• May 20, 2024

Navigating Nursing School While Becoming A Mother

Navigating Nursing School While Becoming A Mother

Upon receiving the long-awaited news of her pregnancy, South Texas College student Isabel Campos was not deterred from her path to become a nurse but felt even more encouraged to create a better future for her growing family.

After having her baby, she returned to school after only week. While it was a challenge, she believes it’s a sacrifice that will undoubtedly be worth it.

“There are no limitations, no excuses. I made the choice to continue pushing forward and pursue further education for the sake of a better life for both of us,” she explained. “It’s surreal to now embrace motherhood while navigating nursing school. After four years of trying, it finally feels like my moment has arrived.”

A Mission native and youngest of five, the 25-year-old grew up with a strong maternal instinct and a calling to care for others, often describing herself as “born to do so.”

“I remember a project from elementary school, back in first or second grade, where we were asked to write about our future aspirations. I wrote down: ‘I want to become a nurse because I want to heal people.’ It’s always been a dream of mine,” she shared. “In the same way, I’ve always felt a deep calling to be a mother.”

At the age of 15, Campos took her first steps into a career in health care as a certified lifeguard, working at the La Joya Independent School District Aquatic Center, where she gained valuable skills in CPR and wound care.

After graduating from Juarez-Lincoln High School in 2018, she earned a certificate from the College of Health Care Professionals (CHCP) and began a five-year journey as a Medical Assistant in various institutions such as DHR Health and private clinics.

“Once I realized I couldn’t grow in my current position, I understood that nursing would pave the way for personal growth and a brighter future,” she expressed. “Having been enrolled at STC since 2015, thanks to dual credit classes, transitioning back was easy.”

In 2020, Campos not only began taking online classes to ease back into school, but she also married the love of her life, who would later become the father of her daughter.

“I married my brother’s best friend. It’s amazing because we have known each other our whole lives, but never addressed our feelings for each other out of respect for my brother,” she shared. “In high school, when we realized this was real, we told him, and he was so happy. He said, ‘Who else would I want to be with my sister?’”

Amidst a pandemic, the couple embarked on a challenging journey to parenthood, a blessing that didn’t materialize until Campos was amid her first semester in the Associate Degree in Nursing program in spring 2023.

“Even though I had prior experience, returning to school was tough, and I found myself struggling with my classes,” she admitted. “But when I found out I was pregnant, everything changed, and I made the decision to take a step back.”

Campos then took a semester off to cherish her long-awaited pregnancy, but remained determined. In 2024, she enrolled in STC’s Vocational Nursing program, an 11-month pathway that would equip her with a nursing license at a more manageable pace.

“Yes, returning to school during my third trimester wasn’t easy, but life doesn’t stop. This was a faster route for me to continue growing professionally, and I told myself, ‘It’s now or never,'” she said. “Fortunately, my pregnancy was smooth, and I was blessed to carry to full term without any complications. I came to school one Friday, and that same day I was giving birth.”

Katherine Campos was born on April 6, 2024, welcomed with much love not only by her family, but also embraced by STC’s warm community.

“Even though my instructors were extremely helpful and supportive the whole time, I decided to only take a week off,” she said. “I’m grateful to my STC community, my classmates who would go out of their way to always make sure I was okay. On my first day of class, I said, ‘I’m pregnant, not disabled.’ I didn’t want to be treated differently, yet everybody still took care of me and never made me feel less.”

Returning for final exams week, she found the strength in her love for her daughter to persevere and has found a supportive system in her loving family and in-laws that will help her obtain a vocational nursing license and earn a degree.

“My husband and our entire families are in this with me. They take care of her during the day, and my husband ensures I have the time I need to focus on school. I still cuddle with her while I’m studying, so I can cherish that time together,” she shared. “When I was pregnant, she would always be more active during an exam and kick. Now I miss it. It’s heart-wrenching to leave her every day, but I remind myself that it’s just this year. By the time I finish, she will be 8 months old and will need me more.”

Set to graduate in December, Campos still aspires to become a registered nurse and plans to gain valuable experience in a hospital setting before eventually transitioning to a school district to be closer to her daughter.

“I recently attended STC’s commencement to celebrate one of our relatives. I watched him walk across the stage, then left. I don’t want to experience the confetti and celebration until I’m graduating, because I am going to earn my degree,” she said confidently. “And of course, I would love to have more children, but for now, we are going to focus on Katherine and building a better future for her.”

For more information on STC’s Nursing and Allied Health programs, visit nah.southtexascollege.edu/ or call 956-872-3100.

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