst I study. Im so happy it worked out for you gives me hope. All the best! xxx

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    1. Sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do for yourself. Wishing you all the best!

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