By MEGGAN MICKLE
Growing up in foster care gave me a different perspective on life. It gave me more perspectives than I knew possible. I didn’t go into the system until I was a preteen, so I had experience knowing my biological family, taking care of myself and my siblings, and being able to fend for myself. However, while shuffling around from home to home, I saw other children who weren’t as strong and couldn’t make it out. It made me realize I wanted to help children and become a voice for those who did not have anyone. This was it for me: I was going to change the world.
I thought I had found my purpose when I started my college journey. I knew that my purpose was to help people. I was going to become a police officer and help children like me. My plan was to start an outreach program for underprivileged and foster care youth. I thought I had it all figured out and was walking in my purpose. Then I found myself pregnant with twins. Excited and scared, I prayed for guidance because I thought my plan to become an officer and help people was destroyed.
A few months into the pregnancy, I found out my daughter would be born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). This was devasting. Not only was I not going to become an officer, but my daughter would be sick. I thought this was it, but it was the beginning of God’s true purpose for me. I spent the first three months praying over my daughter while she underwent multiple surgeries, all while I lived at the Ronald McDonald House on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus and cared for her twin brother. The first two months were the hardest, but while there, something inside me was growing.
I tell people all the time that I can only remember the names of three nurses. They were the ones who didn’t just do their job. Those nurses had compassion and took the time in the middle of chaos to let me know it was okay. They gave me hope, and I didn’t feel like my daughter was just another patient. I wanted to do this: I wanted to become one of those nurses and help as many people as I could. God had given me my path: I wanted to become a nurse.
Having a child with special needs gave me another perspective. I thought about all the other parents with special needs children, because now I was one of them. God had done it again. I wanted to help children who couldn’t help themselves, but it was not in the original way I had thought. Becoming a nurse will allow me to help children, help parents, and give hope. My plans are to open a special needs daycare like my daughter attends now. God makes no mistakes, and He gave me my children to lead me to my purpose. I needed them, and my daughter is why I want to become a nurse.
Meggan Mickle, a Crystal Springs native, is a junior at Belhaven University. She previously earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Jackson State University. She also earned a summer internship in pediatrics at UMMC, and the Mississippi Nurses Foundation selected her as the recipient of the 2022 Oneita Dongieux Award for Excellence. After Meggan graduates, she plans to stay in Mississippi and work in pediatrics.