Lawyer Briana Williams will never forget the panic she felt when she went into labor during final exams at Harvard Law School.
“I didn't want like, my water to break in class or something!” Williams, 24, told "The View" co-host Sara Haines Monday. “That would be really embarrassing!”
She started experiencing contractions while completing her family law exam. At first she wasn't sure what they were.
“I was like, let me go and get checked,” Briana said she remembered thinking. “The doctor said I was dilated, I was in labor — and I was like, ‘I have a final exam to do!’”
Williams had a friend bring her laptop and bag to the hospital. She asked for an epidural right away.
“I just finished it right there!” Williams said of her exam.
“Really, I just realized I would have to get it done,” she said. “I didn't want to wait until after the baby was there, because I want to spend my time bonding and ... learning how to be a new mom.”
After Evelyn was born, Williams reorganized her schedule to maximize the time they had together. She spent afternoons with her and the rest of the night studying, once Evelyn was asleep.
No amount of scheduling, however, could have made this journey easy for the new mom.
“Some days I was so mentally and emotionally fatigued that I did not leave my bed,” Williams wrote in her viral Instagram post.
She also revealed that she struggled with finding reliable child care — on top of her academic work.
“It was not atypical to see me rushing through Wasserstein to the Dean of Students’ office with Evelyn in her carriage, asking DOS can they keep her for a few until class was over,” Williams wrote. “If not, she’d just have to come with me to class. Evie attended classes often.”
Williams graduated from Harvard on May 24 and received her J.D. But Williams wanted the other part of her story to be told, too.
“It's hard to be completely transparent through a roll of photographs that are supposed to show your greatest moments,” Williams said of her Instagram post. “I just wanted to be a little bit vulnerable and show people like, no -- I'm showing graduation photos but there's a story behind it.”
Williams wrote powerfully about rising above the odds she faced by being admitted to Harvard Law School, becoming a single mom and finishing her degree.
“Evelyn- they said that because of you I wouldn’t be able to do this,” Williams wrote. “Just know that I did this BECAUSE OF YOU. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to be invincible.”
Williams has one message for mothers: “You don't have to choose to be your best at one thing and sacrifice the other… You don't have to choose to be a great mother or a great lawyer...you can do both!”
“Just try to balance your time and understand there will be things that you're sacrificing, there will be things that you might give up on either side, but if you work hard ... you can do it — just push through,” Williams said.
She now lives in Los Angeles, and is working in the litigation department of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.