Finally, after 5 long, hard years, I'm just weeks away from graduating from dental school.
This is something that seemed almost impossible a few years ago; when I found out I was pregnant during my second year of this difficult course. Even more impossible when, at 7 months pregnant I also became single.
Countless exams, deadlines and stressful years later, and this week I was able to stand proudly amongst my friends and peers as the exam board revealed that I had passed the degree I had worked so hard towards for so long. My parents were with me for support, as they have been solidly throughout. And of course, Regan, now 3 years old, who has been the biggest motivation I could have ever wished for, and who is reason alone I never gave up. He rested his head on my shoulder and hugged me tightly as I fought back tears of sheer happiness and relief, and I whispered to him "We did it. Mommy is a dentist now".
The last years have been far from easy. I have been challenged mentally, physically and emotionally. Placed under constant pressure, with my time preciously divided at all times, it is without doubt I can say I have endured the most difficult years of my life so far. There have been many tears, and even many times I felt like giving up. But I kept on going. I completed the degree, as well as receiving my first choice of training place for the coming year close to home.
I hope that I have set an example for my son, for when he is old enough to understand what I did for us both.
Incase you are pregnant or faced with a similar situation, questioning whether a mother or a single mother could possibly complete a difficult degree with the responsibility of another human to put before your own. I want to say this:
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was afraid my career was over. That was because I didn't know I was about to meet a person who would give me not only incredible determination and motivation, but also a sense of purpose beyond all comprehension. He is the most important reason I followed through with what I began, honouring and staying true to the promises I once made myself, and never losing sight of that goal, despite how the path may have shifted and complicated along the way.
I didn't see Regan as an obstacle or a disadvantage in gaining my achievement. In fact, he has helped me to change and grow so much as a person since becoming his mum that far outweighs any difficulties. So much so, that sometimes, I'm not even sure how I would have ever done it without him.
Now, with a beautiful little boy as well as my degree, I feel so proud and accomplished. And I think that although he's just 3, Regan is proud of me too.
As graduation day nears, I picture wearing that gown and walking across that stage. I picture my parents, and Regan by my side in his tiny suit. And it is with great conviction I can say; I have everything I need for now, right now. Sure, It may not have been easy.
But it was worth it.
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