This mom beat Covid while pregnant and earned PhD hours after being discharged with newborn

Mildred Europa Taylor December 21, 2021
Queshonda Kudaisi graduated with PhD on the same day she and her newborn were discharged from hospital. Photo: Queshonda Kudaisi

In August when expectant mother and University of South Florida doctoral student Queshonda Kudaisi tested positive for COVID-19, she thought she wouldn’t be able to complete her doctoral dissertation in time.

“It was like a miracle because I didn’t think I was going to make it to that point,” the mom of five told ABC News. Kudaisi and her husband contracted COVID-19 while she was six months pregnant. This was after more than three years of pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

“Lost my taste, my smell. I had a fever, chills, body aches. All of the symptoms, I had all of that. The worst was, I guess because I lost my taste and smell I wasn’t able to eat anything,” 29-year-old Kudaisi said.

She said her symptoms were so severe that she ended up developing pneumonia. At that moment, she thought she and her baby would not survive. She explained that when she got to the emergency room, the hospital told her there were no more beds available.

“They said 45 people were ahead of me, so they put me in a hallway with the other severe COVID patients,” said Kudaisi.

Fortunately, she recovered after almost a month. And on Wednesday, December 8, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Less than two months before giving birth, she was able to successfully defend her dissertation research in the University of South Florida’s department of curriculum, instruction and learning, officially becoming Dr. Queshonda Kudaisi.

After giving birth on Wednesday, Kudaisi was discharged from the hospital Saturday, and that same night, she walked across the stage to receive her Ph.D., ABC News reported.

“Despite all of that I was still able to end up at the place that I wanted to be, which was at graduation,” Kudaisi, who juggled school, pregnancy, and parenting amid the pandemic, said. Her family including her newborn were with her at the graduation.

She now plans to use her Ph.D. to become a professor and build her non-profit Narrow Path Outreach, which she started during the pandemic to support her community.

She explained that while she was working towards her Ph.D., she had three children. Now, she has five, and they are all under the age of 10.

“My third daughter was born in January while I was taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). I was practically in labor,” she told TODAY. “And then my son was born in 2019, so I had kids throughout the program.”

The mom of five said she is grateful to all who supported her throughout her journey. “Leaning on God and acknowledging God in your life makes all the difference,” she said.

“I have a partner who is Super Dad, and extended support through my church, my family, and my writing group, who really gave me the support that I needed. We were all working towards the same goal, so it was so helpful and so amazing.”

Last Edited by:Francis Akhalbey Updated: December 21, 2021


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