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Emma Spencer

We asked women at Warwick to submit an image of themselves for inclusion in the Warwick Women's Montage and a short description of the challenges they've faced/continue to face and how they're dealing with them.

See Emma's submission below:

"Like most mothers one of the biggest challenges of the pandemic was managing to continue my studies whilst providing full time childcare. I have two children aged 2&4 who were both at nursery when the first major lockdown happened. My husband is the Detective Sergeant for the Domestic Abuse Team in South Warks and therefore was busier than ever with few opportunities for working from home. I completed block 4 and did block 5 outside of his working hours doing late nights and weekends or studying with a child on my lap and Paw Patrol on the ipad!! I am sure my children know far more about medicine than they need to! For my phase 1 exam revision with lockdown eased my parents helped out with childcare but I struggled to find anywhere quiet to study with campus remaining closed, often hiding out in local coffee shops.

Its safe to say even without the pandemic 2020 would have been a terrible year as late in the summer my own mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer following an emergency operation and commended chemotherapy. In addition running was my solace during the lockdown - as can be seen from my submitted picture. I have a double running buggy so I was able to load my children into and clocked up miles pushing them round Warwickshire and exploring the local area stopping for picnics or to climb trees. But after clocking up over 600 miles in the first lockdown I myself was hospitalised and after several months of intermittent ill health during which I was largely unable to run or exercise much at all I was diagnosed with a cardiac arrhythmia.

But as I look to 2021 I believe it will bring happier times. My mother has almost finished her chemotherapy and a recent scan showed she was cancer free and now I have a diagnosis my cardiologist is confident I can get back to running the distances I used to and I am in the process of building back up slowly with the Leamington Half Marathon booked for July to give me something to aim for. And despite all the challenges I continue my studies and most importantly I continue to enjoy them. I have learnt to be more flexible about when and where I study and to be more accepting about doing the best I possibly can and it being enough."

Read more personal stories on the Warwick Women's Montage page.

You may also be interested in:

ED&I Newsletter

Charters - including Athena Swan (gender equality Charter)

Gender Initiatives

Data and Reports - including Gender Pay Gap Report


Taskforces and SIC - including Gender Task Force

* If you’re struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic find sources of support on the Staff Wellbeing Hub and access confidential online or phone support from the Employee Assistance Programme.