2009 was the year I graduated from university, a moment I never thought would happen.

Growing up, I wasn’t the smartest student in school, I was just an average student, but one that always worked very hard. Being the oldest daughter amongst seven children meant I had several responsibilities at home and very little time to study for school. Instead of joining clubs at school or being enrolled in sports, I had to stay home and help my mom with the household chores and duties.

After I graduated from high school, all of my friends went to university, but I didn’t, as my marks weren’t good enough. I didn’t even apply to any post secondary school because I didn’t think I would get in. That fall, I decided to upgrade for a semester, and during this time I was motivated to make it no matter what! Later that year, I applied to college and got in. I was one step closer to my dream.

For the first time in my life, I went from being the average student to one of the smartest in my classes. I studied day and night to ace my exams and it paid off! A few years later, I applied to the largest and most well-known university in my city and I GOT IN. I was shaking with joy as I read my acceptance letter and it all felt like a dream, except it wasn’t! THIS WAS REALLY HAPPENING… or was it?…

Just like with any story, there are many struggles before there is a happy ending, and my story is no exception. My next struggle was that I was PREGNANT. My pregnancy wasn’t an “easy” one by any means: I had severe nausea to the point where I was weak and my kidneys were being affected. My anxiety was at an all-time peak and thoughts of everything ending badly were swarming around in my head, attacking any possibility of a happy ending. I cried almost every night due to stress, anxiety, and pregnancy hormones. I was sinking and sinking fast.

I decided to take the fall semester off to have my baby and the plan was to start my university studies the following winter. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from achieving my dreams. My baby’s due date was in November, but of course, things rarely go as planned, right?

My water broke seven weeks early and I spent 5 grueling days in labor at the hospital before I gave birth to my baby girl. She was six weeks premature and had to be in the NICU for ten days before we could bring her home. We were finally able to bring our daughter home on Eid day and it was the best Eid gift from God ever!

My adjustment to parenthood was one that made my pregnancy seem like it was a breeze. I started to doubt if I could even continue my studies while being a mother; I barely could take care of myself at this point, how on earth was I even going to go to school and take care of a baby at the same time?!

As time went on, I became stronger and my baby seemed to settle. Life seemed promising. There was hope. Maybe it was meant to be after all?

It was the night before my first day of university and I was feeling all kinds of emotions.  Guilt, because I was leaving my baby girl behind for the first time since she arrived home from the NICU. Disbelief, because I couldn’t believe this was happening. Fright, because a part of me was afraid of failing. Excitement, because I had waited for this day for so long!

With the help of my family members and the support of my husband, in 2009 I was able to graduate from university with my daughter in my arms. To this date, that particular day was one of my greatest achievements. I didn’t just graduate though, I was praised by many of my professors for being the most dedicated student in my classes, I won an award for one of my writing pieces, I became that student that was at the top of the class, and I proved to myself that with a lot of hard work and faith, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams.

I’m sharing my personal story not to boast, but rather to inspire those who don’t think it is possible to reach their happy ending. There are usually plot twists and hardships involved in the chapters of our lives before we even begin to foresee any happy ending at all, but I promise you, this story was meant for you and you will get your happy ending eventually- just like I did. 

Peace and love always,

Sumaira Z

You can find my pregnancy story HERE

12 comments on “This was me 10 years ago”

  1. Thank you for this post Sumaira.
    Thank you for being open and honest and for sharing difficiult things that happened in your life and describing the ways you coped with them.
    It is so helpful and encouraging – makes me believe in myself again and makes me realise that it’s totally fine to take care of myself. I somehow forgot about it after my baby was born. I lost my health after first pregnancy and lost my hope for having more children in the future. But You make me believe that everything can be just fine despite its been tough time in my life.
    you are doing a great job 😉
    May God bless you.

  2. Sumaira, this is incredibly inspirational. I started my masters program during my first pregnancy as well. I got my acceptance letter and my pregnancy confirmation the same week. 3 kids later, I finally graduated… but I remember when I found out about my 3rd pregnancy, I actually cried to my hubby. I was afraid the school was going to kick me out 🙈 but Alhamdulillah.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It’s so inspiring to see all you’ve achieved. And wow 4 kids now, I don’t know how you manage it all.

  4. Subhanallah sister, this was just what I needed to hear and Mabrook on your graduation and your little one at the same time! Truly with hardship comes ease.

  5. MashaAllah…the motivation is all you need to push your life…you proved it ..if you will you can achieve….so proud of you dear….I know how difficult it would be run around with preterm, studies, house and etc….you did commendable job…kudos…this 10 year challenge is worth reading…you have come a long way…but this is beginning…may Allah SWT bless you all…

  6. Ma sha Allah la quwwat illah billah. It is such a nice feeling to see sisters reaching their goals, especially sisters who are married and moms. Without taking anything away from your efforts, I must say you are lucky to have a supporting husband and family. Jazakillahu khair for inspiring us.

  7. You know nothing is permanent. And with pain there is ease. Failures taught us so much. Just like you, i was not a smart student so i never thought that i would be able to study what i love and that is psychology but now i am a student of clinical psychology and now when i look back, i realize some things are meant to happen, you just need to keep going. Thank you for writing and sharing your story. you are a strong woman and your journey is inspiring! <3

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