Despite having to leave school at the age of 15 due to pregnancy, a smart and aspirational teen mother was able to realize her dream of becoming a doctor.
Katie Clark, a mother of four who is now 43, proved that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams by becoming a doctor. She had fantasized of being since she was in the third grade.
She fell pregnant for the first time while still in high school at the age of 14, and shortly after turning 15 she gave birth.
“There was a recognition that I was going to be young and this was going to change my life,” Clark says of the “unexpected and unplanned” pregnancy, which turned out to be “really difficult and challenging” due to nausea and fatigue.
“I remember jumping up in the middle of class to run to the bathroom and not even making it,” she says. “I threw up in a trash can in the hallway.”
She failed her college admission exams, which made it impossible for her to be awarded a scholarship. As she continued to graduate, she enrolled in Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, when she was 18 years old.
A few months into her freshman year, she gave birth to her second son, and was compelled to discontinue school in order to care for her two children.
Two years later, Clark met Curtis Clark, her future husband and the brother of a high school classmate. She was 20 and he was 22 at the time.
Curtis wed Katie in 2001, and he later adopted her two sons. Her husband then completed his school, pediatric urology fellowships, and medical residencies while they had their own two children, traveled the country, and lived on their own.
Yet Clark soon had the chance to work toward her objectives. She went back to school when she was 25 and earned an associate’s degree at a local community college.