College professor Ramata Sissoko Cisse taught her students several lessons during a memorable three-hour lecture. Cisse, an assistant professor of anatomy and physiology at Georgia Gwinnett College, wanted to ensure that each of her students could pay attention to the lengthy class. When a young mother in the class couldn’t find alternative childcare for her baby, Cisse told the mother to bring her baby to class. What happened next went viral.
According to Iowa Public Radio, Cisse made a makeshift sling for the baby out of a clean lab coat and carried him on her back for the entire class. She said, “I just wanted her to be a student, a normal young student in the class. I didn’t want her to think about the baby.”
She added, “I wanted the student to have a little break.” With the baby boy on her back, Cisse could use her hands to write on the board and conduct the lecture.
Cisse, a mother of three, attended graduate school while raising her children and understands the challenges that pregnant and parenting students can face. Far from interrupting the class, Cisse’s caring for the baby became another opportunity for discussing the class material. She said when the time came to feed the baby, “The mom gave me the milk, but it was kind of cold. So I told the mommy to warm it a little bit, to be his body temperature. And they said, ‘Why does it have to be warm?’, and I said it has to be his body temperature so that when he drinks the milk, he’s not spending too much energy to warm up the milk.”
The professor’s caring gesture caught media attention when her daughter shared a picture of Cisse and the sleeping baby on Twitter. The post quickly garnered more than 58,000 “likes” and 11,000 retweets. Other images of professors carrying babies have also caught people’s attention. Part of the reason is how heartwarming these pictures are, and, in part, people are likely surprised to find such a different attitude toward pregnant and parenting students than is the norm in many places.
The abortion industry has pushed the message that motherhood is incompatible with obtaining an education or pursuing a career. Billboards across the country pit motherhood against educational achievement. Without addressing the living child in the womb, the abortion industry has told women that if they choose Life they will not be able to pursue their dreams. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Of course, the path for many pregnant and parenting students is not easy, and their sacrifices should not go unnoticed.
This is why groups like the Pro-Life Aggies at Texas A&M have made scholarships for pregnant and parenting students a priority. The scholarships, raised primarily through the annual “Run for Their Lives” 5K. Though they are not enough to cover the many costs associated with higher education, they do express acknowledgment and support for peers who have chosen Life and are raising their children while pursuing a degree to support their families.
Cisse echoed this sentiment when she expressed the fleeting nature of viral fame. She recognized that her act of kindness caring for one student’s baby will soon disappear from the public eye. In her brief moment in the spotlight she said, “I want to make sure young people understand that we are here for them. We are here to support, to nurture, to guide, to love, to inspire, to teach, we are here for that. So I don’t want them to give up on us. We’re here. We take them very seriously.”
If all students facing a crisis pregnancy received the acknowledgment and support they need, how different would our culture look?