Meet College Student and Mom, Judith Proa

Being a full-time student is hard, having to balance school with adult responsibilities must take a true talent not to go insane. I mean, let’s be real, we can barely handle things by the hour and that is a good amount of stress for the whole day already. But, take the workload and add fifty times the work of having to bring up a child as a single mother.

I grew up with three older sisters who have children of their own, so I’m used to being around kids screaming, crying and creating chaos in every place they set foot in. Even though I’m used to it and have babysat each one of them, I get to go home at the end of the day without them. Even though I love them to pieces, that’s the beauty of it. There’s a difference between a mother’s responsibility and an aunt’s role.

Even though, naturally I have thought about having my own little family, I know having my own little mini me running around my house is in the distant future. I could not imagine having that amount of pressure right now as a college student.

This week, I want you to meet one of the few women who does it all. Meet Super Mom Judith Proa.

 

Her Campus Texas A&M: You were 19 in your first year of college when you found out you were pregnant. What went through your mind?

Judith Proa: Because I was young and selfish, I questioned whether I was ready to be a mom. You have to sacrifice so many things, one crucial thing about it is being selfless. I didn’t have a problem with my age, it was more emotional. Was I emotionally mature to be a mom and how I was going to present myself as a pregnant college student? It wasn’t marriage either, it was the idea of how I was going to provide for her and figuring out how hard of a learning process it was going to be.

 

HC TAMU: Is it hard having a daughter here and attending college?

Proa: Most definitely, especially with the daycare situation. Sometimes things happen and daycare has specific rules. If my child is sick I can’t take them, so, where do I leave her. I have no family members here. I’m forced to miss class and reschedule anything I have in my planner to dedicate all my time to her. Even when things like this come up, it’s hard but not impossible to do both at the same time. It’s double the weight but double the reward. At the end of the day, I see my degree planner slowly getting fulfilled and when I come home I come home to her smile and love.

 

HC TAMU: What is a regular day for you?

Proa: I’m the first to wake up. I get ready then I wake her up. I make breakfast. I drop her off at daycare. Rush to catch the bus to class. While I’m in class, I think about what I have to get done for her. I take advantage of my time to get things done while she’s at daycare. After I’m done, I rush towards her hugs because I miss her. I Come back home and dedicate my time to her.

 

HC TAMU: Personally, I can barely handle writing a 10 page paper and figuring out what I am going to have for dinner, how do you do it?

Proa: I prioritize. My child always comes first, always. I get things done for her, that’s my priority. I attend to her and I always try not to put myself in situations where I leave my assignments at the last minute. I try and take advantage of every second that I’m awake. I don’t get a break. I’m a mom, my schedule is unpredictable and I have to try to be prepared for anything. It’s dramatic but it’s fun, she’s the one that gives me the energy and motivation to get up and make dinner and have my homework done so I can play with her, regardless if my battery is running low.

“Being a parent is a journey, I’m still learning but it’s one I wouldn’t change for the world” - Judith Proa

 

HC TAMU: Having to come from a Hispanic background where the percentage of fifteen-year-olds getting pregnant and dropping out of high school are high, what do you think of the misconceptions of early aged pregnancy?

Proa: Yes, totally. Being a mom at such a young age is extremely hard. They’re barely at an age where they are growing and learning. I was a mom at 20. I had more maturity. I was out of high school, independent in a way. I feel bad for them but I admire them because they get through it.

 

HC TAMU: Did most people expect you to drop out and move back to Laredo? Why?

Proa: People did expect me to drop out of college or even make a stop before I started. I didn’t. One, my mom did not let me and I didn’t let myself. Especially because my mom was also 20 when she had me. She dropped out of high school and that was one of the factors that she wanted me to learn from. She wanted me to have a better future and provide that for my child. Now, I’m at the end of my college education and I’m reaching for that degree. It’s been hard but I’m glad I didn’t stop. Everything I’ve been through, every obstacle and every minute of working hard, nobody takes that away from me. I’m proud of myself.

“Sophie brought out an imagination out of me, the child within most people forget once they grow up. We’re a kid at heart and she’s shown me how beautiful life could be.” - Judith Proa

 

HC TAMU:  Being away from your home, what was the hardest part about being pregnant? Were you ashamed?

Proa: Missing the food was the hardest part being pregnant. My hormones and my cravings were extremely real. I lived in the dorms, I couldn’t cook for myself. As far as being ashamed, I liked that I was away. Nobody had to see me. In a way I was ashamed but I shouldn’t have been. It was my first year away, it wasn’t marriage or my age but it was the fact that I was away for the first time and that was the brightest thing I can come up with, getting pregnant. Also, it was being alone. Being away from your significant other and especially from you mom. You’re suppose to have support in this important time of your life and I had no one. It took a toll on me and I basically had to do it all by myself for eight months of my pregnancy.

 

HC TAMU: What has changed the most about your life from then to now being a mom?

Proa: A lot of things have changed. I’m happier because of her. It wasn’t a great time being pregnant, especially in the circumstances I was in. A pregnant college student living in the dorms. I had to conform to the restrains it put me. It was frustrating but it was Sophia’s firsts and the love we have that has created this little family, in a short amount of time. Eighteen months, it’s been something new every day with her. Every day is a little adventure, even at home. She’s her own little person and I stay amazes at the world this little creature of mine has created for me. I’m happy.

 

HC TAMU: Tell us a “guess what my child did” story.

Proa: There was this one time that I took her out of the shower and laid her down to put on her diaper. As I’m looking for her outfit she’s up and about. I get distracted with trying to figure out what to put her in. She’s quiet in her little corner and we all know that is never a good thing. I turn around and I see she’s walking around butt naked and then I smell something. She pooped, on the carpet. That was something alright.

 

HC TAMU: What is one thing you want to let your child take away from your experience?

Proa: Education is important. You don’t stop. There is a purpose to it, don’t stop. I want my story to inspire her. I had my mom without a college education. I grew up not knowing of anything beyond a high school degree. I think it’s something she can learn from us both. Hard work will pay off. You can do anything regardless of any situation. I want her to know that her mother never stopped.

 

HC TAMU: They say you learn a lot about how life works through a child, what have you learned during Sophie’s first year?

Proa: Personally it was how strong I am. You put up with a lot of stuff and not because you’re weak but because you are strong. You do it because you have to. To finish college, it’s a lot of hard work, a heavy load but I was able to do it because she made me strong. She’s shown me pure happiness. That there is good in the world. I feel blessed to be the mother of a beautiful, kind and selfless little human. She opened my eyes at how beautiful it is to be a mother.

“You don’t know how strong you are until you’re a mom.” - Judith Proa

 

HC TAMU: Do you think you have missed out on any college experiences?

Proa: Yes. I was in a medical organization before and I had to drop it. I’m not able to join anymore because I have no time. Also, group studies and SI sessions. I can’t go for the sole reason that I can’t expose my child to cold weather or even mess with her schedule. As for parties, I think I could have only done it once. I don’t really care much for it. I wasn’t that type to get hyped every weekend. I feel like I haven’t missed out in that part.

 

HC TAMU: Any advice towards someone who strives for a higher education but is pregnant/a mother?

Proa: Don’t stop. Believe in yourself and don’t stop regardless of what anybody says. You got this. There is an end to the tunnel. It’s going to be hard but it’s not impossible.

 

Judith is the perfect example of how much a mother sacrifices for their child and what they are willing to provide for them. Is there anything a mother cannot do!