Motherhood is life-changing, but it doesn’t mean you have to put all your dreams on hold. Today we’re highlighting two women who defied the odds and accomplished their goals while also becoming mothers. Briana raised the bar, earning her degree at Harvard Law School as a single mom. Emily Calandrelli is showing girls they can reach for the stars in STEM, filming her hit Netflix show “Emily’s Wonder Lab” while visibly pregnant. As our Strong Mothers series continues, we’re sharing how these women are leading the way in their fields, even while growing their family.
A Mother and Lawyer: An Example of Perseverance
To say graduating from Harvard Law School is an accomplishment would be an understatement. But graduating as a single mom? Some might call it impossible. But that’s exactly what Briana Williams did.
Pregnant during the spring of her Junior year, she shares she “went into labor in April- during final exam period. I immediately requested an epidural so that my contractions wouldn’t interfere with my Family Law grade. And, with tears in my eyes, I finished it.”
She shares there were days she felt overwhelmed during her last year of law school, managing as a single mom with a newborn. There were days she couldn’t find reliable care, and her daughter, Evie, would often attend class with her. She admits there were times she didn’t think she could do it. But, May 24, 2018 this inspirational mom celebrated the results of her hard work, and shared that her daughter gave her the motivation she needed to keep going:
Today, Evelyn in my arms, with tears streaming down my face, I accepted my Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. At first, I was the anomaly of my [marginalized] community. Then, as a single mother, I became a statistic. Next, I pray that—for the sake of my baby, I will be an example.
Evelyn—they said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this. Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible. Let’s keep beating all their odds, baby.
Recently Briana was named to “40 under 40” for National Black Lawyers in California. She and her fiance are now expecting a baby boy.
A Mother and Scientist: A Role Model for Young Women
Emily Calandrelli writes that when she was studying engineering, she was one of maybe two or three women in her classroom of 50 students. Today, she’s leading the way for younger generations to see more women represented in STEM careers. Her recently released show, “Emily’s Wonder Lab” is focused on making science fun and accessible to kids.
She says she met lots of opposition when she pitched the show, due to concern that the majority of the audience would be male and wouldn’t connect with a female host. But, despite being met with rejection many times, Emily didn’t give up. Netflix released the show this year. Even more impressively – Emily was pregnant when the show was in production. She shared:
I filmed the entire thing 9 months pregnant. So there is now a female-led science show on the biggest streaming platform in the world hosted by a pregnant woman—available world wide.
I’m just…so incredibly proud that my daughter will be able to watch this someday.
Jenny Rapson of Her View From Home put it perfectly,
Not only is Emily Calandrelli showing our girls a strong female scientist in a rewarding career, and teaching kids that curiosity and fun can go hand-in-hand with learning, but she’s showing them that motherhood can go hand-in-hand with your career dreams coming true.
Emily is an MIT-engineer turned TV host of FOX’s Xploration Outer Space. She’s also the author of the science chapter book series, the Ada Lace Adventures. As a speaker at venues like Google, Pixar, and MIT, as well as many K-12 schools and Universities, she highlights space exploration, science communication and women in STEM.
Pregnant? You’ve Got This.
These women are showing there are no limits to what you can achieve–even while pregnant or parenting. If you’ve got your sights set on earning your degree or making the next step in your career, we can help you make a plan to reach your goals. At your free appointment, we’ll talk with you about your options, resources, and Title IX laws that protect pregnant and breastfeeding students. We’ll work together to help you make a plan for success.
Our Connect Mentorship program, educational classes, and free resources are also tools that will help you thrive as you navigate the next steps in your pregnancy or as a parent. Make an appointment today or find out more about our free services. We’d love to partner with you to offer you support in your journey.