I wish I could answer if dental school is harder or easier with a child than I anticipated it would be, but honestly I have nothing to compare it to! I studied for and took the DAT nine months pregnant, finished writing my personal statement two nights after my son was born, and took him to my interview at three months old. He’s been with me every step of the way in dental school.
The hardest part is always thinking that I have the same responsibilities and lifestyle of my classmates around me, so I hold myself to those standards and compare myself often. I didn’t get my paper done early like my friends without a baby—but I did get it done. I didn’t go to the gym four times a week like my classmates—but I was able to take my son for a bike ride. There are many days when I feel defeated and like I’m a terrible mother because I don’t give my son enough hours of my day as he probably deserves. I can’t always pick him up and take him to school, go to his school events, stay home with him while he’s sick, and sometimes I don’t even have time to tuck him into bed at night. But I have to remind myself that those hard nights are not every night, and those hours I do spend with him are quality, distraction-free hours. At the end of the day, he has a mommy he learns perseverance, sadness, happiness, struggle, love, and hard work from.
It’s hard raising a human to have all of these qualities and to make a name for themselves out in the world, when you are working on doing the same for yourself. My advice is this: your kids come first, dental school comes second and try not to get caught up in comparing yourself to others—not even to other mothers. We all have our own struggles, obstacles, and different things that we find joy in. Remember that you can do it, you have to do it—for that little person wanting to be just like you someday.
Jocelyn Limerick, ASDOH ’19