Leah Haden is a single mother to a 4 1/2 year old boy named Landon. She is currently studying at the University of Iowa as a senior student in the Profusion Technology Program.
What is your passion and mission in life?
My passion in life is health. Not just in medicine or physical fitness but also in the spiritual, mental and emotional well being. The past several years have really brought forth my passion for those three areas specifically. My mission for that is I want to inspire other women, especially mothers and single moms, to nurture those areas of their health so they can become their best self and step into their purpose in life. [I want them to] go after it with great ambition and not let their life situation, no matter how bad or good [it] may be, deter them from going after that. We need to be our best self in order to be our best self for others, especially as a mom, and I want to encourage other women [to do that].
What was your biggest hardship and how did you overcome it?
I became a mom my junior year of college. Since I wasn’t done with school I would have to say my biggest fear was, “How am I going to finish this and how am I going to be financially stable and support a child while not giving up on my education?” Shortly after becoming pregnant my son’s birth father left me. So I was left all alone and that brought about a season of depression. My ambitions started lacking and that wasn’t true to my character. I really let things go downhill. You won’t find a single picture of my pregnancy. I really struggled to finish that last semester of schooling. Fortunately, I was able to graduate early, before giving birth.
The thing with my degree that I originally got, it wasn’t a terminal degree to really make it worth while and truly really practice with it. Higher education was needed. It brought about this fear of, “I don’t know how I am going to continue being a parent and bettering the life of mine and my child’s, while going back to school.” I took a step of faith and I enrolled and took out a lot of loans. Almost a very unsettling amount that still hurts to look at to this day. That fear of not being a mother only grew worse. I spent a lot of days away from my son. I worked a full time job while going to grad school full time and I depended on a lot of friends and aunts and uncles to watch my child for me, sometimes 14 hours a day, while I prioritized school and worked to provide food and shelter for us.
How has this adversity effected pregnancy and raising children?
Through going to grad school I found my passion for profusion and working in heart surgery by running the heart and lung machine and I am now going to school for that at the University of Iowa. Because of that I was still concerned [for] my child, making sure that he would thrive and be taken care of. Having to move out of state from Kansas to Iowa scared me. I didn’t know anybody and wouldn’t have anybody to help. So I had to make the hard decision to send him to live with my mom. He is thousands of miles away from me right now. The fear of having to take out more loans to pay for out of state tuition and not being able to see my son every day except though FaceTime hurts.
Sorry. I still get judged pretty hard. People say I have given up on my child and I’m being selfish in going after ANOTHER degree and MORE schooling. The people I work with and my classmates aren’t moms and I feel like any time I do prioritize my child they feel like I’m skipping out on my school responsibilities and it’s just a lot of mom guilt. That just makes parenting way harder than it has to be. Deep down I know that I am doing what’s best to provide for my child and I.
I know some day I want to be a part of another mother’s village. I have had a lot of help and my struggles have helped me prioritize my own health and stop caring so much what other people think and be able to prioritize my education, my health and my child simultaneously. I graduate in about 5 months and I know in the end it will all be worth it. I am just so ready to be a part of another mother’s village to encourage her and support her so she doesn’t have to suffer though the struggles like this all by herself.