This article was originally written for FirstGenerationStudent.com, now a part of ImFirst.org.
The Fairy Tale Fades
Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a young girl. Since she was very young she knew that she was quite beautiful and thought she might grow up to be a fashion model. As she grew into her teen years, she began to decorate her room and enjoyed it very much, and she thought it would be fantastic to decorate rooms for other people for a living. As the young girl grew into an adult she began to realize that her idea of decorating would really only work for her, and maybe for small children, so she had to consider something else. Before she had decided what she wanted to be, she met Prince Charming, got married, had a family and lived happily ever after. The end.
Until reality sets in and Prince Charming turns into the toad that hops away after the princess in the next kingdom over. I was left to pick up the pieces of my ruined life and start over from the beginning with what was left of my family.
A Taste of a Dream
Dr. Shirolyn Moffett, my attending obstetrician when I was pregnant with my first son, had begun her career in the medical field as a midwife. She created a very lasting impression on me with her way of making sure that I was informed and letting me be in control as much as possible. My childbirthing classes were taught by a pair of very friendly, very funny doulas that impressed me greatly with how much they knew about birth and pregnancy, and for a little while I considered becoming a doula. But, at the time I was considering this, nothing in my life was set for me to be able to go to school for anything, much less midwifery. So, I put school to the back of my mind and continued on.
I’ve moved from one minimum wage job to another, never really getting anywhere, and as I’ve gotten older it’s gotten harder to find decent work. Employers look at my resume and see that I’ve been an adult for a while and have only ever worked in fast food and retail, and they assume that there is something wrong with me.
Enlisting for Education
The military is a good option for people of limited means to get some experience and technical training, and veterans can receive tuition assistance through the GI Bill. Realizing that—much to my dismay—I wasn’t getting any younger and that the age cutoff for enlistment was coming up quickly, I decided to join the military while I still had time. I enlisted, swore in and went to my first drill weekend.
At the end of the month I found out that I was pregnant. Though I would be a single mother and I knew it would be difficult, I decided to keep my baby, and that spelled the end of my military career. However, being a single parent opened a few unexpected doors.
Working Toward the Dream
As it turns out, many people have a soft spot for a working single mother. I received help from people who probably wouldn’t have helped me in the past and I found my way to free adult education. For example, I talked to Ken, a man who occasionally worked at the education center and who has a friend who is a cardiologist. Ken told me that with my crazy awesome brain, I should consider going to college to become a cardiologist. Ken also had a few connections to people whose careers revolve around helping individuals with low incomes get into college.
I started college with the goal to be a cardiologist. As I was perusing Facebook one evening I realized that I subscribed to a lot of pages dedicated to birth and pregnancy, and I had an epiphany: I would like to help women through the birth of their babies the way that my first obstetrician had helped me. I realized that the doctor in attendance for the delivery of your baby can have an impact on the rest of your life and even on how you develop a relationship with your new child. I want to be that kind of doctor. I want to coach women through the scariest times of their lives and help them have good reflections of their deliveries. I want to be responsible for a lack of birthing horror stories.
One day I am going to open my own birthing center, an entire facility dedicated solely to caring for pregnant women and new babies. I’ve also come to like the idea of concierge doctoring. I think it would be neat to make a house call for a delivery, especially for all of the women who are afraid of hospitals and would rather give birth in the comfort of their own home, yet still have a doctor there with them. I want to grow up to be the most awesome doctor ever.