Navigating Life as a First-Time Mum and a Chicago Booth Student

Navigating Life as a First-Time Mum and a Chicago Booth Student

Kikelomo Anjorin and her daughter taking a selfie

Guest Blog by Kikelomo Anjorin

Fifteen months ago, my life took a turn. I had just gotten married and moved to a new country as an MBA student—without my partner. Therefore, discovering my pregnancy was worrisome, but, as the saying goes, every positive situation has its challenges. While the prospect of motherhood seemed intriguing, the absence of my partner made everything seem scary. Today, I choose to share my imperfect, challenging narrative as a reminder that, no matter the obstacles, there is always a way forward. My journey began with recruiting, one of the toughest aspects of business school. Balancing Consulting as my primary path and Tech as a parallel made it even more challenging. I remember standing for a 3-hour consulting event, all while keeping my pregnancy undisclosed. Coffee chats, events, and casings were stressful, but the effort was necessary.

As 2022 came to an end, I informed the school about my pregnancy, seeking post-birth accommodations. The Booth Africa community played a vital role in reaffirming my sense of belonging and support. They organized a baby shower in December, a heartwarming gesture that made me realize how much I was surrounded by a caring community. The solidarity within the Booth community became even more evident as the year 2022 concluded.

The year ended with visa interview disappointments for my husband, but Booth friends provided unwavering support. Their reassurance that I was not alone helped me bounce back. Wellness and academic services made the process smoother. Time management issues were addressed through sessions, and academic discussions helped plan manageable courses for the Spring quarter. By January, the internship was confirmed, considering my March due date. I aimed to sort out recruiting early, avoiding interviews during labor. Despite the challenges, I’m grateful it worked out. Although consulting didn’t work out, Marketing, my forever love, came back, securing an internship as a Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft.

Knowing professors were aware of my situation and offering flexibility in assignments was a relief. Selecting courses with the help of an academic services adviser proved beneficial.

As I ventured into the year 2023, I felt a sense of preparedness for whatever lay ahead. The birth of my baby on March 31st, 2023—coincidentally, my birthday—was the best gift life could offer. Like any other mother, I hoped for a smooth journey, balancing life, school, and motherhood. However, this narrative took an unexpected turn after I experienced complications post-surgery, having delivered my baby through a cesarean section. The ensuing pain and back-and-forth hospital visits posed significant challenges. I was admitted twice, yet I found myself preparing for midterms while confined to a hospital bed.

The support I received during this challenging period was instrumental. Friends shared class notes, assisted me in studying for exams and midterms, and the faculty’s understanding and accommodations allowed me to submit assignments within a helpful timeframe. Despite facing health challenges, the unwavering support from the Booth community propelled me forward. By the time I was in recovery, everyone was ready to lend a helping hand.

Successfully concluding the Spring quarter, I looked forward to my internship. Originally planned as an in-person experience, my husband’s visa denial meant I had no support to join me in another state. Faced with this predicament, I requested a remote internship. While the prospect of juggling a two-month-old baby and remote work seemed daunting, the supportive environment at Booth, coupled with accommodating family arrangements, alleviated some of the burden. Relocating to Indianapolis to join my family, I navigated the challenges of being a new mom while fulfilling my internship duties. Despite the stress, the experience was surprisingly enjoyable resulting in a return offer.

As the internship concluded and the Fall quarter approached, a new set of worries emerged. Returning to Chicago with just my baby by my side posed the challenges of managing motherhood and academics simultaneously. However, upon my return, the support I received surpassed my expectations. Friends stepped in to help care for my baby during class, providing the flexibility I needed to attend my lectures. The first week presented a daycare challenge, but a Booth friend graciously agreed to care for my baby while I attended classes since our class times were different. While my husband supported me remotely in ways he could, juggling motherhood as a solo mom in Business school presented ongoing challenges, but effective time management and prioritization became my allies. Communicating my needs and limitations to my team, especially concerning evening meetings, allowed me to navigate group work successfully. The power of a supportive community cannot be overstated, and Booth exemplifies this with pride. Being part of such a community has been a source of strength and resilience throughout various phases of my life—pregnancy, post-birth, recruiting, and beyond.

In conclusion, my journey has been marked by challenges, but the right support has been my constant companion. Booth’s unwavering community, understanding faculty, and accommodating resources have not only made this journey possible but have also turned challenges into opportunities for growth. As I navigate the complexities of motherhood and business school, I am proud to be a part of the Booth community that thrives on support, understanding, and shared triumphs.