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Mom goes into labor, finishes college exam anyway

A woman on a computer in the maternity ward is nothing new or exciting. Those labor hours are long, and you’ll need something to do while you wait for the “fun” to begin. But this picture of a woman on a computer in the maternity ward is going viral — but she isn’t checking Facebook on that thing.

Nope, Tommitrise Collins is sitting cross-legged on her hospital bed, her face a mask of serene concentration, taking a college psychology exam, with her contractions coming three minutes apart. Collins’ sister, Shanell Brinkley-Chapman, shared the photo on Facebook as an homage to her little sib’s dedication and hard work, and since then, it’s been shared nearly 15,000 times:

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Chances are, if you think back to your own pregnancy and delivery, it won’t be hard to think of any number of challenges you faced along the way. Maybe you were younger than you thought you would be, or older. Perhaps your pregnancy was high-risk, or you were working an already-demanding job. Maybe every single aspect of your pregnancy was as ideal as possible. Even then, there’s bound to be a hiccup or two, not to mention that everything will culminate in nature’s most horrifying beautiful event: childbirth.

There’s no way around it: Becoming a mother is downright stressful no matter what stage of life you’re in.

But becoming a mother in college is like doing it barefoot uphill both ways in the snow. Either you’re young and just getting your footing in life, and that brings the juggling act of staying on track academically and remembering doctor’s appointments while your peers get to cut loose a little. In a sea of irresponsibility, you get to be what feels like the sole adultlike person. Not to mention that there’s nothing quite like sitting through a two-hour-long lecture when your morning sickness is so bad you’re considering just taping a barf bag to your chin.

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Some moms go back to college later, and that has its own fun roller coaster ride of seemingly insurmountable obstacles sometimes referred to as your actual life — caring for your kids, holding down a job and just generally being a productive member of society.

No matter when you do it, the “why” of it remains pretty universal — you put yourself through a lot of stress up front so that your children (and yourself, of course) can enjoy an all-around higher quality of life. Education becomes a priority, and so you enjoy the practical impossibility of going to college while momming and get it done.

That’s why the picture of Collins resonates with so many people: She is literally getting it done.

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Dressed in one of those drafty hospital robes, hair up, abs contorting, baby threatening to make an appearance, Collins is still working ceaselessly toward her goal. Few of us could be wracked by one-on-top-of-the-other contractions and still focus on a psychology test. Seriously, try it: Go slam your fingers in a car door and then recite Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Eventually Collins gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Tyler, and if this picture is any indication, Tyler is going to have one dedicated, hard-working mom.

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