In January, I heard the words no mother-to-be ever imagines they will hear: “I am sorry–there’s no heartbeat”. I was five months into my pregnancy with my first child–the child I dreamed of having, but thought wasn’t possible. It was the middle of my first year of PA school, I was 30 years old, and until relatively recently, children had been a distant and potentially unreachable future. My husband and I had tried for years to have a child, without success, and with my age and all the rigors of PA school, we decided to take a break from thinking about children until I finished PA school.
But then she was there, I didn’t know how I would be able to accomplish my career goals and become a mother. I took a leap of faith and decided to confide in two of my professors, mothers themselves, for advice. My trepidation was met with their unwavering support and commitment to help me continue with my education in any way they could.
Those PA moms were the first in a series of incredible PAs and mothers that showed me being both a mother to this baby and a successful PA student were within my reach. Those professors then connected me with other recent graduates who also became mothers in PA school. Those new PA moms shared their experience and advice with me, along with further promises of support. All together, they gave me the courage to believe that I could make it work.
And so I began making plans. Friends and family were told, the house began getting a makeover, and I found the perfect yellow chair for the nursery where I pictured myself feeding, rocking, and loving my baby every day….
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But then I found myself in that exam room, hearing things that just didn’t make sense. The plans, the dreams, that perfect yellow chair–they all seemed to fall away in that moment of anguish and horror.
I delivered my child a week later. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like, and I still don’t have the words for it now. In what seemed like a miracle, the entire delivery team was made up of women like me: mothers who lost their babies before they ever found them. They helped me like no one else could, because no one else understood what it was like to be a mother like me–like us.
I knew I had to focus my energy on PA school, but I didn’t know how. After reaching out to women I barely knew and women I knew my whole life, I eventually found my way to PA Moms. Through PA Moms, I became engaged with a larger community of moms I never knew were there–traditional moms and bereaved moms, both. That community helped me to feel less alone in my grief, and helped me to focus on my goals and academics. Seeing bereaved moms who were highly successful in their personal and professional lives set an example that gave me the hope and the strength to channel my sorrow into success, for my lost child and myself.
When I’m a PA, I plan to provide medical care for women in the field of obstetrics and gynecology with empathy and compassion, especially in the face of loss. With my public health degree I plan to assess and address social disparities pertaining to maternal and fetal health. After coming through tragedy, caring for women and their reproductive needs has become my passion. For those 1 in 4 women likely to experience miscarriages or fetal loss, and 1 in 8 women likely to struggle with infertility, I plan to be their advocate. I know what it’s like to be in an ocean of grief and confusion when it’s too difficult to advocated for yourself and I know that there’s no substitute for help from a mother who has been there before.
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Her name is Evan. She was my daughter, and I am her mom.
Sarah Kent, PA-S2
MSPAS / MPH Candidate | 2023
Touro University, California
Fall 2021 PA Moms Scholarship Recipient