Being an involved and loving mother is a commitment worthy of praise unto itself. But for women who seek to balance motherhood with their own pursuits, there may be many obstacles.
Zeinab Abdalla, a mother and graduate student at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, knows that all too well. As a mother to a 4-year-old girl, making time for her studies has never been easy.
Abdalla was pursuing her master’s degree in education.
The determined mother was no stranger to long nights. For the last two years, Abdalla raised her 4-year-old girl at home, and worked towards an education degree with a focus on autism spectrum disorders in the classroom.
To top it off, for the last nine months, she’s been pregnant with her second child. She simultaneously battled the natural effects of pregnancy, the workload of a master’s program and running a daycare—but as her graduation arrived, so did her due date.
The night before she was supposed to walk across the stage and receive her diploma, her water broke.
“On Friday morning my water broke and I was telling my husband, ‘My graduation is tomorrow. I wasn’t planning this,'” she said to KARE11. “And he said, ‘It’s in God’s hands.'”
Abdalla and her husband rushed to the hospital to deliver their second child.
Walking across the stage at graduation looked as if it would be a foregone conclusion. Abdalla said the birth was difficult at first, but around 8 p.m. on May 25, she gave birth to her second baby girl.
“It went very well,” she said.
The glow of bringing a new life into the world wasn’t lost on Abdalla, but she couldn’t help think of her graduation ceremony the following day. After working so hard to receive her degree, she couldn’t imagine not walking across the stage.
“I was like, I need to reward myself and to do that I have to walk on the stage, get my degree, throw the cap and enjoy it,” she said.
Less than 24 hours after giving birth, Abdalla walked across the stage and accepted her degree.
When her name was called on the stage, it was met with a smattering of applause by a crowd completely unaware of what she’d done to be there.
“It was a struggle but everything is possible. And I believe in St. Thomas’ logo, ‘We can do it together,'” she said.
But the mother of two doesn’t intend to rest on her laurels and bask in her successes, according to Fox News.
Abdalla said she intends to pursue her PhD in the fall.
“It’s an amazing night. I’m done with my masters, going for my PhD,” she said, holding up her new diploma.