Austin Forum Program Helps Level the Playing Field for Expectant Mothers

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“Giving birth five times naturally in the hospital, I saw a wide range of care. Some good, some not so good.” Chante Wright-Haywood is determined to ensure new mothers understand all their options so they can make the right choices for their children – from pain medication to nutrition – for families who don’t have basic medical information. “I’ve seen a nurse’s personal and cultural preferences prevent new mothers from making their own choices,” she says.

To become a midwife, Wright-Haywood must first obtain a Bachelor’s in Nursing. Wright-Haywood’s Family Self Sufficiency Coordinator heard about the Austin Forum on Society and Technology partnership with Austin Pathways and sent an impassioned plea, “As a mother of five children under age seven Chante has achieved extraordinary success and shows great determination.”

By 2019 Wright-Haywood achieved certifications in Phlebotomy, Emergency Medical Technician and Certified Nurse Assistant — all while using her apartment complex office computers during business hours or borrowing a laptop from a sister-in-law. Without a computer in her home, Wright-Haywood often had to arrange for child care to study.

Now, with a refurbished laptop donated by a member of the Austin Forum on Technology and Society to Austin Pathways, Wright-Haywood says her study time has increased dramatically and she’s much less stressed.

“Staying at the school library until 10:00 pm or driving to my parents house to use the computer with a nursing newborn made it difficult to keep up with school. Now when I don’t understand something in class, I can go home and review what the professor posted on the Blackboard [learning management system].” Wright-Haywood is also required to complete 100 hours of continuing education for her EMT certification. With her refurbished laptop she can complete those hours at home.

Wright-Haywood will apply to nursing school at Austin Community College in the Spring, 2020. She advises: “No matter what you do, do your best. Apply yourself. Don’t quit. You’re going to learn something about yourself or you’re going to master the topic. ‘I tried it. I did my best. It’s not for me.’ You’ll find out you are on the right track or you are not. But don’t quit.”

“It is not how much we do – it is how much love we put into the doing.”
– Mother Teresa